If my wife is inheriting her grandmother’s house, is it the estate’s responsibility to pay off the mortgage or does that fall to us?

Asked on August 23, 2011 Kentucky


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Here is the general rule: the estate is responsible for the debts of the decedent.  In the case of a house with a mortgage, the lender will not allow for the transfer of the house unless the mortgage is paid off and the executor has to deal with that.  Sometimes a house is sold because the estate can not pay off the debt with other assets.  So in order to give any guidance here one needs to look at the total picture.  The mortgage is the debt of the estate.  Can the estate pay it off without selling the house?  What else are you inheriting?  If you want the house and the estate can not pay off the mortgage then you will need to have an attorney help you figure that out.  Good luck.

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