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Obligations of Property Ownership

Question: My mother lives in a home that was owned by her and her late husband. He is the only one on the note. Can she walk away from the home with no ramifications financially?

Answer: Not altogether. If the late husband was the only one on the note, she is not liable to pay it; the lender’s only recourse is to take the property. However, obligations such as property taxes, association dues, and liabilities associated with property ownership continue as long as her name is on the property.

It is necessary to make sure that the lender actually acquires the property, which means that they record a deed to them. People who are foreclosed on or discharge a loan in bankruptcy often think that they have no further responsibility, only to be sued for post-petition or post-foreclosure real estate taxes, association dues, etc.

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