PDA

View Full Version : State of My Mom's Estate


Ghel
12-21-2012, 08:22 PM
I'm not sure where to start, but I need to, um, vent. My mom died in October. I've been talking about her hoarding and the "finds" we've discovered while cleaning out her house in this thread. (http://customerssuck.com/board/showthread.php?t=94550)

Mom had a house, a truck, and an atv, all of which have loans against them. She had a couple small credit cards. I thought that was it for debt (bad enough).

She had two life insurance policies, one that (thankfully) has me and my brother listed as beneficiaries and one that still has her late husband listed as beneficiary. She had a checking and savings totaling about $7000 with the credit union (the same place she had the atv loan), but that was it for deposit accounts. She also had a checking account that was the life insurance from when her husband died in March.

I was/am on the checking account at the CU, but that's moot now. They put a freeze on the account as soon as I told them she'd died, so I couldn't use the accounts to pay her past due utility bills. When I didn't pay off the atv loan within a month after she died, the CU took the money out of the checking account to pay down the atv loan, leaving another $1800 owing on the loan. I'm disappointed that they didn't call me before doing that, but they do have right of setoff per the loan documents.

The mortgage and truck loan, as well as the insurance on both, are with a national bank featuring a stagecoach in their logo. They've been just awful to deal with. Apparently, both the loans were past due the day Mom died. I don't know why - the payments were set up on automatic payment and she had enough money in the checking account. Now it's almost 2 months since she died and Stagecoach is calling and leaving a message on her answering machine every day. It doesn't matter that I tell them that she's dead. They won't take the account off the autodialer as long as it's past due, and the person who gets connected to us doesn't have a chance to look at the account notes before they get connected.

It doesn't help that Stagecoach Mortgage doesn't talk to Stagecoach Auto Loans doesn't talk to Stagecoach Insurance. So even if I do manage to get through to one of them, I have to call the others, too, and have the same conversation.

More to come.

Andara Bledin
12-21-2012, 09:40 PM
I am so sorry you have to deal with Stagecoach on her loans. They currently hold my home loan, and I can't wait until my situation is stable enough that I can get away from them. >_<

Their calling system is annoying as hell, but you can legally tell them to never contact you via phone again, and they can't do anything about that. As they have the mailing address for the property, you can force them to do all business through the mail.

They might try to claim that you can't do that, but you absolutely can. I've actually considered doing that for myself (they must waste millions with redundant phone calls) because the second you're past due they start calling, and they don't stop until you've paid up to date.

Good luck dealing with them. And good luck getting away from having to deal with them in the future.

^-.-^

MoonCat
12-21-2012, 11:57 PM
I would also try to find out why the payments were past due if she had automatic withdrawals for those payments. That might be the bank's fault, but it might also be the stagecoach's fault.

depechemodefan
12-22-2012, 12:17 AM
I hope Stagecoach issues will resolve themselves. But are they calling your house now? It sounds like they can't get one hand to know what the other hand is doing so seems soon that they start calling you instead of still calling your deceased mother.

My mom was getting a small pension from my dad's former work. She bought insurance through the pension office and I didn't know that not only mom's insurance paid out, but the pension office paid me the same amount. So I got 2x the insurance.

For 2011 I had to take care of my mom's income tax (don't forget to do that for this year), and I always declared my mom as my dependent. It wasn't until 2012 that i got checks from the insurance. I'll have to see how that will turn out, though the free tax service I used last year said I probably don't need to pay taxes on the insurance money I got (I live in Texas).

When my dad died, we didn't think about doing his taxes. I bet since the IRS didn't go after my mom's ass for money, they proabably owed us money. Though you have a 5 year period to declare.

Draper Mel
12-22-2012, 03:57 AM
Oy, that sounds miserable! I'm so glad my left brained sister is dealing with that stuff for my parents. I hope you can get it sorted out. All I know is that parents' debts do not transfer to their children. The specifics on that I'm fuzzy on.

fma_fanatic
12-22-2012, 04:10 AM
Best way to deal with the stage coach people is to call the 800 number and request to speak with the President/CEO. This will get you to the executive offices where you can get the problems rectified. I had to do this twice. Once when my father died and my mother wanted his name off the account. The branch basically refused to recognize she had survivorship rights on a joint account and wanted to close the account because my father had died. After a call to them I was able to get it taken car of. It helped that I had a POA for the finances for both parents.

The second time was when they would not close that same checking account after my mother died. Another call and it was taken care of. YMMV, but I did have positive results.

Ghel
12-22-2012, 08:14 PM
Stagecoach has been really reluctant to deal with me because I haven't gotten the documents from the court stating I'm the Personal Representative of the estate yet. Plus my stepdad's name is still on the bills, and my mom's name isn't. He died in March, so that adds another layer of crap to wade through.

Since I can't show that I have authority to handle my mom's estate (yet), Stagecoach won't listen to me when I say to stop calling. They're only calling my mom's number. They don't have mine. The good news, if you can call it that, is that I know they can't come after me, personally, for any of my mom's debts. I was hoping that there would be some money left when all is said and done, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen now.

The CU where she had her checking isn't wanting to deal with me, either, even though I was on the checking account. They were nice enough to help me out with the atv loan, but they could still only give me minimal information because of privacy laws.

Ah, yes, the atv. :rant: After my stepdad died, Mom called up the place where they bought the atv and asked them to sell it for her. She couldn't use it, and she didn't want to have to keep making the payments on it. So they came and picked up the atv and the trailer. When I found this out, after she died, I attempted to contact the place. There was never anybody there when I called, and nobody returned my messages. After about 2 weeks of this, I threatened to sic my lawyer on the guy. Then he left me a message on my home phone (not work, where I specifically asked him to call during the day) saying that he had a buyer for the atv, but that Kawasaki was doing a recall, which should be done within a few days. So I call him back to say that I needed to speak to him, because I needed to make sure that the amount was enough to pay off the loan and I needed to tell him where to send the check. Again, no response.

I haven't heard a thing from this guy since, despite over a dozen phone calls left on his voicemail. We drove up there last Saturday (about an hour drive). The hours listed on the sign said he was open until noon. A sign on the door said he was out for a delivery. We waited until noon. He never showed.

I talked to my lawyer, and he recognized the name. He said that the guy was having financial difficulties, and if he sold the atv and it went to bills, we might as well write it off. There would be no use even suing the guy to get the money he owes the estate.

And that will be moot now, anyway. I'll explain why in my next post.

Andara Bledin
12-22-2012, 11:31 PM
If he took the ATV to sell it and there's no paperwork saying he had permission to do so, couldn't you sic theft charges on him, personally? I know I'd be strongly tempted to do just that, if I were in such a situation.

^-.-^

Seraph
12-23-2012, 12:08 AM
Dang, Ghel. Hearing about Stagecoach brings back bad memories of when they screwed over my parents. I almost halfway want to point my mother to you because, darned if they don't STILL cringe over the mention of her name. I remember one incident where they put her on speakerphone in a meeting of some board people, to try and intimidate her...and within minutes she ended up making them regret that. Big time.

And please, do post what happened with ATV guy. That's ridiculous. I can't believe he'd do that to you. :<

BookstoreEscapee
12-23-2012, 12:44 AM
I hope things get sorted out soon. My dad had the same set up with my grandmother; he was on her bank account and he actually moved most (not all) of the money out before he reported her death to them, becuase he knew the accout would be frozen until they sorted out the estate. It wasn't exactly a life-changing amount of money and I don't think she had any debts but he wanted to reduce the hassle as much as possible.

Ghel
12-24-2012, 01:58 PM
I very much doubt there was any paperwork between Mom and the atv guy. But it sounds like there was a verbal agreement. Mom didn't tell me that, but her neighbor who helped her out with stuff and her friend both told me that Mom had asked the guy to sell it for her.

As I said in my last post, that's moot now. Even if we get the atv back, or the money from the sale, that money will have to go into the estate. And now it turns out the estate owes more than its assets.

Last week, both the lawyer and I received notices from the county's medical assistance that they were making a claim against Mom's estate to the tune of $110,000. Yes, that's the right number of zeros. The lawyer's copy included a breakdown of where the county came up with that number. He said he'll send me a copy when he gets back from vacation, after the new year.

I didn't know Mom was on medical assistance. I thought she had insurance through her husband's work or something. And even if I had known that, I didn't know that medical assistance could make a claim against the estate to get back the money they spent on her bills. The lawyer said he normally doesn't see amounts this big unless the person was in a nursing home, which she wasn't.

I started to freak out a little bit when I first got the notice, but after talking to the lawyer about it, I feel better.

We went over the order things get paid again. It's (1) funeral bills, (2) administration costs, which is lawyers fees and my fees, then (3) unsecured debts. I think secured debts get paid with (1) also, but I'm not sure. I asked the lawyer, if we turn the truck over to Stagecoach Auto Loans, will any deficiency be paid with (3) unsecured debts? Yes. Cool. Then if we don't get the truck sold within a few weeks, I'll just turn it over to the lender, they can sell it at auction and write off any remaining balance.

So, basically, what I'm looking at is hoping to get enough between the sale of the house and the life insurance to pay the funeral bill, the attorney bill, and repay the money I've put into the house to make it salable, the utility bills I've paid, and money spent trying to get the truck sold, and then write off everything else.

The only money we'll be able to keep will be from the sale of personal items - things that aren't part of the estate, such as the mobility scooters and the freezer.

Ghel
02-21-2013, 03:55 PM
So more dealings with Stagecoach Mortgage and my mom's estate.

I finally got the document naming me personal representative of my mom's estate around the end of January. I faxed it to the fax numbers provided by Stagecoach. Then I waited. After 2 days, I called them. I was told it would take 72 hours to process. So I waited another 2 days and called again. This time, I was told it would take 15 business days to process. :eek: :confused: WTF? Do they really have such a huge load of deceased customers that it takes 15 business days to process death certificates and personal representative docs?

But I waited and called again after 15 business days. I was told that it STILL hadn't been added to the loan file. But the woman I talked to was very nice and said she would send an "escalated email" and it should be added to the account within 2 days.

So I waited again. On the second day, I received a letter in the mail, forwarded from my mom's address, addressed to "<stepdad's name>, deceased". :mad: The letter said they wanted either a copy of the document naming a personal representative for stepdad's estate, or if there wasn't an estate they wanted a court document stating that there wasn't an estate. :confused:

So I sent them another fax (to a third fax number listed in the letter). I said how disappointed I was with how Stagecoach was handling the account. I explained that there was no estate for my stepdad. When he died almost a year ago, everything went into my mom's name. Now that she's died, I'm the personal representative of her estate.

I also said that if they insist on having a court document explaining that there is no estate for my stepdad, they will have to wait at least another two months. I'm trying to act in good faith to work with Stagecoach to get the house sold, pay off the loan, and avoid foreclosure. But if they insist on having court documents, they give me no incentive to work with them.

As I mentioned upthread, the estate has more debts than assets, so even if we sell the house for more than the amount of the loan, my brother and I won't get any of the excess money. It will all go to paying off Mom's debts. The only reason I've been trying to get the house ready to sell is because it's the right thing to do. This has been mentally and physically exhausting. If I don't get this crap with the mortgage straightened out soon, I'm ready to tell them to just foreclose and let it be done.

I understand that they couldn't talk to me before because of privacy laws. I understand that. But now they have all the documentation to show that I'm authorized to at least talk to someone about the account, and they still won't talk to me. And it doesn't help that when I call, I have to enter the account number and the last 4 digits of my stepdad's SSN before I can even be connected to a person. I keep having to dig out his death certificate to find his SSN. :mad:

RootedPhoenix
02-21-2013, 06:25 PM
What absolute crap. :mad: *hugs*

Sapphire Silk
02-21-2013, 10:56 PM
Oy, that sounds miserable! I'm so glad my left brained sister is dealing with that stuff for my parents. I hope you can get it sorted out. All I know is that parents' debts do not transfer to their children. The specifics on that I'm fuzzy on.

Some creditors will try and trick kids into paying their parents debts; it works fairly often.

Ghel, I wouldn't put any effort into the house at all. Why fuss with making the house salable when you won't get enough out of it to pay off the debt anyway? Walk away; don't throw good money after bad. Given that Stagecoach is being so difficult, they can clean the place up.

In the meantime, foreclosure takes so long to go through that you needn't be in a hurry to get Mom's stuff taken care of. I doubt you'll get much for it. Brother and I sold 90% of what our Mom owned at an estate sale last June, and only made a little over a grand . . . and she had nice things in good condition. People expect pennies on the dollar at estate sales; unless it is genuinely an antique or a specialty item that commands high prices (like guns) you are not likely to get much if anything for most of what your mom owns.

Keep your mom's money in a bank account in a different bank than either Stagecoach or CU so those vultures can't just help themselves to it. Keep it there until you get paperwork that the foreclosure is final. At that point you'll probably have to give what's left to the bank. But when foreclosures happen, the remaining debt is usually forgiven so you might get to keep something. Your lawyer can tell you.

Watch out for a zombie foreclosure; people who've been foreclosed on are finding debt collectors sent after them because the foreclosure was delayed on purpose by the bank to avoid paying property taxes. Make sure your name is not on the deed, or you will be responsible for those taxes.

Ghel
02-22-2013, 01:29 PM
Nope, my name isn't on the deed; it's just in my mom's and stepdad's names.

I've been working with an attorney - I have to, because in Minnesota, if the assets are over a certain dollar level, the estate has to go through probate, whether there's a will or not. The attorney has been really good about adivising me what to do with different things. I'm going to call Stagecoach today, then our attorney. If Stagecoach still refuses to talk to me, I think I am going to let them foreclose.

Pretty much everything is out of the house now. I just need to take some stuff over to goodwill and go through the garage.

I have an estate account set up at the bank where I work. There's not much money in it. I deposited checks that were made out to my mom that I either found in the house or arrived in the mail after she died. After paying the utilities for a couple months, that's all gone. I'm not sure if the life insurance will be paid to the estate or to my brother and me individually, but that might have to go into the estate account.


I just realized I hadn't posted an update about the truck. We had been trying to sell it, without getting a single offer. I hadn't called Stagecoach Auto because there wasn't an update. They hadn't called me, either, despite having my home, work, and cell numbers. One day, about a month ago now, out of the blue two men show up at my back door on a Sunday. They were from a towing comany there to repossess the truck. I told them I was disappointed with how Stagecoach had handled it, but whatever. I told them where the truck was. Just go get it, I said. They asked for the keys. I said the sales office where the truck was on display had them, and they're closed on Sunday. So they left a note under the door of the sales office and took the truck. I had to go the next day and settle with the sales office - a daily amount for showing the truck on their lot.

Now Stagecoach Auto will sell the truck at auction, getting much less than it's worth, and not enough to pay off the loan. Any deficiency will be charged against the estate, as part of that unsecured debt that gets paid last.

Ghel
02-22-2013, 03:25 PM
I just called Stagecoach mortgage to make sure they got my fax from yesterday. Apparently, they do have me listed as being authorized to get information on the account, but they haven't processed my fax yet. I was told it takes 24-48 hours to process faxes, since they get "thousands" a day.

When I expressed my frustration at how long every step in this process takes, the woman said, "I'm sorry you feel that way." :mad: The classic not-pology. I called her out on it, too. "You're apologizing for my feelings, not that it's taking so long. Nice."

She had to ask me for at least half a dozen different things before she would talk to me: my stepdad's full name, my mom's full name, the property address, the phone number, my stepdad's social security number, the loan number... The phone number on the account was not a phone number Mom had ever had. So I gave her my home phone number, which I had included on both the faxes I'd sent them. She said they couldn't update the phone number on an account by fax, it has to be done over the phone. :confused:

And she had to repeat the disclaimer that was already given out by the automated system. I said, "I hope someone is listening to this call, so they know how bad your processes are."

CrazedClerkthe2nd
02-22-2013, 06:06 PM
I'm not sure where to start, but I need to, um, vent. My mom died in October. I've been talking about her hoarding and the "finds" we've discovered while cleaning out her house in this thread. (http://customerssuck.com/board/showthread.php?t=94550)

Mom had a house, a truck, and an atv, all of which have loans against them. She had a couple small credit cards. I thought that was it for debt (bad enough).

She had two life insurance policies, one that (thankfully) has me and my brother listed as beneficiaries and one that still has her late husband listed as beneficiary. She had a checking and savings totaling about $7000 with the credit union (the same place she had the atv loan), but that was it for deposit accounts. She also had a checking account that was the life insurance from when her husband died in March.

I was/am on the checking account at the CU, but that's moot now. They put a freeze on the account as soon as I told them she'd died, so I couldn't use the accounts to pay her past due utility bills. When I didn't pay off the atv loan within a month after she died, the CU took the money out of the checking account to pay down the atv loan, leaving another $1800 owing on the loan. I'm disappointed that they didn't call me before doing that, but they do have right of setoff per the loan documents.

The mortgage and truck loan, as well as the insurance on both, are with a national bank featuring a stagecoach in their logo. They've been just awful to deal with. Apparently, both the loans were past due the day Mom died. I don't know why - the payments were set up on automatic payment and she had enough money in the checking account. Now it's almost 2 months since she died and Stagecoach is calling and leaving a message on her answering machine every day. It doesn't matter that I tell them that she's dead. They won't take the account off the autodialer as long as it's past due, and the person who gets connected to us doesn't have a chance to look at the account notes before they get connected.

It doesn't help that Stagecoach Mortgage doesn't talk to Stagecoach Auto Loans doesn't talk to Stagecoach Insurance. So even if I do manage to get through to one of them, I have to call the others, too, and have the same conversation.

More to come.

One thing that might help is what's referred to as an executive email carpet bomb. Basically you go to stagecoach.com and go to the corporate section, there you should be able to find names of the senior executives.

So if the Company CEO is John Smith, send an email to johnsmith@stagecoach.com or john.smith@stagecoach.com. Send CCs to any other executive you see on the list you think might be able to help you.

Last year I was getting a runaround from my mortgage company (NOT stagecoach) and after six phone calls had failed to resolve the problem I tried the EECB technique. Within four days we were contacted by a VERY nice and professional executive secretary who got everything taken care of for us.

I'm not saying this WILL work, but it's worked for many people in the past. It only takes a few minutes to do so it might be worth a shot in your case.

Sapphire Silk
02-22-2013, 09:40 PM
I'm not sure if the life insurance will be paid to the estate or to my brother and me individually, but that might have to go into the estate account.

Good news for you: life insurance pays to the beneficiary, not the estate. That money is YOURS, and the bank can't touch it. Don't give it up.

When my dad died, he had a number of insurance polices. Most were made out to Mom as beneficiary. One, for about 5K, still had my grandparents as beneficiary (Grandpa had died 15 years prior to this). I contacted the insurance company, got a claim form sent to my aunt (who was Grandma's caretaker), and sent Grandma (via my aunt) the policy so she could make the claim.

A year later, the insurance company calls me since my aunt never filed the claim. I asked what would happen if Grandma died without filing it. They told me my aunt had an obligation to file the claim (as a good caretaker), but that if she didn't the money would go to Grandma's estate, and not to my Mother because Grandma was the beneficiary.

I just realized I hadn't posted an update about the truck.

Now Stagecoach Auto will sell the truck at auction, getting much less than it's worth, and not enough to pay off the loan. Any deficiency will be charged against the estate, as part of that unsecured debt that gets paid last.

How stupid. Guess they were afraid you'd "disappear" it. But that's on them. It's their loss . . . well I guess it's yours since you put money out to try and sell it. That sucks.

Ghel
02-23-2013, 03:30 AM
Good news for you: life insurance pays to the beneficiary, not the estate.
Except there's no living beneficiary listed on the life insurance. Mom didn't update it after her husband died. So I'm not sure how it's going to work. The paperwork requested the names of any heirs, so I filled in my brother's and my information. Hopefully, it will come to us directly. But we'll have to see.

How stupid. Guess they were afraid you'd "disappear" it. But that's on them. It's their loss . . . well I guess it's yours since you put money out to try and sell it. That sucks.
Yeah. Their procedures leave much to be desired. When I got home today, I had a voicemail from the insurance company covering the truck. It said that Statecoach Auto had filed a claim on the insurance over the truck. :confused: They were closed for the evening/weekend when I tried to call back, so I'll have to call them on Monday. Probably all I'll be able to tell them is "I don't know." I don't know the history of the truck, whether it was in any accidents, or anything. All I know is that it was in working condition when we put it up for sale.

I wonder if it has something to do with that big dent (well, really more of a gash - it goes about halfway down the side of the truck). I don't know how it happened or whether they ever filed a claim regarding it, so I still won't be any help. I guess it doesn't really matter. I'll answer whatever questions the insurance has. I know they can't come after me for whatever to do with the truck, so I'm not really worried about it.

Ghel
03-26-2013, 01:50 PM
It's a mixed bag right now. I just found out last week that one of Mom's credit cards was secured by her house. So that's another $6000 we'll have to pay when we sell the house.

Stagecoach Home Mortgage called Saturday morning (woke me up, damn them) to offer me "options" to avoid foreclosure. Most of the options required me to assume the loan, which I'm not about to do. I don't want any of my mom's debts showing up on my credit report. (duh) But one of the options sounded like it might work. The caller said they might be able to offer me up to $3000 to do a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Basically, I sign over the house to the mortgage company, and I don't have to worry about the mortgage. I asked what the qualifications are. She didn't know, and the department that handles that was closed for the weekend. :rolleyes:

So I called the number she gave me on Monday. Go through verification. It was the wrong department. They give me the number for the foreclosure department, and tried to transfer me. I got disconnected. I called the number, go through the verification process again, and it's still not the right department. The guy says he'll put me on hold and dial up the right department, and when I come back he'll still be there. So I wait on hold for about 10 minutes. When the phone picks up again, it's a very snippy woman asking for my full name. I tell her. Then she asks what company I'm calling from. WTF? I tell her I'm not calling from a company, I'm the personal representative of the estate. And where's Derrick? He's not there, so I have to go through the verification process a third time. I finally get a chance to explain why I called. What does the estate have to do to qualify for the $3000 incentive for the deed in lieu?

On hold again. Only for a minute this time. That $3000? It's only for reimbursement of moving expenses, so it doesn't apply to an estate account. Well, thanks for nothing. :rant:

But it's not all bad. Both life insurance companies sent checks directly to my brother and me, instead of to the estate. So that's money we can keep, free and clear. I'm pretty sure the one insurance paid the funeral bill, too. I need to call the funeral home today to make sure. But that's one less thing I need to worry about.

I also had a VM from the realtor saying he has an offer on the house. I'm going to call him in a bit and find out the details. If it's enough to pay off the mortgages, pay the realtor's commission, and cover the attorney's fees, I'll be happy. Any extra will be icing. I already know I'm not getting anything out of the sale of the house, as I mentioned upthread, but it would be nice to get back the money I spent on utilities and getting the house ready to sell. :D

taxguykarl
03-26-2013, 04:33 PM
Both life insurance companies sent checks directly to my brother and me, instead of to the estate. So that's money we can keep, free and clear.Even better than that--it's tax-expempt (Pubilcation 525 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p525.pdf), page 21.;) I hope the sale goes well enough to cover your expenses.

Ghel
03-26-2013, 07:19 PM
Thanks, Karl! That's good to know.

I talked to the realtor. The offer was $30,000. :( That's not even enough to pay off the loans, much less the realtor's commission. He's supposed to be calling me back with a suggestion of what to counter offer.

The county real estate tax value is $42,000. We should be able to get at least that, even with the slightly run down condition of the house.

Sapphire Silk
03-28-2013, 02:04 AM
It's a mixed bag right now. I just found out last week that one of Mom's credit cards was secured by her house. So that's another $6000 we'll have to pay when we sell the house.

I already know I'm not getting anything out of the sale of the house, as I mentioned upthread, but it would be nice to get back the money I spent on utilities and getting the house ready to sell. :D

If you end up doing a short sale where you get less than the mortgage amount, then that creditor will have to fight it out with the Stagecoach for their money, NOT you. You are in no way responsible for that debt, so don't let them tell you otherwise!

But yeah, if there's debt secured on the house you'll have to pay it before you can take any profit on the house. Honestly, I would not have put any money into the house at all. I would have cleaned out Mom's stuff and just let the bank take it in foreclosure. It will not affect your credit, so it's not your problem.

Thanks, Karl! That's good to know.

I talked to the realtor. The offer was $30,000. :( That's not even enough to pay off the loans, much less the realtor's commission. He's supposed to be calling me back with a suggestion of what to counter offer.

The county real estate tax value is $42,000. We should be able to get at least that, even with the slightly run down condition of the house.

Make sure you sell the house "as is," to prevent a future buyer from coming after you when problems with the house crop up (and they will). Negotiate with the buyer; he doesn't expect you to take the offer. I'd counter at $45K and settle for the 42K if that's what you need.

Ghel
03-28-2013, 01:44 PM
If you end up doing a short sale where you get less than the mortgage amount, then that creditor will have to fight it out with the Stagecoach for their money, NOT you. You are in no way responsible for that debt, so don't let them tell you otherwise!
Right. I'm not going to do a short sale. I'm either going to get enough in the sale of the house to pay off the mortgages, or I'm going to let Stagecoach foreclose. And I'm not going to do anything that would make this show up on my credit.

But yeah, if there's debt secured on the house you'll have to pay it before you can take any profit on the house. Honestly, I would not have put any money into the house at all. I would have cleaned out Mom's stuff and just let the bank take it in foreclosure. It will not affect your credit, so it's not your problem.
What I knew about my mom's debts has changed a lot since she died. I was hoping to get some money out of selling the house, but now all I can hope for is to get paid back for the money I've already put in, before I knew about the huge debt she owed. I haven't paid the utilities for the past two months, but I may need to do that soon.

Make sure you sell the house "as is," to prevent a future buyer from coming after you when problems with the house crop up (and they will). Negotiate with the buyer; he doesn't expect you to take the offer. I'd counter at $45K and settle for the 42K if that's what you need.
The realtor suggested we counter at $47,500, to get a feel for what the potential buyer is willing to give, so that's what we did. <crosses fingers>