My father passed away, and he had a bar/grill on contract. Perhaps we just got scammed out of it?

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My father passed away a couple months ago of heart issues. He did not have a Will because he did not own anything. He had a car and motorcycle that were financed and I had the bank take them back as we are out of state and did not want them. Our dad had a bar/grill on contract. The guy that held the contract just up and signed the paperwork over to someone else and let them have all my dad's equity in the bar. Is that legal? I am not sure if it is something worth hiring an attorney over since he did not own it outright, but seems his equity should have been something that we should have gotten, or had the opportunity to sell and get some of his money back. He put $100,000 into the place plus his monthly payments. Plus the food, alcohol and all items inside the bar were taken along with it. He had a lot of unpaid medical bills so not sure it would be worth it, as they would probably take any funds that were eventually won and we would still be out the attorney fees. Perhaps we just got scammed out of it?

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You need to find the contract they had. Maybe upon death it went back to the original owner.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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The terms of the contract will be what determines what the lender / owner did was legit. It may not be that your dad was “scammed” but perhaps he was in a very one sided contract not in his favor.

If he did not have a valid will with someone named as executor to easily open probate and funds in a POD or business account to at least initially pay for a probate atty who does litigation (this is specialty probate work, most probate guys do NOT do litigation, if I had to guess it would be 10k retainer rather than 2-4K regular probate cost), then you would need to front all costs. Judge may not appoint you or family as independent administrator as none of you are residents of the county or even the state but instead have it done as a dependent administration with local atty appointed for a dependent administration & they will be paid from estate assets eventually. If there really was no will, then you all will have to establish heirship & that too has a required path of legal documentation which likely needs an attorney. If there’s ex wives or other kids, they too will get whatever % your state laws sets for “family”.

If his debts are in the 50/70k range without interest and fees and his equity maybe 90/100, and there’s several potential heirs, personally I’d walk on dealing with any of the hot mess that opening probate will be unless I wanted to operate a bar on a property that I do not own.
If the administrator calls for meeting or in chambers hearings, heirs have to go and that will have costs for travel. Court Appointed Executor / administrator can have costs paid from assets of the estate, and they file these expenses periodically. But heirs cannot. You only get $ once assets/debts are worked through and a distribution plan is submitted to court, approved and then checks issued.

? Have you actually contacted the property owner in writing as to your expectation of getting a set amount of $ (like maybe 50% of equity paid) refunded & payable to his estate?
.? Or has this been just verbal done by various family members?
If not done in writing and sent via certified mail with the return registered card, I’d suggest you do that. At least you can say you tried.
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Reply to igloo572
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Someone needs to handle your dad's estate even if he had no Will. See a lawyer.
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Reply to cwillie
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