What can we do about liens on estate property?

My dad passed away 2 years ago; my sister and I went to a lawyer a few months after to probate the Will. We just paid them off but they then they told us 3 days later that they just found out that their are 2 liens on the house so we can’t sell it. What do we do?

Asked on August 15, 2014 under Estate Planning, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You have two options:

1) Pay the liens--either prior to sale or out of the proceeds of a sale (the way mortgages can be paid out of the proceeds of a sale).

2) Dispute the liens and bring a legal action to remove or reduce them, but this a) would require that there be valid grounds to dispute them (e.g. your father had in fact paid the debts previously; your father had never incurred the debts [wrong person] or the amounts were incorrect [bad accounting]; there was some legal defect in the legal process used to impose the liens, such as lack of notice, violation of the statute of limitations, etc.); and b) even if there is legal grounds to challenge the debts, depending on how large they are, the legal cost to challenge them could eat up a substantial part of any hoped for savings.

If you want to try challenging them, consult with an attorney in detail about them.

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