Deceased Buyer’s Earnest Money Deposit. How to Get it Back?
As usual, there are matters we can’t simplify albeit application of simple logic.
Five days before my buyer passed away, he signed a rescission and release as the contracting parties reached an impasse due to home inspection.
The seller did not sign it as she decided to extend the negotiation period to find a compromise.
The extension was received by the buyer but never had the chance to sign it before he died.
So shortly after receiving the sad news from my buyer’s widow, I notified the listing agent and requested a return of the Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) immediately.
After three days, I followed up with the listing agent to check if the EMD had been mailed to my office.
According to the listing agent/broker, she referred the matter to her lawyer. She said that the seller was not contesting it. They just want to make sure that the contract is legitimately released; and to ensure that the money in escrow is released legally.
In a simple and less complex world, since the seller already has in her possession the signed rescission from the deceased buyer, she could just affix her signature and release the money to the widow.
But it is not a simple and less complex world.
I contacted the buyer’s attorney and have the legal experts handle it.
If you encounter a situation like this, don’t expect that the resolution will run its course the way we wanted it to be.
It will be resolved. However, not simply because we live in a complicated and litigious society. Some things just can’t be simplified.
Because I work closely with the buyer’s widow and her lawyer, I learned today that they made an incredible stride in trying to get the EMD back.
Instead of going to the probate court so that the widow can be appointed as fiduciary of the estate,— which could take up to nine months, the lawyer drafted two legal documents that are satisfactory to the listing broker and her attorney.
The widow’s lawyer has resolved this with an Affidavit indicating that the Buyer has died and that Affiant (Widow) is the surviving spouse, and, with an Indemnity to Listing Agent/Broker and Seller against claims of others (the Estate) for the EMD.
Hence, the EMD should be on its way to my buyer’s family soon. I feel much better now knowing that my buyer’s hard-earned money will be returned to his survivors.
I would like to thank Atty. Jeffrey Walsh of Manchester Connecticut for coming up with the practical and best resolution for my buyer’s family’s interest.
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