To sum up the situation with relevant facts, we bought a house in the mid 2000s from a woman who had ostensibly granted power of attorney to her son. The transaction was through the typical real estate process, with the house being listed through an agency, financed by a bank, with us represented by a real estate agency, title search, etc. It wasn't a "for sale by owner" (FSBO) situation or a cash deal or anything like that. Everything should have been vetted and done according to procedure. Since we moved in, we refinanced once with a different bank, and the mortgage has been transferred a couple of times from one company to another as well.
This year, we tried to sell our house and the title company said that the house could not be transferred to the buyer because there was no record that the son who had signed the house over to us had power of attorney for his mother. The title attorney that our real estate agency has on retainer did some research and found that the house was not listed as part of the woman's assets as part of the probate process (she died a few months after we moved in). His advice was to hire an attorney to reopen the estate, have the daughter who was the original executor for the estate be reappointed, have the house listed under the assets of the estate, and have her transfer it to us.
So far, we have not found a probate attorney who is willing to take on the case, once they hear the facts about it. I don't know if it's a matter of complexity, not worth the time, they think it's a losing case, etc. At this point, we are not even sure what the next steps are. We are also worried about being forced to move out if the house it's legally in our name. So, my questions around this are as follows -
To start with the mortgage company, could they even actually grant us the title to the house if we were able to fully pay off the mortgage?
If the mortgage company can't do so, and they now have a loan on an unsecured property, would it make sense to contact them to see about putting payments in an escrow account instead until this is somehow resolved?
If the mortgage company learns of the issue with the title, do they have legal recourse against me, the "seller," the company who sold them the mortgage, what?
If we simply stopped making mortgage payments, because this becomes impossible to sort out, what would that look like in terms of a hit to the credit rating, could that be appealed, etc?
Could the living children of the deceased reopen the estate and file a claim to the house, and then being able to force us to leave? (this would obviously result in a lawsuit)
Is this process with the estate something that has to wholly be pursued through an attorney, or could we do part/all of the work ourselves? (given that no one seems willing to take the case)
We are, in theory, only a few years away from being able to claim squatters' rights on the property. Would it be generally be possible just to not pursue this any farther and instead claim the property through that process?