If my brother passed away and left mortgage on his house, what is my responsibility for it and can I let it go back to the mortgage company?

Asked on November 12, 2015 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you are not on the title, you are not personally liable for the debt and are not an owner of the home. If the house is being left to you or you are otherwise inheriting it, you can refuse to accept it (people cannot be made to inherit against their will), and so will not be the owner. An executor is not responsible for the debts of the estate or the decedent (your brother); you have an obligation to do what is reasonable and right for the estate and any beneficiaries (which is likely you, as only living relative, unless the will left it to someone else), but sometimes, the right thing may be to let an underwater property go back to the bank. 


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