Is a beneficiary on a home liable in the case of a foreclosure before the benefactor is deceased?

Asked on November 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether or not the beneficiary accepts the home or not. No one can be made to accept a bequest, inheritance, gift, etc.--the beneficiary is free to disclaim (refuse) the same. If the home is disclaimed, then there is no liability; on the other hand, if the beneficiary accepts the home, he or she then become liable for it--including liable for mortgage and tax payments, any unpaid balances or past due amounts, etc. Presumbably, if the home was already in foreclosure, at the time it passed to the beneficiary, unless he or she though that the home was worth more than the amount owed on it, and therefore worth paying for or reedeming, he or she would have disclaimed the home, refusing it, but also not become liable.

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