I Don’t Want My Parents to Lose Grandma’s House. – Charlie


“Dear Steve,

Hi i have a question for my parents maybe u can help i not in debt i very respoble with my money even though i only make very little.

My parents are 59 yrs old they have 90,000 worth of credit card debt grandma gifted i guess the land and house she has life use of the home so when she dies my dad gets it but to then they are broke other then disibity which pays regualr bills.

They been right checks on other card to pay new ones but this is costing them a arm and a leg , my question they own a home them self any way they can freeze there debt to grandma dies or bankrucy . Do they have to sell there home get out debt that way what a mess there in they going credit councling soon she says but if u can answer this be great. thank u


Dear Charlie,

If I understand your question correctly, Grandma gave the house to your parents as a gift. Your parents are now the owners of the house but grandma gets to live there for the rest of her life. Or at least that was the intention.

We have two issues here. The first is the situation with caring for grandma and the second is the issue of the $90,000 of credit card debt.

What complicates this issue is that while the house is for grandma to live in, it is owned by your parents and has some value if it was sold. And that money could be used to repay part of the debt owed by your parents.

If grandma had left the house in her name, the debt your parents are suffering with would not be an issue that might cause the home to be lost.

Your parents are in a downward spiral with their debt if they are having to take cash advances or write checks from the credit cards to pay other credit cards and bills.

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The only way to avoid eventual bankruptcy will be for your parents to find someway to make ends meet without using the credit cards and pay a sufficient amount each month to reduce the debt. If the can afford the regular minimum payments, without any past due, they might be able to get a credit counseling group to organize a debt management plan for them. If they are unable to afford that minimum payment then a more drastic approach may be necessary.

I would urge your parents to investigate both credit counseling and bankruptcy before they decide which is the better solution for them. They can call a local bankruptcy attorney and ask for a free bankruptcy consultation.

I’m not going to kid you here, the possibility does exist that your parents could lose grandma’s home and everyone will be put out. This is not a situation to be taken lightly or ignored.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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