5 grand children inherited a 7 acre tract of land that had been landlocked their entire life, as far as they knew. The county road was barricaded 500 feet from the tract. A neighbor had fenced around ...
Years of projects create interesting stories. The ARP case studies are a short narrative of a few of those. The names have been appropriately changed for privacy reasons, but the stories are told as they happened.
CASE STUDY 1 : Old Man Wildstone’s Ranch
Let’s call him Mr. Wildstone, born in the late 1800’s, he bought a ranch in Texas in 1917. After Mr. Wildstones death intestate (without a valid will) a series of heirs and strangers lived on the ranch. One of those people even built a new home in the late 1980’s on the land. None had good title. By the late 2000’s the land had been abandoned. Finally, one afternoon the Sheriff came to a woman’s door with papers to sell the land at the tax sale since property taxes were overdue. Let’s call her Mr. Wildstone’s great grand daughter. She remembered the ranch from her childhood but had not idea she was currently an owner. After some research she learned of a dozen or more owners identified in an incredibly old oil and gas lease that a landman recorded which contained as many errors as it did correct facts. At this juncture the tail became both clearer and more unclear to her and her Attorney. Eventually ARP was engaged and able to purchase her interest (her “share”) of the ranch without title insurance and restrain the tax foreclosure for enough time to track down witnesses to the family history, an old schoolteacher and farmer, and finally identify three generations of heirs.
CASE STUDY 2 : The Man Who Had to Lose Before He Could Win, Mr. Lotto
While researching in the Texas land records one afternoon, an ARP Partner noticed a property tax auction where the county Sheriff auctioned off a man’s vacant lot and made a few mistakes in the process. We will call him Mr. Lotto. Sheriff tax sales often times have errors because they go unaudited. ARP contacted Mr. Lotto and was able to strike a deal. The deal sounded simple but was complicated. If ARP was able to cause the year old Sheriff sale to be set aside and revert the ownership to Mr. Lotto, he would agree to sell the vacant lot to ARP. This was an obvious and easy choice for Mr. Lotto because he had written the land off already and he was wise enough to recognize that. ARP and it’s attorneys petitioned the County Court to set the sale aside and successfully vested Mr. Lotto in title to the land again. After that, Mr. Lotto cashed in his claim and took his winnings.
CASE STUDY 3 : This Old House
We will call this subject Curley. During the 1950’s Curley’s parents lived in their little old family home in a sleepy German immigrant town in Texas, where Curley took care of them into their late years. Just before Curley’s parents died in the 1990’s they both told her that she was “left the house”. After their death, Curley lived there, paid the taxes, maintenance, insurance and for almost thirty years had no clue she actually owned a little less than 50% of the place since her parents never actually left a will. Curley only learned of this problem when she went to sell the home and move. At that time a Realtor broke the bad news. Curley spent five years visiting half a dozen Attorneys, title companies, investors, family friends and Realtors looking for help. All eventually told her it was a lost cause. Her luck changed when a neighbor referred her to ARP. At this point an international search began that started with the ARP domestic private investigator and quickly lead to the engagement of an international private investigative firm. That search collected data and research in the field for six months and eventually led to the missing partial owners. The next six months were spent settling title problems and settling the individual interest of each heir, some as close as the same town and as far as South America. Curley was finally able to sell the home as her own, as she was promised by her parents many decades ago.
CASE STUDY 4 : Pennies From Heaven for Ms. Penny
Mr. Penny lived in his quiet home, on a quiet street, very quietly, for fifty quiet years. Obviously enough, Mr. Penny was a quiet man. He kept to himself. Not many folks knew much about Mr. Penny. He was so reclusive that upon his passing the County Coroner declared him a man with no friends, relatives, acquaintances and even in a report the Coroner called him a man without living heirs. During a drive to get lunch one of the ARP team members noticed on a street of well maintained yards, one that looked like a jungle. Something did not add up. Well, Mr. Penny did have an heir. ARP was unable to piece together the family tree internally and turned to its domestic private investigator who was able to identify Mr. Penny’s brother who moved to the East Coast twenty years ago. The bad news was that he had passed away also. What ARP found was that Mr. Penny’s brother had a daughter who was Mr. Penny’s niece, and she was alive and well. Ms. Penny. Ms. Penny was surprised to learn of her newly discovered mini fortune and told ARP that she was excited and thankful for them because she saw it as pennies from heaven. Ms. Penny was willing to participate in the deal and within weeks walked away with many of her late uncles keep sakes and a big satchel of pennies from heaven when ARP closed the transaction.