Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Options for Keeping a Home After the Death of a Co-owner

Question: I own a house with my ex-husband.  My ex-husband died a few months ago but there is a lien on the property because my ex had multiple creditors.  There is also a mortgage on the house and I am on the mortgage.  One of the creditors is trying to sell the house in lieu of partition.  The creditor auctioned my ex’s ½ interest but failed to find a buyer.  The creditor went ahead and purchased the interest.  I am a co-owner of the house (a tenant in common owner) and don’t want to lose the home.  What options do I have to keep the house as I don’t have much in the way of resources? Answer: You now co-own the house as a tenant in common and the creditor can legally force the sale.  Your best remedy now may be to negotiate a buy out of their interest.  In the meantime, you should demand that this creditor pay ½ of the carrying costs (mortgage, taxes, insurance). You might also consider trying to get a second mortgage or equity line to buy them out. One other avenue might be to explore the bankruptcy options (or at least threaten bankruptcy) which again might force their hand if this is a possibility based on your circumstances. As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please let me know.

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact Steve Shane at: sshane@offitkurman.com | 301.575.0313.

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About Steve Shane

Steve Shane Head Shot for webSteve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.

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