Judgement Day

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ohgivemeahome, May 22, 2005.

  1. ohgivemeahome

    ohgivemeahome New Member

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    My mother and I were renting a house together. After about 2 years, the owner offered us the opportunity to buy it. We accepted. We proceeded to try to get the house in my name, but my credit wasn't good, so we tried her name and the sale went through. Because my mom was retired and on disability, and also because I had the larger income and three children, I paid $750.00 of the 1,107.00 house payment every month. I also paid utilities. Two more years later, we decided to refinance to try to lower the house payments, because my mom intended to move out on her own soon. She had been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and wanted to live with my sister, who had no small children and could take care of her. We used my credit and income this time along with my mothers. The mortgage consultant said that I would be the primary title holder and that should anything happen to my mother, sole title would automatically transfer to me. He had my mother fill out a quit claim deed to that affect. The problem is that my mother died leaving no will, and apparently the quit claim deed that the mortgage company prepared was not one that gave me 'right of survivorship.' In fact, it only made us tenants in common, meaning that on her death, my siblings had legal claim to her half of the property. All of this came out when I attempted to refinance again about a year after my mother's death. The house payment had gone up to $1335.00 and I needed to lower it. I talked to an attorney who advised me that in order to avoid probate, I'd have to get all of my siblings to quit claim their rights to the property to me, which they did with no hesitation. They knew what me and my mother's situation was. However, I am now being told that this matter has to go to probate, and that any judgements against any of my siblings could put a lien against the property. Worst still I'm being told that I may have to use any equity I would get from the refinancing to repay medical bills my mother incurred. Somebody please give me some advice -- I'm beginning to think it would be better all around to just abandon the property since I can't sell it and I can't refinance it and lower my payments.
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Do you have a lawyer of your own? One who specializes in real estate?
     

  3. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    How long ago did your mom die?

    It's my experience that, when someone dies, the first thing that has to happen is the bills must be paid. So, if your mom had medical bills, they have to be paid out of her accounts/estate.

    If she died some time ago, like a couple of years ago, though, I'd think you'd already know whether there are still outstanding medical bills. ?

    Whose names are on the deed? If your mom's name is still on the deed, then ... ?

    And who told you it has to go through probate?

    It sounds to me like you need a good lawyer to talk to before you do anything else. I'm also guessing you got an ARM? Not a good idea, esp. with interest rates rising.

    Get a lawyer before you do anything else. !
     
  4. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I see these kinds of things arising from really bad advise all the time. Even on here, many people give out real bad advise on how to do things like this.

    The short answer is, $200 spent with an estate lawyer 3 years ago would have made all this real simple, no issues.

    Today, you will spend more on a lawyer. You need one. Just bite the bullet & go get one to represent _you_. Do not throw in with siblings or anyone else at this point. You need one lawyer representing _just you_. Do not, I repeat do not, share a lawyer - issues from when you all were 12 years old will suddenly come up, and ...........

    You will likely need to prove all contributions you made to the house since it's purchase. Any % you can't prove came from _your_ earnings will be considered you mom's proerty, & will be doled out to satisfy bills, settle estate, etc. It can be difficult, but you _should_ be able to protect your contributions to the property as yours. Unless the word 'rent' ever showed up on any of the documents, then you would be renting from your mom & a whole new set of problems come up....

    That is the short version, a good lawyer might present other ideas/ plans.

    You need an estate lawyer, that is the only way out of this. Period.

    --->Paul
     
  5. thequeensblessing

    thequeensblessing Well-Known Member

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    I agree that you definitely need a good lawyer. My only question is this: Could you not get your siblings to agree to "sell" you their interest in the property for the legal minimum; $1.00 or whatever it is? Then the property is yours legally. Would this not work? Just curious. Best of luck and keep us posted on how it goes. I'm truly curious.
     
  6. Ann-NWIowa

    Ann-NWIowa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Big big big can of worms. Basically tenants in common means that each of you own an undivided one-half. Upon your mother's death you own one-half plus the share you inherit under state law. Six children would mean an additional 1/6th. If any of your siblings have liens they will attach to their share which means if you accept a transfer you will get their share with the lien attached. If your mother received Medicaid, then her half will go to repay that. If she has unpaid bills, they also come out of her half. In Iowa this would require a probate to clear title of her half from your mom to you and your siblings. Your half remains your half but encumbered by her share until everything is cleared up.

    Everyone likes to bad mouth lawyers. However, its much better to consult one earlier rather than later. Once the genie is out of the bottle, so to speak, things are often difficult if not impossible to correct. Correcting problems always costs a LOT more than avoiding them in the first place.

    When you consult the attorney about this problem, you also should ask him to draft a Will, plenary/general power of attorney and power of attorney for health care decisions/living will for you if you don't already have these in place. Protect your children from this hassle.
     
  7. ohgivemeahome

    ohgivemeahome New Member

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    Thank you for this advice. I have to admit -- it wasn't really what I wanted to hear because I was convinced that the mortgage consultant and the probate attorney that he recommended were only trying to grease their palms at my expense. The reason I was so skeptical is because I told him everything up front. I gave him all my paperwork, i.e. quit claim deeds, title deed papers, etc. and everything was moving forward without a hitch. I was told I could get refinanced at a rate of 5.6% and even signed paperwork locking in the rate. I started getting suspicious though when everytime I talked with the broker he kept increasing the cash out amount he was going to get me, even though I told him my primary interest was in lowering my house payment. All of the problems with the title came out of nowhere.

    But, the handwriting is on the wall. I'm going to take the advice I've gotten from you and others who responded to my post and get an attorney. What a world!!!