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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33730
Experience:  15 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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In 2005 we (my wife and me) bought apartment in Hawaii (we

Customer Question

In 2005 we (my wife and me) bought apartment in Hawaii (we both on title). In 2009 we refinanced, while I just started my own business, we put the whole mortgage in her name. To get a better rate we opened we opened also a saving account at the same Wells Fargo bank. My wife passed away on March 17, 2016. She was only 39 and our son is now 30 months old. My in laws took it upon them selfs to tell Wells Fargo they are the estate beneficiaries. And they gave them all the savings ($24K). I tried to talk to Wells Fargo about this, and they don't want to talk to me, because I'm not on the account and not the beneficiaries. The apartment is worth $175K, and we owe $200K. Can I just walk away? What can they legally do to me?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 5 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Are you on the mortgage along with your wife as a co-signer or is it entirely in her name?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Aloha sir,
Thank you for quick response.She is/was the only one on the mortgage. But we are both on title.
Expert:  Barrister replied 5 months ago.

Aloha right back... I am sorry to hear of your wife's passing, please accept my condolences.

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If she was the only one listed on the mortgage to the property, then the lender can only pursue her estate for any debts. So if you were to simply walk away, then the lender could only come after her estate for any debt owed. If her estate doesn't have any assets then the lender can only foreclose and would get stuck with any deficiency.

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So if you walk away the lender can't do anything to you to force you to pay for the mortgage and their sole option would be to come after the estate for payment.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
But I'm I not her estate? I got our life insurance and her 401K.Side note: we don't live there any more. And we are renting out apartment. I stopped the mortgage payments per 7/1/2016. I will keep paying the association dues. When my wife started working at Hualalai Resort, 19 years ago. She wrote down my in laws as beneficiaries of her work life insurance. They not only took our savings, but Alston cashed her life insurance
Expert:  Barrister replied 5 months ago.

But I'm I not her estate? I got our life insurance and her 401K.
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No, her estate is any assets that she owned personally and solely in her name. Life insurance and 401Ks have stated beneficiaries so they pass outside probate and are not part of a person's estate.

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So that doesn't change my answer at all... you can simply walk away and there are no negative repercussions to you as long as you are not on the mortgage as a co-borrower.

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thanks

Barrister

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