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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Probate > The Cash Gift That Can Come Back To Haunt Your Family Decades Later

The Cash Gift That Can Come Back To Haunt Your Family Decades Later


What is the worst thing that can happen to a family when a recently deceased relative’s estate is going through probate?  Is it a long-lost sibling, the product of a long-ago romantic relationship that Dad never told anyone about?  Such events are rare, even though estate research firms sometimes try to tell people who got their DNA tested out of curiosity that they have a claim to the estates of distant relatives they never met.  Is it finding out that the decedent had much bigger debts than any of the surviving relatives knew about, so that the entire estate goes to debt repayment by the time it settles?  That can happen, but really big debts are difficult to hide, so they probably will not be a total surprise.  A real estate brokerage firm has been offering a cash promotion that requires such a big commitment from the recipient of the cash that the debts can pass onto the next generation.  The scheme is so predatory that Florida and two other states have filed lawsuits against the company.  If you are the personal representative of a recently deceased family member who was not forthcoming about his or her debts, contact a Tampa probate attorney.

The Homeowner Benefit Program and the Chaos It Can Cause During Probate

Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania have filed lawsuits against MV Realty, a real estate company that conducts business in 33 states.  At issue is the Homeowner Benefit Program, where the company gives participating homeowners a cash advance of $1,000, ostensibly with no obligation of repayment.  To receive the money, homeowners must sign an agreement promising to have MV Realty represent them if they sell their homes.  The agreement is valid for 40 years, and to break the agreement, homeowners must pay a penalty equal to six percent of the home’s value, effectively turning a gift into a loan with an interest rate that makes the interest rates of payday loans look tiny in comparison.

If the homeowner dies while the agreement is still in effect, it becomes legally binding upon the personal representative of the estate or the family member who inherits the house as a non-probate asset.  Worst of all, the personal representative or surviving family member has only ten days to come up with the money or to agree to continue to abide by the agreement.  The Homeowner Benefit Program has only been going on for a few years, so one hopes that the lawsuits in Florida and other states will result in courts ordering the company to change the terms of the program.  Meanwhile, creditors taking you by surprise during probate is a real possibility.  A probate lawyer can help you deal with surprising, even outrageous, claims by creditors during probate.

Contact David Toback With Questions About Dealing With Creditor Claims During Probate

A Central Florida probate lawyer can help you if you find out, after the court has opened the estate for probate, that the decedent owed much more money than you realized.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.



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