Atlanta, GA asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Tennessee

Q: My grandmother passed away with a $37,000 mortgage balance on her home. No written will. I am her oldest grandchild and

I moved in a few months prior to her death to help with her care as well as her oldest sons care who has dementia. She verbally willed me to keep the house and continue caring for my uncle whom is her oldest child. The verbal was received by my mother whom is the youngest. She passed away 7/2019. I have abided by her wishes and continued to pay the mortgage and live here with my uncle and care for him. Now, he needs placement in a retirement home due to his decline of mental state. I have 2 uncles living in Wyoming-one is mentally unstable with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and the other is a convicted child molester on probation. I also have 1 aunt in Florida. I want to be able to sell the home once my uncle is placed because it is so far from my other family members and I am here alone. The mortgage company was never notified of her death that I am aware of. I just picked up making the mortgage payments when she died. Can I sell the house???

1 Lawyer Answer
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: You are not ready to sell anything, and if the Note and Deed of Trust is not serviced, the property will be foreclosed upon. Hire a competent attorney to determine heirship, then find a knowledgeable affiant to swear out an Affidavit of Heirship. That will be your source of title. Then the titled heirs can convey the home, and you will want it in the contract of sale to be repaid your mortgage payments if the others agree. Get all heirs to sign both the listing contract and the contract of sale. Of course all will have to sign the deed also. If a buyer complains about a lack of probate, sell to someone else.

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