Help Needed: Buying Inherited Land with No Will and Complicated Ownership

I’m sure this topic has been talked about before, so please direct me to those posts if need be.

I just got a call from someone in Texas who is paying taxes on land in Virginia. The land belonged to her husband’s father who died without a will. The owner’s wife never transferred it to her name before she died.

So, the father owned the land. He dies without a will. He has two kids, one of which was married to the woman that called me. He and his brother are both deceased. They both had kids and all of them are still alive. The woman who called me wants to sell the land to me to avoid paying taxes.

What are my options in this situation? I have encountered this scenario a few times now but never pursued buying these deals because of the headache factor. Is it worth the trouble? Should I run the other way?

In most states the title company or attorney would have to do an affidavit of heirship to figure out who all has a right to the land. Those heirs would have to sign the deed to you. As far as if it is worth it, that would all depend on what you stand to make on the deal. If the seller is willing to put in the work and has a good relationship with the heirs and they are all willing to sell then it shouldn’t be to bad. The one that contacted you is going to be the most important factor in this equation. They are going to be doing most of the work and communicating with everyone. Bad relationships and unwilling sellers can all be dealt with. There will be a lot more communication and work involved for you too.


Thanks for the response. I should’ve added that the woman who called me said she did not know how to contact any of the people who might be on the deed. Is there a way to transfer the title without getting everyone to sign off on the deal?

Dang @lw2020, have you done this before?? You sound like you know what you’re doing!

@jonesmatr it sounds like you have some skip tracing and texting/calling/messaging to do with those other people on the deed. You might be able to transfer title from one of the heirs, but until you get them all to sign off, I don’t know how you would have a clear title.

Unfortunately, everyone has to sign off on the deal. If one of the heirs is missed, they could potentially show up long after the property is sold and try to claim their piece of the land. I am working on one now where the seller did not know half the heirs or how to contact them. I helped her locate them and she got in contact with them. Definitely a lot more work, but it is possible when the seller is a willing participant in the whole process.

@amybreen I’ve done a couple. I do wish there was an easier way, but I understand why it has to be done this way. I am a big advocate for wills. While they don’t eliminate all problems, they don’t turn into messes like this!

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In Virginia at least, there is such a thing as a quiet title. Has anyone filed for one of these before?