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Selecting An Attorney In Minnesota

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  • Selecting An Attorney In Minnesota

    Does anybody have any suggestions on a good way to select an attorney? Here is the quick synopsis. My mother died this year and both of my sisters and I now own her single family home in Joint Tenancy. As is often the case in matters like this, one sister is great to work with and the other completely unreasonable. So far I have identified at least five possible scenarios:

    -Do nothing and the property goes in a tax forfeiture sale.

    -Sell quick with a We Buy Ugly Houses (or similar) company.

    -Sell with a traditional real estate company.

    -My good sister and I could each sign a Quit Claim Deed and be done with it. That leaves the other sister the burden of dealing with the house.

    -Start a Partition Action. I have looked at Chapter 558 https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=558 and although I did my Marriage Dissolution pro se (no attorney), I am probably not comfortable doing a Partition without an attorney.

    Anyway, since this is in rural Pine County Minnesota, I will probably select an attorney that offices in that area. Beyond that, does anybody know of any good way to help me in selecting an attorney? It is possible I am thinking too much on this. Maybe this is simply as routine as doing an eviction and it really won't matter much who I select. Maybe they all charge about the same for something like that and all would do a comparable job, but I just don't know. Any thoughts?

    Oh, and to add to the confusion, there is a foot and a half of water in the basement and moild growing down there since the water may have been there since last fall.

  • #2
    As a licensed realtor, this is my advice. If the home has that much water damage and mold, you aren't going to sell it without mitigating those issues. If the home is older, it may cost you more to do so than the home is worth. Selling with We Buy Ugly Houses usually is not feasable because they charge so many "add on" fees to go along with buying your home, that you end up losing any profit you may normally get. Unless you really hate your other sister, I don't know why you would sign a quit claim deed and leave her with that headache, or why she would take it on. I would go to your local courthouse and seek some type of self-help legal assistance. Here in Hennepin County, those services are offered for free at the Government Center. Walking away from the home and sending it to foreclosure is an option, but will affect the credit rating of anyone listed in the Deed. I hope this helps.

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    • #3
      As far as selecting an attorney, you can go through the Minnesota Bar Association. You can search their database of board certified specialists here or you can through their free referral service here.

      I know nothing about real estate so I won't attempt to offer advice. Good luck, though!

      Comment


      • #4
        I was reviewing some things and I want to remove the water tomorrow. It looks like the AG website and state statutes refer to removal of property. I assume it is okay to remove the water without waiting out the 30 days. Does anybody happen to have an opinion on that? I would view it as a necessary emergency maintenance issue.

        http://www.ag.state.mn.us/consumer/s.../probate_1.asp

        https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=524

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        • #5
          I would say remove the water to prevent further damage to the property. Water flooding is considered as an emergency. Shouldn't be an issue as long as nobody is claiming ownership of the water.

          After that, look into your legal options.

          If you decide to work with the house, here are my thoughts:
          Anything that has been touched by water needs to be removed, with the exception of concrete and other structural components (so long as the damage is only cosmetic). After that, you will likely need to have the mold removed. The water may fall under flood provisions, so it may not be covered under insurance. However, mold and mold damage IS covered by homeowners insurance because it's a health hazard. If you have an insurance policy still covering the house, it should cover the mold issue, since ideally you should be having it professionally removed and treated. Mold specialists can give you the full info.
          I would suggest that you refurbish the home and then sell it. Otherwise, look into demolishing the home and selling the property if the property is dilapidated or too heavily damaged. Most contractors will do free estimates and tell you what needs to happen and give you your options.
          "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
          -John Adams


          Disclaimer: My statements are personal opinions, and in no way reflect those of my agency.

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          • #6
            I had checked with AllState. There is a current policy in effect, but they denied the claim. I explained to them that my mother had gone into a nursing home, but they told me that the policy required them to be notified sooner despite her being in a nursing home and unaware of the damage.
            Last edited by Jim1648; 05-19-2011, 06:32 PM. Reason: Details

            Comment


            • #7
              Real Property

              Originally posted by Crimecrusher704 View Post
              As a licensed realtor, this is my advice. If the home has that much water damage and mold, you aren't going to sell it without mitigating those issues. If the home is older, it may cost you more to do so than the home is worth. Selling with We Buy Ugly Houses usually is not feasible because they charge so many "add on" fees to go along with buying your home, that you end up losing any profit you may normally get. Unless you really hate your other sister, I don't know why you would sign a quit claim deed and leave her with that headache, or why she would take it on. I would go to your local courthouse and seek some type of self-help legal assistance. Here in Hennepin County, those services are offered for free at the Government Center. Walking away from the home and sending it to foreclosure is an option, but will affect the credit rating of anyone listed in the Deed. I hope this helps.
              Crimecrusher704,

              Are you able to tell me anything more about how a court ordered sale of Property Held In Joint Tenancy proceeds? Do I simply sign with a realtor, when I get an offer and go to the closing, do I try to get my sister to continue with the sale and then get an attorney if she refuses? Or do I just get an attorney right away knowing that she will be difficult to deal with? The attorney tells me it will cost $3,000 for the Partition Action and I am inclined to just get him involved right away. I do know what a nuisance going to a closing twice can be because the first house I bought had a Mechanic's Lien on it and I found out about it during the first attempt at closing. Needless to say we did NOT close that day and had to wait until the lien was satisfied before actually closing the second time.


              Jim1648

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              • #8
                PM Sent.....

                Comment


                • #9
                  First of all Jim, I'm sorry that you have to go through all of this. The loss of a parent is difficult enough without the sister and the house issues.

                  I would call the fire department closest to the house and see if they are willing to pump out the basement for you. My husband did that quite frequently when he was a fire fighter in Maryland. That might save you some money in the long run.

                  As for the denial of claim, go to your state's equivalent of the insurance commissioner and speak to someone there about the denied claim and get some further clarification from them. It could be AllState just doesn't want to deal with it and because you "don't know any better", they can get away with it. Maybe not.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the tip. The fire department said no. I did get the basement pumped out with a rental pump. I will call the insurance commissioner. That is a great tip!

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                    • #11
                      Just thinking out loud, but I've heard of people donating structures to local fire departments for controlled burns (basement saving practice). If you're considering walking away from it or signing it over to your sister it seems like there's not a lot of attachment or potential income from it. Maybe there's even a write off associated with these activities? Then afterwards maybe you could sell the lot to someone who wants to build. Or you could sit on the lot for a while... it should be a lot cheaper tax-wise with no structure on it.

                      Just brainstorming, that might ot even be an option. Surely there are some hose-jockeys around here who know more.

                      Sorry for your loss and good luck!
                      My new favorite color is brown (best captured in some form of polyester blend).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ETOH View Post
                        Just thinking out loud, but I've heard of people donating structures to local fire departments for controlled burns (basement saving practice). If you're considering walking away from it or signing it over to your sister it seems like there's not a lot of attachment or potential income from it. Maybe there's even a write off associated with these activities? Then afterwards maybe you could sell the lot to someone who wants to build. Or you could sit on the lot for a while... it should be a lot cheaper tax-wise with no structure on it.

                        Just brainstorming, that might not even be an option. Surely there are some hose-jockeys around here who know more.

                        Sorry for your loss and good luck!
                        I have given that some thought. I guess another thing I need to find out is how much it costs to remove all of the debris.

                        Comment

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