Let's say you get a $100,000 heloc in Jan 2007. It's to be paid by by Jan 2017.
In Jan 2010 you default. In Jan 2011 you bankrupt and no longer owe the $100,000. In Jan 2012 you get a modification on an underwater house. You pay the first mortgage without problem.
Jan 2017 comes, and the Heloc is due. The house is still underwater, so there's no reason for 2ndMtg Bank to foreclose. They can't come after you because the debt was discharged.
In your state there is a 5 year limitation on debt. In Jan 2022, the house is slightly underwater, or break even. But in Jan 2023 you have equity of $50,000. Can you sell your house without having to give up your equity to the lien, since the debt is past the 5 years of statute of limitations?
Is that the answer for all these second mortgages that banks won't settle on? Just wait it out if you can?