– from George Q. in Merton, WI

Question Details:

When my grandparents divorced several years ago, the court made a mortgage lien against the property that my grandfather and I owned due to a debt to my grandmother. My grandfather passed away recently making me the sole owner of the property. Am I now liable for my grandfather's lien?

Family Law Attorney Response:

More than likely, you just may be liable. Unfortunately, the lien was a mortgage lien. If it was a judgment lien, then you would own the property free and clear. However, mortgage liens work a bit differently. They apply to the property, not necessarily the individual.

In the case of Wozniak v. Wozniak, 121 Wis. 2d 330, 359 N.W.2d 147 (1984), a similar situation occurred. A grandchild became the sole beneficiary of a jointly owned estate with his grandmother. Upon her death, the supreme court decided that the real estate would be foreclosed upon due to a mortgage lien.

My advice is to speak with a lawyer in order to discuss your options. Things will begin moving quickly, so you should, too.

Lawyer Jeff Hughes from Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.

Managing Partner

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