Except that in the cases I’m familiar with, it is in the buyer’s name

The deeds were registered with the county clerk with both the buyer and the seller listed, just as with a mortgage. So the property was already in the process of being sold. The only thing that would nullify the contract was if one person or another went into default, and then the “wronged” party would have the option to decide how to proceed. Usually, even those options were spelled out. So the only way it could be sold out from under the buyer, is if the buyer were in default. The family couldn’t just decide they wanted more money, or wanted it sooner. It was a legal binding contract. I wonder if that sort of thing varies from state to state though. Maybe that’s the difference. Something to definitely check into……