when you intend to buy a land or property but you later discover that the original Owner of the Property has died without writing a will and has left a host of children, wives, extended relatives or close friends behind that are all interested the property as the new owners? Who then has the capacity to sell that property to you?

Examples of how that problematic land that you are about to buy left behind by a deceased who did not give instruction as to who owns the land can affect you and wreck you financially if you don’t watch out for these scenarios include the following:
1. If the deceased left no will,
2. If there is no letter of administration granting ownership of the property to a person or group of persons to act as executors and administrators of that property,
3. If there are so many family members such as wife or wives, children or step children that the deceased left behind without instructing anyone to be the sole owner or in charge of the property,
4. In some cultures, the extended family of the deceased owns the property too and can lay claim to the ownership of the property that their Son, brother or nephew left behind,
5. Also, some cultures wholesomely transfer title to the first son and what if the first son isn’t around at that moment or you do not know,
6. If some family members intend to get a letter of administration but because of the pressing need to sell the land, they avoid going through the court system to get a letter of administration because of the lengthy delay associated with getting a letter of administr
ation,
7. If the owner of the property has C of O or Governor’s consent, the property cannot be sold to another person without a letter of administration unless the government will not recognize it,
8. Do you know the number of wives or children the deceased left behind that you do not know that also has access to sell that property?
If you have encountered one or more of these scenarios I have painted above, how do you go about it to prevent yourself from being sucker punched by a false relative who has no capacity to sell the property legally? Here are some of the ways you can go about it:
1. Get in touch with a lawyer that is well experienced in Property and Family Law. There is no way around it to do it yourself. It’s a very complicated and touchy matter to just do Ijebu (meaning Stingy) and think you can get away with it.
2. Investigate properly to know all the wives, children and extended family members that the deceased left behind.
3. Insist on getting that Letter of Administration but if they can’t get it, make sure all of them draft and sign a Memorandum of Understanding all jointly agreeing to sell the land to you. That Memorandum of Understanding must be duly stamped and sworn to at the Court.
4. All payments, documentations and forms must all be signed by all the surviving relatives of the deceased jointly.
5. Pictures, videos and any form of digital capture must be used at all times as evidence in case something goes wrong.
What difficult land problem have you encountered recently that needs a solution?By Barr. Mathew

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