Does the contract survive?

Real Estate Agent with Exit Homeplace Realty (Wilmington, NC)

Here we go...

Contract pending.  I represent the seller.  Closing date is set for 4/13/09.  Buyer passes away 3 days ago while sale is pending.  What are your thoughts?  Is the contract binding?  Do we continue with the transaction?  Although the buyer is deceased, are the heirs or the estate still obligated?  Give me your input.  I await your response and thank you in advance.  I eagerly await any and all responses.


Comments (12)

Denise Gray
Realty World Alliance - Wichita, KS
Realtor SRES, Wichita Kansas Homes

Does your purchase agreement say the heirs must take over the contract? If it does then they could but personally if I was an heir unless I really wanted the house for some reason I'd walk away. Not what you wanted to hear but that would be how I would look at it.

Mar 13, 2009 06:42 PM
Kym Wright
Prudential California Realty - Olivenhain, CA

As far as I am familiar with contract law, the contract is null and void with the death of either party.


Mar 13, 2009 06:45 PM
Vanna Siackhasone
Real Estate Brokers of Alaska 907-720-4663 - Anchorage, AK
Anchorage Real Estate 907-720-4663

I learned in Real Estate school that the contract is no good if one of the parties to the contract dies.

Mar 13, 2009 08:31 PM
Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC

NO its no longer valid. The seller could wait and go to probate for payment but I don't think that would fly either.

Mar 13, 2009 11:04 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

What does the contract say??? 

Of course, if the contract survives for the "heirs and assigns". 

Of course, if the contract survives for the heirs and assigns, so too does the financing contingency.

What does the contract say???

Mar 13, 2009 11:59 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

If you want to pass the real estate exam, the contract passes to the heirs. However, in the real world you need to review the contract with a real estate attorney in your jurisdiction.

Mar 14, 2009 01:05 AM
Irene Tron
Valparaiso, IN

Tough situation!  In the real world - do you really want to hold the heirs accountable for this?  I agree that the advice of an attorney may be called for in this case.

Mar 14, 2009 02:56 AM
Matt Listro
National Credit Fixers - Matt Listro - Vernon, CT
Your Credit Repair Expert

"Assuming a standard contract", it is my understanding that the contract becomes unenforceable, however the seller would get to keep the earnest deposit.

How did the buyer die?


Mar 14, 2009 04:32 AM
Jim Graham - REALTOR - Sumter and Shaw AFB real estate
Prudential John M. Brabham Real Estate - Sumter, SC

I am not sure about NC's contract law, but I think you and your client are back to house hunting. What was number 2 on their list.

Mar 14, 2009 06:54 AM
Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor


I agree with the other comments. It depends on what the contract says and what your state law provides. It could be void, but you need to check. :)


Mar 14, 2009 02:27 PM
Paul Hockaday
Exit Homeplace Realty (Wilmington, NC) - Wilmington, NC

Thank you all for responding.  The contract does survive for heirs and assigns.

Apr 13, 2009 06:00 AM
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC

In SC it would survive too.  But in everyday life, most sellers would probably release the buyers' heirs.

Apr 13, 2009 02:30 PM