Sarah’s (name changed to preserve confidentiality) mother passed away leaving her and her nieces and nephews (children of Sarah’s deceased sibling) the generous gift of a home. Thankfully, Sarah’s mother created a trust naming Sarah as the Successor Trustee, so there was no need for probate.
Unfortunately, the home had a reverse mortgage with a substantial balance owed. Additionally, the trust provided that the trust assets (which consisted only of the home), were to be divided equally between Sarah on one hand, and her nieces and nephews on the other hand.
Sarah’s nieces and nephews legitimately wanted to receive their inheritance in a timely manner, but they could not see a way to inherit without selling the property – this would pay off the mortgage and create cash proceeds that could be split. As time went on, communication broke down between Sarah and her nieces and nephews; they considered legal action to remove Sarah as Trustee and force the sale of the home.
This created tremendous stress for Sarah: she had lived in the home for decades and relied completely on Social Security for her income. If the home was sold, she would have to find a new place to live and was unsure whether she could even qualify for new housing. Between the prospect of losing her home and being in a lawsuit with her family, she was overwhelmed to the point of inaction.
This was certainly not the outcome her mother intended when she generously left her home to her daughter and grandchildren.
Our first step was to lower the temperature. Dave immediately spoke with the nieces and nephews and communicated a game plan: we would help Sarah achieve a buyout of their interest in the property so that they could receive their inheritance in cash. Dave explained that Sarah considered the property her home and thankfully, they had no objection to her continuing to live there. Once they understood the situation, they returned to acting like family members instead of adversaries.
Next, we executed the game plan. One of our trusted partners, MortgageTree Lending, got to work on securing financing for the buyout. Despite our client’s lack of income, MortgageTree was able to craft a solution that paid off the reverse mortgage, created proceeds for the beneficiaries, and allowed our client to retain the home for as long as she wanted.
Sarah was thrilled and relieved, and the nieces and nephews were grateful to have been treated respectfully and fairly throughout the process. Through communication, transparency, and a healthy dose of creativity, we achieved an outcome previously thought impossible. And that’s the SLG way.