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Random law related question about being an heir...I don't even know how to title this. :/

I know laws are different by state, and I've had a consult with a TX probate attorney already, so most of those state specific questions are already answered.

BUT I can't get any info from the loan company about the house that I might become responsible for after I go through probate court filings. I have no clue how much is owed on the loan, I don't know if it's up to date, I don't know ANYTHING about the status of the home loan...except that the homeowner's insurance hasn't been paid since June 2011. I can't find any recent paperwork on the home at all.

Sorry for this being rambly, but I'm just so confused. I can't get any info from the bank about the loan until I have the probate papers saying that everything is my responsibility. But I don't want to take on the responsibility if it is more than FI and I can afford to take on, but we can't find this information out beforehand. Does anyone know of any thing that I might be able to do to get this info before taking the financial responsibility for it? Will a bank go after the person who is the heir of a deceased person even if the heir doesn't take any property and/or surrenders it?

If this post doesn't make any sense, I'm sorry. I'm just completely out of my element and have to make a decision. FI and I want the house, but only if we can afford it,  ya know? Bahhh...

Re: Random law related question about being an heir...I don't even know how to title this. :/

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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_chit-chat_random-law-related-question-about-being-an-heiri-dont-even-know-how-to-title-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:14Discussion:7e2d530c-93da-4f87-9ddf-fda93bc916afPost:c8bd8305-6f98-44d7-b318-3427f7edf786">Re: Random law related question about being an heir...I don't even know how to title this. :/</a>:
    [QUOTE]You need to talk to a lawyer who specializes in estates.  This is not a DIY project.
    Posted by CMGr[/QUOTE]
    This is what we'll probably have to do, but since the 'estate' has such a (relatively) low value, I didn't want to incur a lot of legal expenses in the process. If I had some dang numbers to go by now, it wouldn't be such a stressor I guess. Thanks though. :)
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    PM me and I'll see if I can help point you in the right direction.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    goobersinlovegoobersinlove member
    5 Love Its First Comment
    edited February 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_chit-chat_random-law-related-question-about-being-an-heiri-dont-even-know-how-to-title-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:14Discussion:7e2d530c-93da-4f87-9ddf-fda93bc916afPost:10d0987e-af49-42a7-b8a7-f2df6c5da93e">Random law related question about being an heir...I don't even know how to title this. :/</a>:
    [QUOTE]I know laws are different by state, and I've had a consult with a TX probate attorney already, so most of those state specific questions are already answered. BUT I can't get any info from the loan company about the house that I might become responsible for after I go through probate court filings. I have no clue how much is owed on the loan, I don't know if it's up to date, I don't know ANYTHING about the status of the home loan...except that the homeowner's insurance hasn't been paid since June 2011. I can't find any recent paperwork on the home at all. Sorry for this being rambly, but I'm just so confused. <strong>I can't get any info from the bank about the loan until I have the probate papers saying that everything is my responsibility. But I don't want to take on the responsibility if it is more than FI and I can afford to take on, but we can't find this information out beforehand</strong>. Does anyone know of any thing that I might be able to do to get this info before taking the financial responsibility for it? W<strong>ill a bank go after the person who is the heir of a deceased person even if the heir doesn't take any property and/or surrenders it? </strong>If this post doesn't make any sense, I'm sorry. I'm just completely out of my element and have to make a decision. FI and I want the house, but only if we can afford it,  ya know? Bahhh...
    Posted by DeadUtopia[/QUOTE]

    You are correct that the bank is not going to give you any information until you become the court appointed personal representative/administrator of his estate.  When you are granted that fiduciary position, you are responsible for marshaling the assets of the estate (i.e., liquidating everything, etc.).  However, you are NOT responsible for paying his debts out of your own pocket.  You do not becoming personally responsible for paying back that money in any way (unless you happened to co-sign on that loan, but obviously you did not). Do you understand the difference?

    So who/what is responsible for paying the debts of the decedent? The decedent's estate.  That means any probate assets that he has at the time of his death (bank accounts, etc.) will be first applied towards any debt that they owe before being distributed to any heirs.  If the assets are not enough to cover the debts that our owed, his estate is known as "insolvant."  In this case, the probate court will decide which debts take priority to be paid and which ones the banks have to eat.  No one is ever personally responsible for the personal debts of someone who dies (unless you mismanaged your fidcuiary duties - your lawyer will explain that to you).  Keep in mind that there are probate assets and non-probate assets.  Things that are payable directly to a beneficiary upon death (e.g, life insurace) are not "assets" that must be applied towards decedent debt.

    There are several different things that can happen with the house. Did he have a will which directs how his house and other assets should be divided?  In most cases, the house will need to be sold and the proceeds applied to the outstanding balance of the mortgage first. If you wanted to buy the house from his estate, that would be your own mortgage that you would be taking on. That your lawyer can discuss with you further.

    This is just a general summary to clear up your basic quesitons. Probate/estate administration is much more involved than that, which you should talk to a lawyer about.

    THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_chit-chat_random-law-related-question-about-being-an-heiri-dont-even-know-how-to-title-this?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:14Discussion:7e2d530c-93da-4f87-9ddf-fda93bc916afPost:5f45623f-098b-4ed5-87fc-2cdb328e0969">Re: Random law related question about being an heir...I don't even know how to title this. :/</a>:
    [QUOTE]
    Posted by goobersinlove[/QUOTE]

    I didn't want a long quote, but I wanted to thank you for the advice! This is the info I was looking for! (Granted, I know it's not formal legal advice, but the explanation you gave me to distinguish the two is what I most needed clarified.) I was terrified of becoming personally responsible for every last medical bill and past due bill he ever had. I knew that we would have to take a seperate loan to purchase the house, and hopefully that all works out but that's another can of worms. Again, thanks!
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    OP, check BCAD online for the status of the property taxes.  You can easily look it up online by property address or owner name.  You want to stay on top of whether they have been paid so the house is not foreclosed upon by the county or the mortgage company (or so you know if you will have a hefty property tax bill coming your way if you are able to take over/purchase the property).
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    It's such a long, icky story. My parents passed away and my brother wanted the house so he had to take a loan out to pay legal bills and stuff but he ended up getting it in the end. Now that he passed away and he didn't have a will, I would love to keep my parents' house,  but he was in a really bad spot financially and left the house in pretty bad condition (good foundation and roof though, it's all cosmetic as far as I can tell) so I would have to get a big enough loan to cover repairs. I don't want to pay more than what the house is worth or pay more than I would for a new house. I'm just not mentally ready to go through all this crap, but it can't really wait. :/
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