It’s never a fun topic for anyone to consider, but how would your HOA board handle the sudden death of a homeowner in your association? If you’re unsure, here are some things to know:
Find Out if They Had a Will
If a homeowner dies and they had a will in place, the control of their assets will go to the executor of the estate. This is the person your board would be allowed to provide with a key to the home.
If the homeowner did not have a will at time of death, someone will have to appointed to control the assets of their estate. This person would then have access to the home’s keys and have full access.
If someone claims to control the estate of the owner who died, they will need to provide you with documentation to demonstrate it. It’s not sufficient for the person to tell you verbally that they have authority to handle the deceased owner’s assets.
If Dues Aren’t Being Paid
If you’re waiting for legal issues to be resolved after the death of an owner, what if the successors or executor of the estate fails to continue paying dues?
First and foremost, emphasize respect and empathy—just as you should with any HOA member. Remember that this person has just lost a loved one and is going through the difficult process of grieving the loss. Being sensitive to this can go a long way. Of course it’s important that the HOA get paid, but it’s also important to give it time.
And the truth is, the HOA still has the law on its side. The beneficiary or heirs of the estate will still be bound by the same rights of the HOA as the previous owner, so nothing really changes from your association’s standpoint.
Know you’ll get paid. Be compassionate and give it one to two weeks before reaching out. And remember that an HOA management company like Cedar Management Group can also help with delicate matters like this.