Q: My ex-stepfather has filed a lis pendens against my deceased mother’s home. He has claim to 45 percent of the equity of the property. We have a buyer for the home and have agreed to pay him when the house closes.

He would get his check directly from the title company that is handling the transaction.

We just found out about the lis pendens through the escrow settlement company.

Can this prevent the sale of the home? My ex-stepfather wants us to put our money from the house in a court fund. I worry we will pay more costs and won’t see our money for a few years.

A: Unless you can work something out, your ex-stepfather’s actions may halt the sale of your home.

A lis pendens is a document that is recorded against the title to the home. That document gives notice to the world that the person that recorded the document has filed a lawsuit and claims an interest in the property.

If you are working with a real estate attorney for the sale of the home, you might have that attorney prepare a summary of the expenses and costs of the sale of the home and what the expected proceeds from the sale of the home will be.

With that information, your attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement of the legal action with your ex-stepfather. If he claims a 45 percent interest in the equity of the home and all of the charges are legitimate, he should be able to determine rather easily whether the amount set forth by your attorney as his share of the proceeds from the home are correct or not.

If he agrees on the amount he is owed, he should be willing to dismiss the court action upon payment of the amount owed and he should be willing to have a release of the lis pendens ready to deliver to the settlement agent or title company upon receipt of the funds.

The settlement agent may want to know that the parties are in agreement and have drafted a settlement agreement with the court to allow the sale to proceed. Some settlement agents may require more documentation while others will require less. Some may want the settlement agreement filed with the court and have the release of the lis pendens in hand before allowing the sale to proceed.

Your real estate attorney and your settlement agent should be able to give you the specifics of what you will need to close the transaction.

Learn more about how to deal with court cases preventing the sale of your home