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Who is the owner of that house?

What if your judgment debtor lives in the home of your deceased parent who appeared to be the owner of the home your judgment debtor lives in? What if you can’t find any probate records and the house is still in the parents’ names?

One of many articles of judgment: I am not a lawyer, and this article is my opinion based on my experience, consult a lawyer if you need legal advice.

Of course, you believe that the father left the house to his debtor, however, that is just a hunch. How can you know for sure who owns the house now or in the future?

One way to determine ownership of the property is to obtain the deed at the recorder’s office, then take the debtor to court with a debtor’s test, to admit that he lives there. Maybe there’s a living trust. As long as your debtor pays the taxes, no one will know, unless someone blows things up in your debtor’s face.

A shortcut to finding out whose name is on the house is to use a professional data service. You provide the APN (appraiser lot number) and certain data services or any title company will show the most recent title to the property.

Some other things you can do to find out who owns the home and increase your chances of getting paid:

1) Is there a properly completed judgment or lien statement (with the last 4 digits of the debtor’s SSN or driver’s license) registered in the county where the parents’ home is located? It is important to record a summary, even if the debtor does not own any property, because it will be tied to the debtor’s future interests when title is transferred. If there is already a summary on file, the debtor may not have changed title.

2) Take a copy of the title deed and look to see who owns it. Is the title held in the name of a living trust, or only in the names of the parents, or in the names of more than one person?

3) Did the father live in that house as his main residence, or did he just own the house?

4) Double check, is there an open probate file in the county where the house is located? Even if the house is deeded to a living trust, there is sometimes a probate file for things that were not put into the trust. Did the father also own property elsewhere in another county? There may be a probate file in that county for his principal residence.

5) Living trusts are usually not registered anywhere, so you will need to get a copy to see who the successor trustees are. That person is responsible for managing the trust and disbursing the property as provided in the trust. That person may be responsible for their actions or non-actions.

6) Legal action may be necessary to obtain a court decision on whether your debtor owns the house. Perhaps you could then have the sheriff repossess the house (in California, under CPC 700.015), however you must be fully prepared before this is done. If you do this, it’s best to get an appraisal and preliminary title report before you serve the lien; so as not to delay obtaining your warrant for the sheriff’s auction.

At the court hearing, all links to the property must be listed, along with all other relevant information. This will help the court decide to order the sale, if the parent is deceased and there is documentation showing that the debtor has an interest in the property.

If the house was not transferred to a revocable living trust (if it was, it would be irrevocable on the death of the settler, eg, the father). If the amount of the judgment is large; consider retaining an attorney for a limited scope of representation, to file a petition on your behalf, perhaps for you to manage the parents’ estate.

In California, the probate code, section 8461, subdivision (r), gives the judgment creditor a potential right to administer the parents’ estate, especially if they have been deceased for some time (at least one year, and a death certificate certainly would help). ) and no other eligible person named in section 8461 has come forward to order the assets of the estate, which would presumably include the house.

Of course, if a judgment creditor steps in to manage the estate, someone (probably a family member) will squeal and one of them will step up and manage the estate, which is all you want them to do anyway.

The family will hire a lawyer, obtain a bond (eg, $300,000 bond costs about $1,000 per year), and then do what you want: organize the assets, sell the house (with or without the consent of the current occupant) and distribute the income. Hopefully, the judgment debtor’s portion of the parents’ estate will cover the amount owed to you on the judgment. Probate surety bond protects you from mischief.

It is not good when you hear: “What else do you have, Mr. Creditor, do you have any proof of your allegation?” In court, you should only bring evidence of documents that the parties signed under penalty of perjury. This is because the court may take judicial notice of the existence of a document, but not necessarily of the veracity of the document. Otherwise, the court may decide that your documents are hearsay.

Becoming a trustee of an estate is not trivial, and most people should hire a lawyer. If you end up being the trustee of the parents’ estate (and presumably there wasn’t a revocable living trust that became irrevocable upon the parents’ death), you should get unlimited authority to sell the assets of the estate, including the sale of the home ( due to the Independent Administration of Wealth Law), so you can use the proceeds of the sale to satisfy your sentence.

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