whos responsible?

by Julia
(Yucaipa, Ca)

My father passed away March 6th, 2012 from pancreatic cancer. He never had the chance to write a will or select a power of attorney. My father didn't have much and the only thing in his estate is a mobile home that's worth maybe $3000. My husband, son and I currently live in the mobile home..however it is still in my fathers name. We are in the the process of transferring the title. We keep getting calls and letter from a debt recover and they clearly state that family members are in no way responsible for paying the debts, but then they continue to almost threaten us saying that my husband and I must pay the debt or they will take the mobile home we live in. Can they do this? We feel almost obligated to abide and pay in fear of losing our home. Please help me figure this out before we get suckered into paying or lose our home.

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May 18, 2012
whos responsible?
by: Debt Collection Answers

So sorry for the loss of your father. My condolences.

I am unclear from your question if your Dad was paying on a loan to finance the purchase of the trailer and had fallen behind on that loan and so the collector is calling about that debt or whether the collector is calling about another debt. Regardless of how you answer that question, you are not legally responsible for paying the money your father owed at the time of his death unless you co-signed for a debt. However, it is important for you to know that if the collector is contacting you about a loan for for the purchase of the trailer, then the lender that financed the purchase probably has a lien on the trailer, which means that if the debt is not paid, the trailer can be repossessed. Therefore, if you want to continue living there you would need to pay what is owed and in fact you may not be able to get the title to the trailer transferred into your name without paying off the loan or getting the lender to agree to let you assume the loan.

If this is the case, I strongly recommend that you consult with a consumer law attorney in your area who helps people resolve debt collection problems to find out your best course of action and to gain a clear understanding of your legal rights. Your first appointment should be free.

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