Milwaukee, WI asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Wisconsin

Q: I currently have a valid registered land contract for a house with one person.

But found out there’s a lien on the house with someone else. The person with the lien passed away recently. If I end up paying for the house who does the money go to? Or should I keep paying my land contract and he pays of the lien ?

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2 Lawyer Answers

A: Land can be sold with liens attached to it. And whatever tax liens there are on the land will have to be satisfied before you or anyone else receives the deed.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton
  • Eau Claire, WI
  • Licensed in Wisconsin

A: The lien would follow the estate of the deceased. So whoever owned the property, their Estate will own a beneficial interest in the property, subject to the lien on the property.The Estate of the deceased will likely be bound by the terms of the Land Contract that you signed. You should examine the language of your land contract to see if it says it is binding on "heir, successors and assigns" or other similar language. Check the terms of the Land Contract to also see if there is some sort of acceleration clause (requiring you to pay in full) in the event of the death of the other party. If there is no language like this, then the Land Contract should be binding on the Estate and you should continue making payments to the Estate of the Deceased. As a practical matter, the Estate might be open to you paying them off in full for a lesser amount, instead of receiving payments over time. Perhaps this is something you can negotiate with them if you are able to obtain some other form of financing and pay them off early. After you review your Land Contract, I recommend sitting down with an attorney who can review the Land Contract with you and discuss your options moving forward .

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