Can I get a loan against my inheritance?
October 10, 2011 4:37 PM   Subscribe

My father died in February and I have an inheritance coming, probably around the end of the year, but at this moment that isn't soon enough to keep the wolves from the door. It seems silly that I know I have this mid-five-figures amount coming, and may become homeless before I get it. Does anyone have any ideas about how I can get some breathing room? For instance, is it possible to get a short-term loan using the inheritance as collateral? Any other creative ideas?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is filing for bankruptcy before receiving the inheritance a reasonable option given your goals? I know I wouldn't want the "wolves" getting what my parent had given me, but that might not jive with you.

Barring that, most creditors would rather get paid later than not at all, and are often open to discussion if you can show some evidence that the money is on it's way. Do you have anything like that?
posted by TheNewWazoo at 4:49 PM on October 10, 2011

I know there are services that offer the loans you mention, but they seem pretty disreputable and man, they're going to take quite a bit of what you've got coming.

Do you have any friends or family that can help you out for a couple of months? Obviously you'd be better off borrowing from/staying with them than cutting a deal with a loan shark.
posted by Fister Roboto at 4:56 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

One of my credit cards sends me these check-like things that are 12 months at 0%. The only 'fee' is a 2% transaction charge. It's Capitol One card.

If you have a credit card, maybe they'd do something like that for you?
posted by bricksNmortar at 5:33 PM on October 10, 2011

Are credit cards an option? Of course, it's a terrible idea to live off credit cards, but it's not the worst short-term solution if you know you can pay it off by the end of the year.
posted by looli at 5:33 PM on October 10, 2011

Do you have a nominal amount of cash (like, about $50)? Do you have a non-terrible credit rating? Then I wager you will be able to walk into a credit union, become a member by depositing your $50 (sometimes quite a bit less) and walk out with a credit line or outright loan with or without collateral, that would be enough to tide you over until the inheritance check arrives.

I have been able to get "signature loans" from my various credit unions, with a minimum of hassle, for such occasions as these, my entire life. They tend to be less hassle than working with banks, and far less aggressive with fees and penalties.

Check this site out for locations near you and eligibility requirements:
National Credit Union Administration
posted by BigLankyBastard at 5:34 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

hal_c_on: especially if there's more than one heir, and that one heir is NOT the executor, it'll take more time to settle an estate. For instance, if the estate is a house, and there's two or three heirs who each get a portion of it's value, the house probably needs to be sold before the proceeds can be distributed.

Alternatively, if the executor is a lazy airhead (like my own oldest sister, executor of our parents' extate), it could be simple human screwups delaying things.
posted by easily confused at 5:36 PM on October 10, 2011

When I was dealing with my grandmother's estate, I ended up cutting a few much smaller checks to a couple of people a month or two before full dispersal (she had been paying someone's mortgage and another's tuition before she passed, while they were unemployed), then backing that money out of their portion when things were more settled. I would contact the person holding the purse strings and ask for an advance, with the understanding that you would be receiving less then the others at a later date.
posted by blackkar at 5:46 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Keep in mind that even if you cannot pay rent, eviction is not an instant process. It's also a pain for the landlord. Since he can't evict you until you've missed a few months rent anyway (I think), he'd probably be willing to work something out. It can't hurt to sit down with him and ask, especially if you can prove the money is on the way by year-end.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:48 PM on October 10, 2011

Any church membership, or friends who are church members, or just humanitarian or compassionate acquaintances? Even if they can't just hand you cash, they might be able to put you in contact with someone who can give you work, within or not within your field. Of course, I don't know if you've burned any bridges. This is similar to what others suggested about family and friends, I just wanted you to think about those *rare* souls who might help you just because you need it.
posted by forthright at 6:34 PM on October 10, 2011

OK, functionally unemployed is a major issue here. You need an action plan, before you can even reasonably expect to have a conversation about getting proper credit.

1) Get on the horn to your landlord (now, tonight) and open a channel with him/her about reaching a deal regarding rent, moving forward. He is already your creditor and, if you ask nicely and come prepared to negotiate about interest, may decide it's worth investing in you by deferring rent until you are better able to pay. Or at least he may hesitate to throw you out if he can be convinced you will be good for the money in the foreseeable future.

2) Get a job, any crappy job will do, even if it does not pay enough to cover rent and food in the long term. Having a job means you have a chance of getting a loan from any financial institution. Go to McDonalds or your local pizza shop, or (if you are able to string a sentence together) apply for front-desk jobs at hotels in the area. With an actual income, you can talk about credit. With no income, it's much harder. For purposes of securing credit, a crappy job with an actual paycheck is far far superior to any freelance gig with no predictable income.

3) Only after steps one and two, go to the credit union and get what loan you can swing from them.

These three steps may take up to a month to complete, but if you can negotiate with your landlord that should help. Remember, your landlord would rather have a tenant who owes him money and has a good prospect of actually paying, than an empty apartment which doesn't owe him sh't.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 6:37 PM on October 10, 2011 [4 favorites]

Can you get a letter from the executor confirming the approximate amount and date of dispersment and bring it to your landlord with post-dated cheques for the future amount and cheques for what you can pay right now?
posted by saucysault at 6:39 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

BigLankyBastard gives a great 3 step plan. Do it.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:46 PM on October 10, 2011

Talk to your landlord. Explain that you are aware of the missed rent, and have a plan to pay it. This will work better with an individual that a corporate owner. Ask the executor for a copy of the will or trust, and a current estimate of the value of the estate. Take it to the credit union, and see if they can help you out. Do you have credit cards? or can you get a credit card? The executor could co-sign. That would give you something to live on.
posted by theora55 at 8:00 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would avoid the short term loan, especially with the inheritance as collateral... bad plan.

However, if there is a lawyer involved that you could get advice from, you might ask if they have any suggestions.

as to other things... If you have a car payment, and haven't had a payment deferred in the last year, find out what it takes to qualify (note, this may require bringing the account current first, so if you're far enough behind on payments that you can't come up with the money, this won't help you). If you can qualify, having a month off should give you time to work on other bills.

If you aren't already on the ramen and peanutbutter (or equivelent, thrifty type groceries) diet, its something to look into. Cutting out cigarettes, alcohol, soda, and other luxuries will free up a bit of money as well.

Wander about the house and see if you have anything that you don't use that might be vaulable... if not something a pawn shop might be interested in, consider a garage sale (also gives an opportunity to clear out old clothes you don't wear anymore/etc type stuff).

Contact your landlord, and any companies your electric, cable, etc type stuff go through and explain the situation... If you're up front they might be more willing to work with you (if you keep struggling and not making payments, explanations sound more like excuses and don't bring much sympathy). Look at cutting cable/internet down to the basics for a while (they'll usually help you figure otu a more affordable package, especially when it means keeping you as a customer). Same with cellphone plans and such.

If you live alone and/or have a spare room maybe look at finding a roommate to help cover costs for a few months.

Depending on how far behind you are, there are usually organizations in most areas (often church based, but usually not exclusive to those of that particular faith) that might be willing to help cover a bill or two. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it, especially when asking now might save you from needing even more help later (does that make sense?)...

If you're working, talk to your boss about extra/overtime hours or other options that might help you bring some extra cash in... some job type places will even do small loans to employees. If you're not working, forget pride and take whatever job you can get. Better to work fast food for 6 months and have the bills caught up than live on the streets.

There are other things but I can't think of them offhand... when I worked collections a while back we had like a 3 page list of suggestions to offer when the "customer" seemed to be genuinely looking for a solution rather than making excuses. Aka, if they seemed like they genuinely wanted to get caught up, we had ways that we might be able to help them find more options.
posted by myShanon at 8:35 PM on October 10, 2011

also, see if you can make arrangements to do partial payments as you can... if you get paid every 2 weeks, let the landlord know when payday is and how much he can expect the next day.
posted by myShanon at 8:36 PM on October 10, 2011

Churches are a good suggestion. The Salvation Army also offers help with utilities, and in some areas, with rent. Their resources are very limited, though.

As BLB said, talk with your creditors, now. Where I work, a lot of our customers are slipping behind on their bills. The ones who just ignore us, won't take/return our calls, and hope we go away, are the ones that I have zero patience for and I send to debt collection.

The customers who will return my calls (or better yet, take the initiative and call me) are the ones I'm much more willing to work with. Okay, so you can't pay your entire balance this month. What can you send me today? Can you send me fifty bucks? Awesome. You just bought yourself some breathing room, and a whole lot of patience. Show me that you're at least trying to pay it off, and hell, I'll stop the late charges and be very open to a payment plan.

Your landlord does not want to lose you as a tenant, much less go through the hassle of an eviction. Let him know what's going on, right now, and offer to pay him the back rent with interest. See if he's open to talking about a promissory note. Sure, you're already on the hook for the rent, but if you know what you have coming to you, you're making a legally-binding promise to pay him X dollars by Y date. That at least shows you're taking this as seriously as you can, and aren't just trying to slide by on the rent until he finally boots you.
posted by xedrik at 10:29 PM on October 10, 2011

Some ideas for earning a little money:
* Be an extra for movies or TV.
* Be a secret shopper
* “Donate” plasma (sell your blood).
* Task Rabbit – It farms out little jobs.
* Canvas or collect petition signatures for political groups.
* Model (usually nude) for art classes and maybe individual artists.
* Does your landlord need any odd jobs done that you could take on for a break on the rent?
* This is kind of out there, but maybe you could sell your eggs. If you're up for it, this idea is probably the most lucrative on this list.
* Elections work for the government. Probably start by checking with the county clerk’s office, maybe the city clerk.
* Temporary staffing agencies. These vary, and offer a variety of jobs. A key to the ones on the lower end is to show up very early.
* Amazon’s Mechanical Turk – This is essentially mental piecework done online, for chump change. But chump change is better than no change.
* Research studies. These are often not at all anything to worry about medically. For example, sometimes they just ask questions, maybe give you an MRI, etc.

Tell us more about yourself, your skills and background, and maybe we can help you figure out more.

While you’re not working, you might volunteer, which could help make connections for something else. For example, this might be mercenary, but if you get hooked up with a pet group, then you might get hooked up with pet sitting, which is sometimes a live-in gig.

Good luck.
posted by maurreen at 12:01 AM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

Depending on the winter climate where you are at, it can very difficult to evict someone when it's cold outside.
posted by garlic at 7:29 AM on October 11, 2011

Also, look into focus groups and mock juries.
posted by maurreen at 7:31 AM on October 11, 2011

It is quite common for the executor to advance monies from the estate disbursement. Ask if this is possible.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 8:35 PM on October 11, 2011

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