Are the responsibilities of a mortgage co-signer inherited by the co-signer’s estate?

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Are the responsibilities of a mortgage co-signer inherited by the co-signer’s estate?

My grandfather is 93, and is co-signing a mortgage loan with me. Does his estate
eventually inherit the responsibilities of the co-signer? We are signing as Joint
Tenants with Right of Survivorship. His children are concerned that they will
inherit debt.

Asked on November 28, 2017 under Estate Planning, Montana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

His estate will be liable for paying the mortgage, since he as co-signor is responsible for paying it. However, debts by themselves are not inheritable: while the *estate* may have to pay them, if the creditor brings a claim vs. the estate, the most that could happen is that the money, etc. in the estate could be used for his, reducing what heirs will inherit. The heirs or beneficiaries will not become personally liable for his debt (even if the estate had no money to pay it); and furthermore, so long as you are still paying the mortgage (the full amount each month) it is unlikely that the creditor/lender will try to press a claim vs. the estate--they will not have an incentive to do so, since a mortgagor (you) who is also the sole owner (since you will become the sole owner on your grandfather's death as JTROS), is staying current. But again, even if the lender brought a claims against the estate, it would only be against the estate--not against the heirs, and the heirs will not be personally liable.


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