Can They Put a Lien on My Mother's Home While They Contest Her Will?

By Ciele Edwards

Unfortunately, the fact that your mother left a will does not guarantee that all her loved ones will adhere to the wishes she expressed. Family or friends who do not believe they were justly provided for in her will may have the right to legally contest it – effectively preventing legitimate heirs from selling or transferring property until the court resolves the issue.

Unfortunately, the fact that your mother left a will does not guarantee that all her loved ones will adhere to the wishes she expressed. Family or friends who do not believe they were justly provided for in her will may have the right to legally contest it – effectively preventing legitimate heirs from selling or transferring property until the court resolves the issue.

Real Estate Liens

Although a real estate lien does not prevent you from selling your mother's property after her death, it can make it more difficult to do so. A real estate lien encumbers the home's title. You cannot sell the home without first paying off and removing the lien. If you do not do so, the creditor that originally filed the lien has the right to foreclose on the property.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Filing a Lien

A family member's disagreement over the contents of your mother's will does not give him the legal right to file a lien against the property she left behind. Real estate liens are tools creditors use to collect unpaid debts – not tools that individuals can use to freeze property while contesting a will. In order to file a lien against your late mother's home, an individual would need to win a lawsuit against her for an unpaid debt. Your mother's failure to leave loved ones what they believe they deserve does not constitute a valid debt.

Frozen Assets

An individual cannot contest a will without a valid reason. What constitutes acceptable grounds varies by state but, in general, an individual cannot simply contest a will because she is unhappy with the way your mother chose to distribute her assets. If a loved one has a valid reason to contest the will, such as the belief that your mother was not of sound mind when the document was created, she can bring up her concerns to the court. State laws vary, but the probate court handling your mother's estate may freeze her assets upon receiving a legitimate complaint. If the court freezes your mother's assets, you cannot sell or transfer any property she owned – including her home – until the probate court conducts a hearing to resolve the issue.

Pre-existing Liens

If a title search of your mother's home turns up a real estate lien, don't assume the lien was filed recently. Each state sets its own validity period for liens, but real estate liens are often valid for up to ten years or longer. Real estate liens attach to the debtor's property – not the debtor. Thus, any pre-existing liens on your mother's house remain valid after her death. Unless the laws in your mother's state require the probate court to pay off property liens after her death, the liens will remain attached to the home until the heir who receives the property pays them off or until the lien validity period expires.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
How to Settle an Estate if There Is a Lien in North Carolina

References

Resources

Related articles

How Long Do You Have to Contest a Will?

Contesting a will is one of the most complicated aspects of estate law. Deadlines and provisions vary from state to state. If you think you have reason to challenge a will, contact an attorney immediately to find out what the exact time frames are in your area. Generally, your options depend on whether or not the will has been probated.

Will Bankruptcy Eliminate a Lien on a House?

Bankruptcy may be your last line of defense in an attempt to save your home or other assets from creditors. After months of attempting to negotiate and dealing with collection agencies, you may finally breathe a sigh of relief knowing your bankruptcy case is complete. Imagine your surprise, however, if you learn that even after your bankruptcy case has closed, a lien remains against your home and must be cleared before you are free to mortgage or sell it.

Who Is a Secured Creditor in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to allow individuals to obtain relief from their debts and make a fresh start through a discharge of their debts. However, a Chapter 7 discharge does not always allow debtors to completely eliminate their financial obligations. Instead, any assets that the debtor has that cannot be protected by exemption are sold, with the proceeds going to repay creditors ordered by a priority system designed to allow them to receive as much repayment as possible before a discharge is granted.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Can a Creditor Put a Lien on Property If Chapter 13 is Dismissed?

The primary reason you likely sought Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection is to protect your property from foreclosure or ...

Bankruptcy & Deficiency Judgments

If you have gone through foreclosure and seen your home sold at auction, the bank that claimed your dwelling may not be ...

Laws on Inheritance Disputes

Sometimes heirs are unhappy with the money or specific property they are left. Inheritance disputes frequently result ...

Can a Chapter 7 Be Filed if a Debt Has Placed a Lien Against You?

You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after a creditor has placed a lien against your property, but bankruptcy can ...

Browse by category