Q: About three years ago, I moved from New Jersey and bought a house in Florida with my mother. A little over a year ago, I refinanced and had the mortgage put in my name only. My mother and I are still both on the deed.
My mother has a lot of unpaid bills. I’m wondering whether my mother’s creditors could come after me for any of her unpaid debts when I sell the house. If they could, how would I go about removing my mother from the deed so she has absolutely no ties to the house?
A: Creditors only care about what you own — they don’t care at all about what you owe — after all, you owe them.
Your mother’s creditors will look to her assets to repay the debts she owes and they will find that she is part owner of your house. They will tap that asset to pay her debts by putting a lien against the property. When you sell the property, the lien will have to be satisfied before the closing can occur and the proceeds from the sale will be tapped.
If you want to prevent that from happening in the future, have your mother assign you her financial interest in the property through a Quit Claim Deed. You must make sure the “quit claim deed” is recorded properly with your county register’s office. By recording the deed, you put the world on notice that your mother has transferred to you all of her ownership interest in the property.
For more details, consult with an attorney.