North Hollywood, CA asked in Foreclosure and Probate for California

Q: Grandfather bought us a home before he passed as part of our inheritance now stepgrandma is trying to forclose can she ?

Grandfather wanted us to make 1,000 payments to him for 7 yrs or he passed whichever came first and then when he passed weed get that money back part of a trust plus the house now she's trying to foreclose on us and is now saying there is no trust is thid possible and does she have any rights

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1 Lawyer Answer

Bruce Adrian Last

Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Pleasant Hill, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Dear North Hollywood:

This is a bit more complex than this simple forum is designed to resolve, and I recommend that you contact an attorney right away. But, here are a couple of items to get you ahead of the game and make your discussion with a lawyer more productive.

1) Your grandmother claims that there is no trust, but your grandfather told you there was. It is possible that there is no trust, or that your grandmother is hiding the trust. One way you can see if there was a trust is to look at the deeds to your home and other property your grandfather owned. As a general rule, when someone creates a trust they place their real property in the trust. The property deed (and you need to look at the actual deed) will relate the grantor (owner) something like "Jim Smith as Trustee of the Jim Smith Trust.

2) Can your grandmother "foreclose" on the loan? Any debt owed to Decedent can be collected by the Decedent's estate or trust. So, if your grandmother is the court appointed Executor or the Trustee (which does not require court appointment but does require a trust), she can attempt to hold you to the deal.

You do not mention if there is any written agreement between your grandfather and yourself, or what is the form of the title to the property your grandfather bought for you. This will make a huge difference in how the matter proceeds from a procedural standpoint.

3) Does your grandmother have any rights? This is the $10,000 question. Aside from questions about a written agreement and form of title, Spouses owe each other various duties when it comes to property. This involves consideration of community and separate property issues and the duty between spouses when managing the same. When you add a spouse's death to the mix, it gets even more complex.

Which brings us back to where we started. There is no simple answer to your question, and any answer is going to depend on the facts of your particular situation. Thus, you should speak with an attorney who knows both probate and family law right away. If you do not know where to find an attorney, I would contact your local county bar association. Most California bar associations run lawyer referral programs that match you to an attorney who provides consultation for a small or no fee.

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