Buying a house with someone other than your spouse as the co-signer.

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Buying a house with someone other than your spouse as the co-signer.

I am buying a house with my wife’s grandma as the co-signer. I’m concerned about implications if down the road we get a divorce. If my wife is on the title but not the loan and her grandma passes away, where does that leave me? Am I responsible for the full loan and my wife would still be entitled to the half of the house? How should the title be drawn? I’ve been told sole and seperate and I’ve been told Tenants in Common with my wife as the heir to grandma’s share.  I live in California.

Asked on June 22, 2009 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1. Are you considering getting a divorce? It sounds as if this is something you are considering, if so, perhaps you should think about the marital issue prior to entering into contractual agreements with any of your wife's family.

2. If your wife is on the title but not on the loan, you will be in for an ugly mess. How do you intend on holding property? In other words, joint tenancy or tenants in common? If joint tenancy, grandma dies, house is owned by whomever is on the title. If joint tenancy, whomever dies, her or his share passes through wills/intestate law/trust law.

3. Your best bet: www.attorneypages.com and check his or her records at www.calbar.ca.gov under attorney search.


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