Q: I am co-trustee of my mother’s estate. I was informed by my mom’s mortgage company of the debt, $4,000.00 and that there is a lien on the condominium. I would like to settle the debt but the lender has the lowest level of “customer no service” and is not interested in settling. My lawyer tried but they won’t even talk to her.

I don’t know what to do get the loan settled. My mom’s estate is not that large and since my brother and I still own the condo, which carries no mortgage, we still pay condo fees, water, electric, and county taxes on. Any advice you can give us would be very helpful.

A: I don’t quite understand the problem. If there is a lien on the property, it will be paid off when you sell the condominium. That will happen seamlessly during the closing. If you are not selling the condo, and you’re not getting the response you want, then you should move up the corporate ladder until you find someone who has the authority to approve and collect the $4,000 owed to the mortgage lender.

Call the toll-free number for the lender and ask for a supervisor. If you don’t get the right kind of help there, then find out where the corporate headquarters is for the lender. Call and ask for the Vice President of Operations or the Chief Operating Officer (COO). You should be able to get some assistance there.

If not, you can turn to your state’s office of banking and finance, which regulates all mortgage lenders. You should be able to file a complaint there as well. If the lender is nationally regulated, there will be a national regulator to whom you can turn as well.

One final thought – what was this lien for? If there is no mortgage on the property, was this lien not discharged when the mortgage was paid off? Or, did your mother have a home equity loan or line of credit that was unpaid? If that’s the case, then it may be a simple matter to go to a branch of this mortgage company and write them a check for $4,000.

If you are expecting the lender to release the lien on the condominium because you don’t want to pay the full amount owed, the lender is under no obligation to accept less than the full amount. If the lender feels or knows that there is money available to pay the debt, the only way you will succeed in paying off the debt is paying the loan off in full.

Let me know how it turns out.