What are the financial responsibilities if someone is awarded a percentage interest in property?

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What are the financial responsibilities if someone is awarded a percentage interest in property?

My mother’s husband’s estate is settled and his son from a first marriage was
awarded 16.66 interest in the title to the mobile home his father and my
mother purchased. there was no willHowever, there is no equity in the home.
Mom owes 73,000 and the mobile home is only valued at 22,000 and she has
20 more years to pay.She is 80 Is the son liable to pay her 16 of the
mortgage payments each month and the taxes owed? How does his interest
work?

Asked on March 15, 2019 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Your mother can't force him to pay or contribute: he has the legal right to not pay and allow the consequences (e.g. the home being foreclosed on by the lender, or taken for unpaid taxes) to occur. If the home had value, by not contributing to these costs so as to preserve ownership, he'd be giving up his 16.66% share of the value, but you write that the home is badly "underwater" and has negative equity, so that is not a reason for him to pay. An owner of an underwater property is often best off defaulting on the property and allowing the bank or town to take it. Indeed, if the home is only worth $22,000 but $73,000 is owed on it, your mother is probably also best off letting it default and living elsewhere (e.g. renting some place else): even though, statistically, she is unlikely to live to repay the whole the $73,000, given her age, there is an excellent chance that she will pay more for this home than it is worth. That being the case, walking away, if she can find elsewhere to live, is likely her best option.


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