Can you be held responsible for your parents’ home debt after they die?

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Can you be held responsible for your parents’ home debt after they die?

Parents both passed away. They left everything to the kids. The home they had is going into foreclosure and we are getting letters saying we will be responsible for any debt unpaid. Now 3 of the kids were legally adopted by their grandparents making them not heirs by law. Are they responsible for the biological parents debt.

Asked on April 23, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you are not personally responsible for the mortgage (or HELOC, etc.). A mortgage is a contract: like any other contract, it only binds or obligates the parties to it (i.e. the people who signed it). It is true that if the mortgage is not paid now that your parents passed away, that the home could be foreclosed upon--that is, you could lose a home you'd otherwise be able to inherit, if the mortgage were paid. But even if the home is foreclosed upon, if you were not the mortgagors (the ones who took out the mortgage), you are not liable for the balance of the mortgage (or, for that matter, any other debt of your parents apart from any debts you guaranteed or voluntarily took on).


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