My mother died 6-9-9 without a will. Do we have to sell the house to pay credit card debt? or can a lien or loan against the house be made?

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My mother died 6-9-9 without a will. Do we have to sell the house to pay credit card debt? or can a lien or loan against the house be made?

Is there any way to negotiate the credit card debt or do we owe the total? We were told that we needed to sell the house to pay the debt, but if we are able to sell the house, why couldn’t we take a loan out against the house? We wanted to keep the house.

Asked on June 23, 2009 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The personal representative of the estate (administrator) can try to negotiate the debt, but it will have to be paid by the estate, one way or another.  It will probably be difficult, if not impossible, to get a loan against the house while it's still in the estate, because there isn't any income to make the payments.

I think the estate administrator needs to sit down with an attorney in your area, to review all of the details of the situation, for advice you can rely on.  Depending on the facts, there may be a way to keep the house, and it's worth following up on.


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