Aurora, CO asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for North Carolina

Q: Mother-in-law recently passed, living in a trailer under a “lease-to-own” contract. Does my wife have any obligations?

She had not finished paying off the property. Wife is not listed on the lease and there is no will. We do not want the property and are not seeking anything other than to return the property to the owner. Does my wife have any obligations as the next-of-kin and only child?

2 Lawyer Answers
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN

A: The Lease With Option To Purchase should be void. Do not file Probate unless there is a very good reason, as the landlord will file a Claim Against the Estate. To be careful, hire an attorney to conduct a title search to make sure about the Lease. Sometimes those Contracts are recorded, and some sort of release might be needed to clear the landlord's Title. You need to check the Title to the Trailer also, as that is a Document of Title property with its VIN. Your Wife did not inherit her Mother's Debts.

1 user found this answer helpful

Angela L. Haas
Angela L. Haas
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: Your wife will not be liable for the lease, unless she entered into an agreement beforehand stating that she would pay the monthly amount. I don't see why the owner wouldn't just take it back. I would at least get a copy of the rent to own contract and read what it says, though, just in case she has any ownership in the property and you have to do something with it (like sell her interest to pay debts of her estate). Either way, your wife should not have any liability associated.

1 user found this answer helpful

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