There are a couple of fieri facias liens against a piece of property that I own jointly with my stepson. The judgments were against stepson and liens attached to property several years back. The attorney’s office of record has closed permanently (he got into a LOT of trouble with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). The attorney of record (worked in the office) seems no longer to be practicing in the state. Any suggestions on how to get the title unencumbered by these liens. It is possible that if I wait for several years the liens will simply go dormant and then dead. But, if I do not want to wait that long to sell or refinance the property, how would I go about doing it? This is in Georgia. The length of time for a lien to become dormant is 7 years; and to become dead is 3 additional years. Unfortunately for me, before the attorney went out of business, he did renew the liens; so, I would have a wait time of at least 7 years. But, right now I have no idea who (or whether anybody) really has ownership interest in the judgments and related liens.
The liens data, who, what for, how much, etc, should be a mater of public record. Go to your local recorders office and ask assistance in researching them.
If you choose to sell immediately you can probably bond around them. Cost of the bond depends on what the title company finds.
Clearing up Liens on title when attorney disappears
It’s quite common actually to find properties with older liens on them, some of which may have already been paid off, but digging up the paperwork to prove this or to track a lien with no starting point is difficult. I actually clear liens as part of my real estate work and I can tell you it is timely and many seasoned investors will turn away from a property that can be an overwhelming headache because of the lien situation.
William Bronchick has given you you some excellent advice on tracking the lien. I recommend that you go in person to your county’s deed office and pull the mortgage/lien records for the property, there are workers in these offices there to help you if you get stuck. Even if the attorney is who represented the lienholder is out of the picture, you can sometimes go to the title company that handled the original deal and get some satisfaction through their records. If you need further help, give me a shout. I have a 100% success rate on clearing liens, even some that the banks swore were legitimate because, in the end, they were not.