Do I have to go through probate if my father had a house in foreclosure?

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Do I have to go through probate if my father had a house in foreclosure?

My father passed away last week. The only 2 assets he left behind in his name were his work van, which will be worth approximately $1000, and a house that’s been in the foreclosure process for around a year. I want nothing to do with the house, and I’m fairly confident that whatever legal fees I’d incur throughout the legal process would outweigh whatever may be gained – I’m 21, the next of kin, and have no desire to take on a tremendous mortgage or an old vehicle. There is no will. Do I have to go through probate? What happens if I don’t?

Asked on May 16, 2011 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If the house has yet to be foreclosed upon then it remains in your Father's name.  Thus it is an asset of the estate.  You need to notify the bank of his death as the foreclosure proceeding is stayed  - temporarily stopped - until there has been a fiduciary appointed for your Father's estate.  Now, I understand that you want nothing to do with the house.  But if there is a deficiency judgement  - when the house is sold and the mortgage is more than what it was sold for - the estate is liable for the deficiency.  It may be a good idea for you to become appointed and to cut a deal with the Bank to waive the deficiency and to sign over a deed in lieu of foreclosure.  The van is an asset and that money could be the banks after foreclosure.  Get some help in your area.  Good luck.


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