What to do about my late grandmother’s house if I am her only heir?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What to do about my late grandmother’s house if I am her only heir?

My mother recently passed away and someone is living in her home without paying. Before she passed she indicated that it was paid for. The mortgage company is sending me notices. I do not own a home, do not know what my rights are or whom I need to contact to get policy information. I have not been able to locate any policies; I only have paperwork indicating I am the power of attorney. I do not have family and am totally lost.

Asked on January 23, 2018 under Estate Planning, Virginia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Let me ask: was your Mother living in your Grandmother's house that she inherited?  And now you are the only heir to that house? If you would inherit the house "by operation of law" meaning everyone died with or without a Will and you are the beneficiary under intestacy in one way or another, then you will need to probate at least your Mother's estate to become the Personal Representative in order to act.  That will allow you to evict the person living there if need be.  Now, if you inherit property you can continue to pay the mortgage on the property without refinancing it is your name. A transfer pursuant to inheritance does NOT trigger the "due on sale" clause of a mortgage.  So you can transfer the house in to your name and continue to pay the mortgage until it is paid off.  If you want to refinance it in your name you can do that too.  Or you can sell it after the estate is opened.  Good luck.

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