Real estate purchase: what if the seller dies before signing?

Question to an expert

I signed a promise to sell, can I still buy the accommodation if the owner dies before the final signature?

By signing a promise or a sales agreement, seller and buyer do not always measure the scope of their commitments and their fate in the event of death. However, for lack of details in this preliminary contract, the purchaser and the seller commit themselves for themselves but also for their heirs.

Thus, the death of the seller between the signing of the preliminary contract and that of the contract normally has no impact: his heirs will be required to continue the sale for the benefit of the purchaser. The latter is therefore assured of being able to buy the property even if the heirs wish to keep it.

Read also: Real estate: what do you commit to by signing an offer to purchase?

But he may find himself exposed to the administrative lengths of an inheritance file. This is why the purchaser must check that the promise provides for an option to withdraw from the purchase in the event of the seller’s death.

The situation is not the same if the purchaser were to die. Indeed, its ability to carry out the acquisition depends on its financial faculties and, often, on its borrowing capacity. But there is no guarantee that his heirs have these same faculties. Thus, the seller must be vigilant and ensure that the promise provides that the death of the buyer renders the promise null and void.

Read also: Inheritance: Can the payment of inheritance tax be deferred?

Otherwise, if the buyer dies before the final signature, his heirs, if they do not acquire the property, should pay compensation to the seller.

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