Can I legally be on a mortgage for a deed that my name is not on?

My husband owns a house because the deed was transferred to him on his grandmother’s death. Can I be put on a HELOC when I do not have equity?

Asked on June 26, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, someone can be on a mortage, or be a guarantor or co-signer of a mortgage, even without being on the deed or having any equity, the same way that someone can co-sign or guaranty a car loan without being on the title or having the car, or guaranty student loans without going to school him/herself, etc. A person's obligations on a loan are separate from ownership or other rights. You would not have to sign the HELOC if you don't want (you are not legally required to obligate yourself under a loan); of course, the prospective lender could refuse to offer the HELOC if you don't sign, in which case you and/or you and your husband jointly need to decide what to do--if it's worth it for you to be on the mortgage or HELOC, or if you'd rather not take the loan. (Note: spouses have certain rights to property in many, but not all, cases, simply by dint of being spouses; if you had any rights to this property due to marriage and were not on the loan, the loan might not be enforceable; the lender may be looking to protect itself by requiring you to be on the loan.)


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