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Judgment lien attached after death of owner

Discussion in 'Liens & Encumbrances' started by ChSing, Nov 7, 2021.

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  1. ChSing

    ChSing Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    California
    A judgment lien attached to my grandma's property 6 yrs ago. My grandma passed away 10 yrs ago though. Her estate was never administered through probate, which is why the property is still in her name. Is the judgment lien still attached to the property if it is transferred to the rightful heirs? Is there a law that states that change of ownership occurs at date of death?
     
  2. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    Some states (including CA) have a transfer on death deed where upon the interest of the owner is transferred to someone else when the owner dies. But absent a TOD deed, probate is needed to transfer the ownership of property whether or not the owner died intestate (no will) or had a will that named the beneficiaries.

    I will say that the lien is still attached to the property since the property is still in your grandma's name.

    You should consult with an estate attorney to see what can be done to remove the lien and get the property in heirs names.
     
  3. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    The lien is not extinguished just because someone dies. If your grandma had a judgment against her (or her estate), the lien will remain until the judgment is satisfied. Consult an attorney, to see what the facts are.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    That was foolish because it will have to go through probate now, before anybody can convey the property from the estate. Someone will have to step up to be appointed representative of the estate by the court.

    As with any estate you first have to pay the debts of the estate before any of the estate's assets can be distributed to heirs.

    If there is no money to pay that judgment, the house will have to be sold by the estate to pay the debts. Any money left over from the sale can be distributed to the heirs.

    Long story short: Nobody gets anything until the judgment is paid.
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Please explain the circumstances of a judgment lien attaching to her home four years after she died.

    Why?

    No.

    Any prospective purchaser, any potential lender for a prospective purchaser, and any title company will recognize the lien as being a valid lien against the property.

    Someone is going to need to retain the services of a probate attorney to do what should have been done a decade ago: administer the estate through probate. Whether the person appointed as personal representative of the estate will be able to avoid the lien is something the probate attorney will have to research. The process will likely cost the estate a bunch of money that could have been avoided had this been done timely and properly.
     

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