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Old 30-08-2011, 08:43   #1
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Title Problems

We are in the process of buying a boat and we have run into a road block. The previous owner passed away. His wife is the one selling us the boat. Her name is not on the CG Documentation. They have been unable to sort it out with the Coast Guard and they have taken it into probate court. We are going on three weeks since we signed the purchase and sales and have signed an extension on it. We are holding off on getting a survey because we want to be sure this gets sorted out before we pay $1000 for one.

Has anyone experienced issues like this before? What is the difference between the CG Documentation and the title? Can anyone who has experienced a similar problem give me a time line for this process? This is turning into a frig and we are thinking of walking away from the boat even though we don't want to. Help!
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Old 30-08-2011, 08:48   #2
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Re: Title Problems

Probate Court is where this problem belongs, not to worry, they are slow but will sort things out. If you want the boat, hang in there.
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Old 30-08-2011, 09:17   #3
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Re: Title Problems

The CG will accept someone other than the named owner with a power of attorney or, in your case, an appointment by the probate court as executor of an estate. Once legal authority is established and documented, the problem will disappear.
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Old 30-08-2011, 09:17   #4
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Re: Title Problems

Her lawyer (doing the probate) should be able to give a ballpark, even if not a guarantee (may well depend on how he left his financial affairs).....I would wait out the extention, and then simply tell her to give you a call when the paperwork is all in her name (and then you move on).............either that or 10 cents on the dollar (or less if that is already the deal), plus the best agreement your lawyer can come up with......and then onto the back of a truck for a destination unknown, just in case Hubby is in fact only sleeping - not resting..........
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Old 30-08-2011, 12:35   #5
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Re: Title Problems

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Her lawyer (doing the probate) should be able to give a ballpark, even if not a guarantee (may well depend on how he left his financial affairs).....I would wait out the extention, and then simply tell her to give you a call when the paperwork is all in her name (and then you move on).............either that or 10 cents on the dollar (or less if that is already the deal), plus the best agreement your lawyer can come up with......and then onto the back of a truck for a destination unknown, just in case Hubby is in fact only sleeping - not resting..........
Wait, your pirate speak is a little cryptic. Are you saying offer her even less and just deal with the consequences?
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Old 30-08-2011, 12:40   #6
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Re: Title Problems

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Wait, your pirate speak is a little cryptic. Are you saying offer her even less and just deal with the consequences?
That is one option. Depends on your appetite for risk (and whether you have seen the body ).
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Old 30-08-2011, 14:06   #7
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Re: Title Problems

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That is one option. Depends on your appetite for risk (and whether you have seen the body ).
I have not seen the body but I have done some research and have seen an obituary. It is an added bonus to know that the person from whom you are buying the boat was loved by his community.
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Old 30-08-2011, 14:15   #8
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Re: Title Problems

The only way it would have gone smoothly is if both names were on the documentation, and the box for rights of survivorship is checked on the application for documentation. If the issue couldn't be resolved early on by the USCG, then you have little choice but to wait through the probate process until the asset becomes hers to sell.

I'm no lawyer, but in my experience the probate process lasts anywhere from 3 months to a year.
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Old 30-08-2011, 14:17   #9
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Re: Title Problems

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Another advantage of working with Yacht brokers, things like this can be avoided...
Is raising folk from the dead to sign paperwork part of a Broker's skillset?
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Old 30-08-2011, 15:21   #10
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Re: Title Problems

The folks at the vessel documentation center have a great reputation for answering questions over the phone--are you saying the USCG pulled it into probate court??

No idea what the PO did or what the estate/probate laws are in Maine, but once you get involved in wills, estates, probate...it might pay to buy an hour with a storefront lawyer and find out what the laws are there. Then speak to whoever is the executor of the estate, get some writing that says what you all intend to do and what schedule is or isn't acceptable, and then put it through.

IF the title has to go through probate, you simply have to wait for it. Or, make some additional paperwork that "rents" or leases the boat to you, or some other creative solution so the boat is maintained in the meantime. If you're not planning to leave the US in the immediate future, with the old paperwork and a notarized letter from the executor you should be OK even if some watercops stop to look at your papers.
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Old 31-08-2011, 09:34   #11
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Re: Title Problems

Slow down, folks. It ain't that bad.
When one dies, there will be an executor, either appointed in a will or appointed by a probate court judge. The executor has the authority to execute a bill of sale, attaching evidence of the authority to do so. That can happen on the same day the executor is appointed. (If the wife is to be the executor, that makes things easier, but even a third party executor will be happy to dispose of an asset of the estate if that's what the beneficiary of the estate (presumably the wife) wants. If the beneficiary (legatee, in proper legal speak) wants something different, the executor probably won't go along.) THERE'S NO NEED TO WAIT FOR THE COMPLETION OF THE PROBATE PROCESS!
No matter how nice and helpful the CG folks are, they can't issue a Certificate of Documentation unless they've got a legally sufficient Bill of Sale. What makes it legally sufficient is the signature of someone with the authority to make the sale, which in this circumstance, is the executor of the estate. The CG can't "pull" anything into court. They just have a need for a legally sufficient Bill of Sale and appointment of an executor by the probate court so someone has the authority to provide one is the way to get 'er done.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:22   #12
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Re: Title Problems

Thanks guys. It just cleared today. I am sooo excited.
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:17   #13
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Re: Title Problems

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THERE'S NO NEED TO WAIT FOR THE COMPLETION OF THE PROBATE PROCESS!
Of course there is. There is no executor until the probate process is complete. I am in the middle of this right now.
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:57   #14
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Re: Title Problems

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Thanks guys. It just cleared today. I am sooo excited.
So do we get to see photos of the new one???
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:12   #15
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Re: Title Problems

I bought a car from a dead guy. It took longer but was worth the wait. I wouldn't worry. Stuff like this happens all the time. BOB
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