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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55715
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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I am purchasing a condo in New Jersey. The Representative of

Customer Question

I am purchasing a condo in New Jersey. The Representative of the Estate of the deceased condo owner signed the purchase agreement. The deceased condo owner resided in Pennsylvania. I asked my realtor for something from the state or court approving Representative as the legal rep. I was sent a Letters Testamentary (PA/Short Certificate) showing the Rep as the deceased's Representative. The Short Certificate (can't tell from electronic transmission if it has the court seal) is dated last September, the closing will be held in July. How can I be certain that this Rep is the legitimate Rep of the Estate on the date of the closing, and that the Rep has done all things necessary to "perfect" the representation? Does it have to be legitimate in both PA and NJ? How do I know that the owner is really dead, or doesn't have heirs or a spouse who has a legitimate right to the property? In other words, how do I protect myself against any claims against the property, etc., with regard to this purchase? Help!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 2 years ago.
Hi! My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you!
You are correct to be concerned. One, the representative is going to need to do an ancillary proceeding in NJ to have the authority to act on behalf of the estate in NJ. It's not an entirely new probate process; rather, it piggy banks on top of the PA probate hearing. Two, I'm presuming you are obtaining a title policy as part of your purchase. This puts the burden on the title company to make sure the foregoing has been done and that the representative has the property authority. If they issue the title insurance, you can be assured that they have done their due diligence and the representative does have the proper authority.
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