Can a credit card company put a lien on the home to recover the debt after she passed away? 28 Answers as of April 14, 2013

She and my father have a house in both their names and no other assets. The credit card was only in her name.

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Martinson & Beason, PC
Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
They cannot put a lien on the house. If there is an estate filed, they will have a claim against the estate which would be a lien against the house as clear title can't pass until the estate is finally settled, which can't be done until all of the claims are paid. However, if all the assets are joint tenants with rights of survivorship or if there were beneficiaries on insurance policies or retirement accounts then those assets pass outside the estate and there would be no estate assets. Be aware that the credit card companies will hound you and try to coerce you into paying the bill. The best thing to do is to tell them there are no estate assets. If they keep calling, you can consult with an attorney and then tell them not to call you and to only deal with your attorney. Once you have an attorney, they are not allowed to talk to you.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 12/5/2012
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
Yes they can. You need to consult with a Trust Attorney to see what needs to be done for the estate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/2/2012
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
Credit card debt is unsecured debt. Creditors normally do not get the right to secure unsecured debt. They can make a claim against the estate. If there is no estate, then they are basically out of luck. Assuming the husband was not responsible for the debt, in any way, any property passing to him would avoid the creditor's claims, as well. The only way a creditor would be able to put a lien on the property is if they were able to get a judgment against the husband and/or the estate. This is pretty unlikely.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/2/2012
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, possibly not. If your parents were married and owned their home jointly as "tenants by the entirety" (TbyE), they should have special joint ownership protection against creditors of an individual spouse, and the TbyE joint property should not be a probate asset against which the mother's creditor may file a claim.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 11/30/2012
Marc J. Soss, Esq.
Marc J. Soss, Esq. | Marc J. Soss
No, the home is "homestead" protected under Florida law.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 11/30/2012
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    Credit card debt is usually unsecured. In order to obtain a lien on your property, the debt would have to be in default and the credit card company obtain a court judgment. It can then enforce the judgment by filing a lien on the property.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    In Oregon, husband and wife almost always hold real property as "tenants by the entirety." Theoretically, the credit card company could lien HER interest in the home; but they have no right to interfere with HIS interest in the home (unless she used the card for "expenses of the family," in which case he could be liable).
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    In Michigan the lien would be invalid.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/2/2012
    Woolley Wilson, LLP
    Woolley Wilson, LLP | William R. Wilson
    Generally not since there are protections for homestead from unsecured creditors. I assume the Estate has been probated. If so, they will need to file a claim with the Executor.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    Generally a credit card company cannot do that without getting a judgment first.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
    If the home was tenancy by the entireties (or other survivorship) property, the credit card company can't do anything in Oregon to lien the property after her death. If it was owned as tenants in common, the credit card company could make a claim in her probate that would be satisfied from the equity in the home.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    NO. A credit card is unsecured and when a person dies they stand in line after the secured debtors for what they may receive. They can file with the probate court their debt and be paid out of the estate assets. Barry Your financial plan is not complete until it is co-ordinated with your estate plan. Will your family be provided for when you are gone? Without a Will, the court will decide.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    For a creditor to obtain a lien on the property it must first sue, obtain a judgment and then apply for a lien. Most credit card companies don't want to go through that process. However, your father could be liable for the debt as her surviving spouse. You should consult a probate attorney to review all of the facts and advise you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq.
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq. | Neil J. Lehto
    Putting a lien - called an execution against real property in Michigan - first requires the credit card company to obtain a judgment against her. If her interest in the home is divisible from your father and passes to another person within 10 years, her estate would be required to pay the debt. If the home passes automatically to your father because they are joint tenants with full rights of survivor ship, the lien of judgment would not attach to your father's rights. However, if he died first, the lien would attach to her entire interest.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    If she was a resident of Florida and the home is her homestead, for the most part once the home is declared a homestead, creditors cannot place liens against the home, with the exception of the mortgage company.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    In the state of Florida, no creditor (other than the mortgage company who has a secure lien on the house) can force the sale of the house so long as it was her homestead. Additionally, a creditor can only file a claim against her estate. If she owned all her assets jointly with your father, then at her death, the assets belonged solely to your father and there would be no probate.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Only after the credit card company has obtained a judgment as she. As long as title remains in her name.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    For a credit card company to put a "lien" on a house before or after death would require a lawsuit be filed. If the company did not sue your mother while she was alive, they would have to file a claim against her estate and, if the claim was not paid they would have to sue the estate to obtain the necessary judgment to get a lien against the home.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Normally, the credit card company would submit a claim to the estate. Regardless, they need to be paid if the estate is solvent.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Paul Nidich, Attorney at law
    Paul Nidich, Attorney at law | Paul Nidich
    No. A probate estate must be opened, and the credit card company would have to file a claim in the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    How is the property titled?
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 4/14/2013
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Yes. She owed the debt at death and left assets available to pay her debts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
    If they have a judgment, they can lien the property If she were alive, only her half, but since it may have passed to Dad at death, they may be able to lien the whole.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    The Law Offices of Ralph W. Flick, P.S.
    The Law Offices of Ralph W. Flick, P.S. | Ralph W. Flick
    In order to place a lien against an asset, the credit card company would first have to sue and win a judgment and then try to lien assets. However, if she died, the credit card company can make a claim against the estate of the deceased and can only collect against the assets in the estate. If they were married and the property was held as community property, they would have a claim against her community interest in the property. It is likely more complicated than this as there are other factors involved.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    It depends on how the house is owned. If the house is owned as tenants by the entireties, then the house would pass to your father free of the debt. If the house is owned as tenants in common, then one-half of the house would pass to your mother's estate, and the credit card company could file a claim against the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/30/2012
    Byers & Goulding, PLC | Andrew Byers
    No; the credit card company cannot place a lien on the home in this situation.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/30/2012
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