Are children responsible for a deceased parent’s mortgage?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Are children responsible for a deceased parent’s mortgage?

My husband was served with foreclosure papers for his deceased parent’s home/property. My husband is not POA, executer or co-signer. Has no interest in the property. A foreclosure notice has been published in the local newspaper x 3 which list my husband and his brothers. His deceased parents left no Will and they had no money. The money they did have was used to pay for funerals. My husband and I cannot afford an attorney. Should we be worried about bank placing a lien on our property and/or bad credit? We have no interest in the property. What happens if he appears in court with no attorney?

Asked on September 22, 2017 under Estate Planning, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, the children are not personally liable for the deceased parents' mortgage unless they cosigned or guaranteed it: the lender cannot lien your own property, cannot get a judgment for money against you, etc. The reason your husband received the papers is that as someone who (presumptively) would inherit the home, he *might* want to try to pay off the mortgage, or at least see if the bank will hold off on foreclosing while he sells the house (so that if there is any money left after paying the mortgage, he'd get it). Therefore, he has a potential interest in the house; the papers came to him to give him a chance to defend that interest, if he chooses, and for no other reason. (Same thing for his siblings.) He should appear in court and can for this purpose do so himself and just make it clear on the record that he is disclaiming (giving up) any interest in the house and will not be opposing the foreclosure. At the hearing, the lender's lawyers and/or the court can let him know if there is any paperwork he needs to execute just to confirm that he does not want the property and is not opposing the foreclosure.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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