Can the lender of an inherited property come back at the family if they decide not to take the property?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can the lender of an inherited property come back at the family if they decide not to take the property?

My grandfather passed away almost a month ago, and he left my sister and I his condo. Now, we have not signed any papers taking the condo within our names, but we are distraught on what to really do with it. We were thinking, if we can not refinance it to a lower payment as he still has a mortgage out on it, of thinking we just say ‘screw it’ and give it back to the lender.

But, the question lies Can they come back on the estate/us, even though we have not signed our names onto the property, for money owed, if they do not get the full amount of the loan still owed when they sell it themselves?

Asked on July 6, 2019 under Estate Planning, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) Unless heirs or beneficiaries actually inherit--i.e. accept the inheritance of, since you cannot be forced to inherit against your will--they cannot be held personally liable for any mortgage or any other debts. You cannot be made to pay any money out of pocket for these things.
2) The estate, however, can be held liable, since it is liable for the deceased's debts and obligations. The lender can go after the estate and any money in it, which can reduce (or eliiminate) what you would inherit--but that's all it can do: take money, etc. in the estate. Again, you would not be personally liable.

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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