Do I just let it go or try to sell it if I can’t afford to keep the house? 24 Answers as of May 23, 2013

My father just passed away. He has a house and he paid off cars. Any advice would be great.

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Law Office of Edward M. Burgh, APC | Edward M. Burgh
You need to take this to the Probate Court in the County where he lived and hire an attorney to represent you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/21/2012
Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
Are you on the title to the house? Did your father title the home in his name and yours by a deed which was recorded with the Recorder of Deeds for the county in which the property was located? If the house is in your name and his you need to file an affidavit of death showing that he died and that the house is now to be titled in your name alone. This affidavit is recorded with the Recorder of Deeds. You can then list the property and sell it. If your name is not on the house you will need to open a probate estate in the county where your father was domiciled at the time of his death and follow normal probate procedure. You will need to retain a Missouri attorney to help you with this.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 12/21/2012
Donaldson Stewart, PC
Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
There is not enough information provided in order for me to give specific legal advice and I recommend you speak with an experienced probate attorney for more information. Generally speaking, if the house has equity and is not "upside down," it is probably a good idea to consider selling the house so the proceeds can be distributed to the legal heirs/devisees. The same would apply to the vehicles, especially if they are paid off. A probate attorney can help you to determine whether a probate action is necessary to liquidate these assets and gather/distribute any other assets (retirement accounts, bank accounts, etc.) in your father's name.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 12/20/2012
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, selling, leasing, donating, or losing (foreclosure) it are options. If you cannot afford to keep/maintain the house but want to keep it, maybe you can rent it to tenants to pay for related expenses. Otherwise, selling it sounds like a good option.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/18/2012
Pelger Law
Pelger Law | William R. Pelger
Too generic of a question to answer without knowing more. If you did inherit this house, you will need a lawyer to handle the estate so the house can be sold or transferred to you. Plus, there is inheritance tax owed which the attorney can handle for you.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 12/18/2012
    Martinson & Beason, PC
    Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
    If there is equity in the house, you should be appointed at the Executor of the Administrator of the estate and try to sell the house. If there is not equity, you need to talk to the mortgage company about deeding it back to them. If he has cars, the mortgage company would have a claim against the estate assets and the cars would be among those assets
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    In order to transfer the assets into your name (assuming you are his only heir), you would have to open a probate (and would need the help of an attorney to do this). I am not clear from your question whether there is a mortgage on the house. If there is a mortgage, and the house has no equity or is upside-down, and you cannot maintain the mortgage, then it may be best to let it go and not open a probate. The bank will eventually foreclose on the property, you may be named as a defendant (but only to the extent that you are a potential beneficiary - they cannot force you to pay the mortgage if you are not on the note
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    There is no way to give you much guidance, given the scarcity of facts in your summary. You need to determine how much equity there is in the property. You also need to decide if it is something that you could afford to keep and maintain. It is likely there will be some costs associated with probate, assuming that is necessary. But if you are determined to try to keep the property, there are ways that this could be done.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Obtain yourself a probate lawyer to probate the estate of your father so you can obtain orders of title into your name, at which time you could make a decision to keep or sell the assets.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    It sounds like an estate issue, but I'm not entirely certain based upon the lack of overall information offered. In short, sell the house and any of the cars you wish to sell, however, remember if you are going to sell either one, you'll need to be proclaimed the Executor or Administrator of your father's estate and that means you must file for Probate or Administration in the Surrogate's Court in the County in which he lived when he died.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Lampton Law Firm LLC | Norman Lampton
    You need to consult directly with an attorney who can look at the total situation.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 5/23/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Your question does not advise the reader how each asset is titled. That makes a difference on the next steps that are available to you. Unless everything is in joint tenancy with you, you probably should speak with an attorney about how to transfer title, be it through probate or otherwise. You may not have authority to sell or otherwise dispose of assets.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Law Office of Michael Sterner | Michael Sterner
    You may need to sell it below fair market value if the estate cannot afford to pay the mortgage and pay any existing debts (mortgage, deed of trust, taxes, etc.). If the value of the home exceeds the debt, then walking away is not advisable. Was there a will? Have you opened probate?
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    DENKER & BUTLER, PLLC | RICK DENKER
    To clear up title to the real estate, you will have to file a probate of his estate. Then you can sell the property if you want, either while in probate or after.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    You should try to sell it first. You should consult a probate attorney to assistance with the procedures.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    If you are the Administrator of the estate you can sell or attempt to sell the property. Notify the loan holder and maybe they will assist in the sell of the property. If the home does not sell then work out a deal with the bank to repossess the home. 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: 12/18/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    Sell it. If you just let it go, you'll get nothing for it.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    If you can sell the house for more than the debt on the house, then it probably would be beneficial to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    Sell the house if it has equity. Do you have to probate the house and other assets?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    What do you mean, let it go? Is there a mortgage, did only you inherit it, are you the executor of the estate?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/23/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    If you can't afford to keep the house and there is no mortgage owed, it probably would be best to sell it. Even if there is a mortgage on the house, after the mortgage is paid off from the funds received from the sale, the overage will go to the heirs. If the house were to go into foreclosure, the foreclosure would be against the estate and not the heirs of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    See an attorney. You will need on to transfer the house.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/18/2012
    Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
    Was there a will? Are there any other kids? A surviving spouse?
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/23/2013
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