MIf mFather passed away and owned a home with a friend, am I in any responsible for the mortgage?

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MIf mFather passed away and owned a home with a friend, am I in any responsible for the mortgage?

Asked on March 20, 2011 under Estate Planning, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your father and the friend owned the home jointly, then the home may well simply belong to the friend now; generally, when there is joint ownership of property, when one owner dies, the other takes the property.

Even if that's not the case and you inherit your father's interest, you are not responsible for the mortgage. However, the mortgage must be paid off (e.g. by estate assets), refinanced, or must continue to be paid, or else the bank may take the property--the bank does not give up its right to foreclose in the event of nonpayment. So if you were to inherit an interest in the house, you and any other owner(s) would need to deal with the mortgage if you want the house; if you don't want the house, just disclaim any interest in it and let the bank repossess (though it may also try to sue the estate--not you personally; your father's estate--for any remaining balance due on the mortgage after the proceeeds of foreclosure).


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