Q: Can my aunt be sued for living in a house that is now foreclosed?
The title owner of the house passed - her sister (who was NOT put on the title) lived there for 10+ yrs. is now staying with me. She got served yesterday at my apartment. She just walked away from the house that is now foreclosed. She hasn’t a job and is collecting SS & food stamps. What do we do? Please help!
A: The sister needs to consult with an attorney rather than you providing her legal advice you obtained online and could be misunderstood. There are options available, especially if the house has equity. The sister should consult with an attorney experienced in probate and mortgage foreclosure defense. The Orange County Bar Association has a referral service for a small fee. While they also provide pro bono (free) services, the availability to consult with an attorney immediately is not highly probable and time is of the essence.
Generally, unless someone signs the note obligating them to pay the debt, they are not responsible. Generally, they will be sued either in name, as an "unknown" party, or as a heir to the estate so the bank can foreclose on anyone with any type of interest in the property and get clear title. I am guessing she was probably named since the bank could track her down even after moving out of the property.
Anyone being served has 20 days to respond to the complaint of foreclosure. The title is still in the name of the deceased until the property is sold at auction and someone else is issued a title.
Terrence H Thorgaard agrees with this answer
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A: In a foreclosure lawsuit, everyone who may claim an interest in the property is normally sued, including persons such as your aunt who are or were merely in possession of the property. If she does nothing, the property will be sold and possession will go to the person or entity that buys it. Your aunt shouldn't worry about a money judgment against her; that's not going to happen.
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