Walking away from a house with a home equity loan?
6 attorney answers
The Home Equity loan is still a mortgage, even if it was never referred to as a mortgage, per se...
I'd recommend looking into selling the house, even if there is a foreclosure action pending. If there is any equity in the house, why not sell it and realize a profit (unless I'm missing something)?
Good luck with your case!
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Unlike the other attorneys who have responded, I do not actually see your question. I would like to point out, however, that a Home Equity Loan *is* a mortgage. If you're asking whether she can walk away from the house, the answer is yes. Will she be able to avoid liability? Not unless the house is worth more than all the outstanding debt, including the mortgage. Not paying the mortgage, aside from causing a foreclosure to be commenced, will also result in negative marks on her credit, if she's concerned.
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It's very likely that the home equity loan is secured by a mortgage. No one ever makes a mortgage payment. When we buy a home we pay the note, which is secured by the mortgage. Now it's unlikely that the bank that holds the note for the home equity line would attempt to collect a deficiency judgment on a residential property after a foreclosure. We should be looking at is whether or not you can sell the house and save the equity for your wife's grandmother. I don't know what kind of estate planning she entered into but if she put together a deed to protect the estate from Medicaid and Medicare you need to talk to an estate planning attorney in order to figure out what will happen if the property is sold. If your wife's grandmother has a life estate in the property and she can no longer live there the property generally passes to the owners who are listed in the deed. You need to check and see if the home equity line was secured by a mortgage. If that is the case the home equity line will have to be paid off after the house is sold.
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As there doesn't seem to be a foreclosure pending. I really think you need to talk to an attorney to help your grandmother do some estate planning, maybe Medicare spend down, and other aspects of her estate which can help her live comfortably in an assisted living facility if needed.
If she cant afford the loan payment as others suggested selling the property might be advisable, but walking a way is not something you should do as fines from the city, unpaid taxes and this loan will come after your grandmother estate when she passes eating up anything she might leave behind.
They could also attempt the sue her now which could be very stressful.
I have moved this to the estate planning area as they ought have ideas on how you and your grandmother could move forward more securely.
best of luck
Why not sell the house? Talk to an experienced real estate broker or two and see if any money can be made for your grandmother.
Please note this is to be considered general advice and not legal advice about any particular situation. The answering of any question does not create an attorney client relationship and does not make the answer specific legal advice. I am an attorney admitted to the practice of law in the state of Georgia. Â