Springfield, MO asked in Estate Planning for Florida

Q: I loaned my mother $43,000 at 7% interest 21 years ago secured by a promissory note.

I loaned my mother $43,000 at 7% interest 21 years ago. It was secured by a promissory note and upon her death I would receive payment. Upon her death in October 2021 I was informed that the house she owned could not be used to satisfy her debt to me as we had planned because of the homestead law. After finding out about the homestead law my other siblings don't want to pay the note from proceeds from the sale of the house and there is only 15K in the probate estate to settle a $160k debt to me. I was wondering if I have any legal options? Also if I do not agree to sell my portion of the home can I be forced to sell the property?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Regardless of what you are being told the $43,000 note from your mother is a very valuable valid debt that should be given to the Judge in the Probate Case.

If there is no Probate case, hire a lawyer to open one yourself. (Anyone can do it, and creditors do it all the time.)

Please also know that the note itself has value and could be sold to someone who could use it to open a Probate case.

Do the math: $43,000 at 7% SIMPLE interest amounts to $63,210 in interest, plus the $43,000 principle is $106,210.

Wendy A. Mara
Wendy A. Mara
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Ormond Beach, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Florida Homestead provisions protect the homestead from creditors except for mortgages, mechanics liens for work done to the homestead, and taxes. Your siblings are not required to pay off the note. If you don't agree to the sale of the homestead, the other owners can force sale of the property through a partition action. The partition action will cost money with attorney's fees and court costs. If the court orders the clerk of court to sell the property, the property will be sold at auction, and the proceeds will be much less than if the property had been sold at private sale.

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