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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37055
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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We had an informal contract to buy my moms property, we have

Customer Question

We had an informal contract to buy my moms property, we have already paid her more than the land is valued at, but she has died with credit card debt that exceeds the value of her whole estate. Is there anything we can do? Washington state, no lawyer will help us because no value to the estate
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Do you have anything in writing about the purchase?
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Any letters, emails, texts, etc. where the transaction is discussed?
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Do you have proof of payments made to her with any notations on them showing them for "land" or something similar?
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Is there some reason that the property wasn't deeded over once the agreement was made or after you paid her off?
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We have a contract where we agreed to pay 400 a month until the property was paid off to the bank and then 200 a month after, this contract states that we had already paid $6000+ in 2011 signed and dated by both of us, but not notarized, she also left it to me in the will and named me personal representative. We were unaware of the credit card debt, she kept saying she was going to add me to the deed but never did. I think she was using me to get my money.
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Ok, then if you have a contract for sale signed by her, then that is a legally binding contract. It doesn't have to be notarized to be valid. So essentially you are the equitable owner of the property, if not legal title owner.
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With that said, you would have a "creditor claim" against her estate to legally force the Personal Representative (i.e. you) to transfer the property to you if you have proof that you have paid off the entire agreed on price.
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The problem is that if she has massive debts and no assets, you are going to have to pay an attorney out of pocket to represent you and file a probate case to settle the estate and pursue your claim against the estate to transfer the property. That would likely be $5K up front as a retainer to get an attorney interested in representing you..
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She was a control freak and she kept taking more and more, she also said she had a 15000 life insurance policy with me as beneficiary but she didn't. She always said you'll get your money back when I die, she left a 10,000 policy to my brother
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
I hate to see something like this because often when someone has an out of control spending habit, they end up running up a lot of debt before they pass because they figure that the creditors can't get what they don't have...
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But if you have the written agreement, I think you would stand in a pretty strong position to be able to transfer the property from the estate over to you personally as long as you can prove you paid it off according to the agreement. This would keep it out of the creditor's hands because you were the equitable owner of the property so technically mother didn't own it any longer so as to make it subject to her creditor claims.
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But you are going to need an attorney to help you wade through this if you want to fight for the property..
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thanks
Barrister

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