Throughout the years, many people have chosen to make investments in vacant lots located in SW Florida, especially in Lee, Charlotte, and Collier counties. Some purchased these lots long ago with the long-term hope of one day passing them on to future generations of their family. Others, as residents will remember during the real estate boom, regularly bought and sold vacant lots with the hopes of realizing immediate and substantial profit. As the real estate boom came to a conclusion, some investors suffered severe investment losses by holding onto these lots longer than the optimal time period. Instead of liquidating at a large loss, many investors held these lots hoping for a future price recovery.
We consult with many clients like those described above who face title issues on vacant land that was once property of a now deceased family member. Many times, these family members have been making tax and maintenance payments on these lots for years hoping that the value of these lots would increase significantly. When we finally meet, these individuals have decided to sell and dispose of the asset to prevent further cost. It is at this point they find that title or probate issues need to be cleared before a sale can occur. In essence, they find that more money needs to be spent just to bring the property to the point where they can enter into a sale to recoup part of their investment. The primary title issue encountered is the need to perform a probate because these vacant lots were left in the name of person who is now deceased.
Luckily for those individuals holding such vacant land in Florida, you can take advantage of a short cut simplified probate process called summary probate administration. This process allows you to make a title transfer of the lot and return the vacant lot to marketability (allowing the new owners to sell the vacant land and dispose of the asset). In contrast to formal probate which can take months or even years, summary probate takes just a couple of weeks and is significantly more economical in costs than formal probate. Our office has worked with many clients facing this type of situation and have worked with them to return their lot(s) to marketability, freeing them to dispose of it as they wish. If you find yourself in a similar situation, contact our office today and ask to speak with Mr. Ricciardi who can provide more information regarding arrangements specifically tailored for this fact pattern.