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David Kennett
David Kennett, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years practicing attorney
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My husband passed away 2 years ago. I cant get probate closed

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My husband passed away 2 years ago. I can't get probate closed due to judgements that were against him (not me) that were related to his business. My house is in jeopardy because the judgement is preventing refinancing and there is rental property that I can't get rid of because of the judgements. The bank trying to assist with refinancing is trying to get the people who did the judgement to subordinate but so far nothing. There is about 4 1/2 more years left on the judgement. What can I do?
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Was his name also on the house?
Were there other assets in his estate that could be used to pay or settle the judgments?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

On our home we were both on the title and morgage. The rental property was in his name only for morgage. Both have been changed to my name. There were no other assets. Basically, according to the attorney who originally handled the estate, said the estate is 'insolvent'. I am unable to sell the rental property due to the judgement which prevents me from settling other debts of his.

Dear JACUSTOMER - You are not personally liable for the debts of your husband so the rental property can be allowed to go into foreclosure if it cannot be sold. There would be no judgment against you for any deficiency however the problem still is that all debts must be paid from the estate of the deceased so if your husband owned half of your home and there is any equity in the house then the creditors have a right to seek payment from those assets. Unfortunately I have to agree with the opinion of your attorney that the only way to refinance the house is to convince the creditors to subordinate their judgments or to somehow settle the judgments for less than the full amount. The only other two alternatives is to simply continue to pay your current mortgage and let the judgments expire in several years or sell the property which would mean your husband's half of the proceeds would have to be applied to the judgments and you would keep your half since you are not liable personally for any of this debt. I wish there was an easy solution to the problem but making judgments go away is very difficult and the creditors can just wait out the process.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well here's the problem with waiting out the judgement. The loan on the rental property came due last August and I've been working with the bank since then to try to settle this. The other problem is my house's note comes due in 2015, the judgement does not expire until 12/2017. What type of lawyer can help me take the people who have the judgement to court to get it settled? I have no funds to pay them any amount to settle the judgement. They have already tried to force the sell of my property but the value was nominal and wouldn't even come close to settling the judgement - $460,000.00! My house isvalued at ~$200,000 and I still owe $188,000. The rental property is valued at ~65,000 which is about how much is still owed. I have got to have resolution to this. Please help!

I'm trying to help but in some cases there simply is no way out of the situation. As for the rental property you probably should just let it go and not spend any money trying to save it. I'm not certain why it was ever placed in your name with all these judgments filed but regardless of that the creditors will simply take whatever proceeds there might be from any sale or foreclosure of that property so I can't see spending any money to try to save it. As for your house, it would appear there is little equity to pay any creditors other than the mortgage company so there would be nothing they could get from the house if you did sell it or refinance it. Once again, the problem is no attorney can force the creditors to do anything with respect to settling a judgment. Based on the amount of assets in the estate and the size of the judgments you have no way to even make an offer of settlement that anyone would accept. It would probably take 50-50% in a lump sum payment to cover all of the judgments in any settlement so spending money on lawyers to try to settle is a waste of time. The only possibility that I know of, and this is not a sure thing, is to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to see if you have any way of protecting the house from the creditors. Legally, the only way to get rid of a debt, other than paying or settling it, is to get relief in bankruptcy. I completely understand your situation but unfortunately there's not always a viable solution to every problem and making creditors accept something is not easy as they have no duty to do so. Other than bankruptcy or a subordination agreement I see no other legal way to solve the problem.
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