In Colorado, when someone passes away (the decedent), if they leave any real property behind, this must be transferred through probate. Generally, the decedent will designate someone in their will to act as the Personal Representative of the Estate. The Personal Representative oversees administering the assets of the Estate, which may include readying any real property in the Estate for sale.
Pursuant to Colorado Law, certain defects on a property must be disclosed to the buyer. However, this can prove problematic for a Personal Representative who has never resided on the decedent’s property they are now selling. Even though the Personal Representative has never resided on the property, they are not necessarily shielded from Colorado’s disclosure requirements.
Colorado caselaw provides that sellers have a duty that is independent to contractual requirements to disclose any latent defects on the property. Even if the buyer waives the Seller’s Property Disclosure, this may not necessarily waive liability under Colorado disclosure requirements.
If you are in this situation as a Personal Representative, we recommend you take several steps to protect yourself from liability. These include:
- Obtain a home inspection report and give a copy to the buyer. This will put the buyer on notice as much as possible of any defects in the property that the Personal Representative is not personally aware of.
- Disclose known defects. If there are any defects on the property that you are aware of, be sure to disclose those defects on the Seller’s Disclosure form by filling out the form to the best of your knowledge, and in as much detail as possible.
- Indicate why you lack specific knowledge. When filling out the Seller’s Property Disclosure form, if you have never resided on the property, indicate under the comment line that defects are unknown as the seller has never resided on the property.
If you are named as the Personal Representative of the Estate of someone who has passed away, contact us today for disclosure assistance in selling real property of the decedent.