Shamokin, PA asked in Bankruptcy and Foreclosure for Pennsylvania

Q: Can a bank put your dads house after he dies in son's name with out telling them the kids did not open up a estate

They put the house in kids name in 2017 the kids did not know it till they got foreclose notices also bank told 1 of the kids the bought if for a dollar however the kids never gave any money 4 house

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3 Lawyer Answers
Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Louisville, KY

A: More information is needed, however, the answer is very likely, no.

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Boyertown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: Pennsylvania, like most states, has laws of "succession", otherwise known as intestacy statutes, and under those laws, if a person dies without a will, the children of the deceased, and a surviving spouse, are the primary beneficiaries and will accede to the deceased property.

The accurate answer to your question is no, the bank has no power to change or determine ownership of property, but they can access the law on the books and usually figure out who the "heirs at law" are of the deceased. Under those intestacy statutes, the beneficiary(s) acquire the property automatically, and at the moment of death.

On the other hand, if there is an unpaid mortgage or lien on the property, and no one other than your dad or mom has signed the Note that accompanies the Mortgage, the bank cannot legally pursue you personally on the Note balance just because you are an apparent heir at law. At the same time, if there is a Mortgage balance, and regular payments under the Note are not made, the bank would have a right to institute foreclosure proceedings to sell the property to pay the Note balance. Usually, there is equity value in the property that is worth saving for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

David Luther Woodward agrees with this answer

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Boyertown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: If the bank has already foreclosed on the property, and bid it in at a foreclosure sale "for a dollar", after your dad's death, the foreclosure proceeding is probably flawed if the foreclosing bank failed to give notice of the foreclosure suit to the surviving heirs. It may be possible to persuade a court to vacate the foreclosure judgment and reinstate ownership of the property in the heirs. Even is successful, the mortgage debt would have to be paid.

David Luther Woodward agrees with this answer

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