You Inherited a House with a Mortgage – Now What? - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

The death of a loved one is an incredibly difficult time. Not only are you emotionally drained, but after the funeral you have the added anxiety of sorting through legal documents, financial information, and the last will and testament of the deceased. You want to be sure you take care of any financial loose ends, and that can turn into an overwhelming task.

One obstacle some may have to deal with after the death of a loved one is a mortgage. You might already have a home loan payment, and you simply can’t afford to take on another. So what options do you have, and what do you do next? We’ve got a few tips and things to consider when managing an inherited mortgage.

Determine who takes over the home

If there was a co-signer on the mortgage, that person is now responsible for making the mortgage payments. In the event a home is left to an heir via a will, the heir(s) – whether there are one or more people – is now responsible for the mortgage. It’s important that you establish who’s responsible for the loan, because this person (or group of people) will work with the lender to get details and information about the mortgage.

Gather all the mortgage documents

Hopefully your loved one kept a file of their mortgage documents. At the very least, try to find a document saying who services the mortgage. You, or your family attorney, will need to call the servicer to notify them of the death. Chances are they’ll want a copy of the death certificate before you can move forward. After verifying the death and updating documents, the servicer will then be able to tell you how much is left on the mortgage and how much the monthly mortgage payment is. At this point, you’ll have the information you need to decide how to deal with the remainder of the mortgage.

Start making the loan payments

First and foremost, if you decide to keep the home, you’ll need to begin making the mortgage payments. Otherwise, it may go into foreclosure.

Pay the mortgage off

If you can pay the mortgage off completely, that’s another option (and probably the best) to deal with an inherited home loan. With the house completely paid off, you can then keep the property, and maybe lease it out, or you can simply sell the home. Either way, paying the mortgage in full frees the property from a lender and allows you to do what you please with the home.

The home has no heirs or co-signers attached to it

If there’s no co-signer and no one in line to inherit the home, the bank or lender still need to collect on their debt. They usually end up selling the house to try to recoup the debt. Sometimes the amount brought in from the sale of the home doesn’t cover the entire loan balance. If that’s the case, then lender may seize the assets of the deceased to cover the remainder of the loan or simply assume the rest of the debt. This may vary depending on where you live.

Contact a lawyer if you have any specific questions or just feel completely lost; they can help you sort out specific questions. Laws fluctuate from state to state, and we all know how difficult legalese can be to read. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, and – most importantly – don’t sign or agree to something you don’t understand.

One thing your loved one can do now to help simplify the complicated process of dealing with a mortgage after their death is to get mortgage life insurance. If they pass before their mortgage is paid off, the insurance company will cut a check to pay the remainder of the mortgage, and the home will be paid off.

The time after a loved one dies feels like a whirlwind. Trying to tie up financial loose ends adds extra stress to an already traumatic time. But knowing what steps to take in advance can help alleviate the anxiety you might feel. Just remember to ask for professional guidance if you have any questions, or your gut tells you something isn’t right. It’s better to spend the money and come to the right decision with confidence, rather than guessing and hoping for the best.

Did you inherit a mortgage after a loved one passed? Do you have any other tips to help readers? Share them below!


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This Post Has 136 Comments

  1. Hi, my wife’s elderly friend left her a house that is still under a VA loan mortgage. She left the house to her in a Will. I was thinking of probating the will and putting it under my wife’s name. Can we can just keep making the payments? Maybe when our credit is up we can assume the loan. Does that sound about right?

    1. Hi Louie:

      You can continue to make the payments. I would just contact the mortgage company and let them know that you’re taking over so there’s a smooth transition. You can also put your wife on the title once it goes through probate and when you’re ready to credit qualify, you can then go and assume the loan properly.

      So in short, you’re taking all the right steps.


  2. My boyfriend’s father is ill and probably doesn’t have much longer to live. My question is, he put in his will that the house we live in goes to my boyfriend and he also added his name to the title of the house. We both have bad credit and we are scared that when his father passes the mortgage company will take back the house and make us move. Will my boyfriend be able to just continue making the mortgage payments or will we be forced to leave our home.

    1. Hi Katherine:

      If and when your boyfriend’s father passes, you can continue making the payments. As long as the payment gets made, the mortgage company won’t care who is making the payment. One thing you might want to do is see if you can get your credit in order so that you can assume the loan somewhere down the line. This would give you the ability to refinance if you chose to do so. In order to help with getting your credit back in order, I’m going to suggest you check out our friends at QLCredit. You can see your report and score and it will give you personalized tips on how you can work to improve based on the information in your report. We also have this blog post on how to rebuild your credit that you might find helpful. Have a great day!

      Kevin Graham

  3. Hi, I was wondering if my siblings and I could be held responsible to pay a loan my father took out on his home a few years before he passed? He left us all in his will to have the home but I do not want any part of it he lived in St. Louis and I live in California what can I do? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Larry:

      If any of your siblings want to keep the home, you’ll have to work out amongst yourselves who’s going to make the payments and you can quitclaim your share over to them. Another option you have is to split the payments until you can sell the property. Finally, if none of you were named on the loan, you can just notify the lender that you wish to give it back to them. They’ll work with you from there.

      Kevin Graham

  4. Hello I have a question we are trying to sell our deceased mom house and the realtor can only get fifty thousand and the payoff is fifty seven thousand and we don’t have the seven thousand to pay it off what can we do about this I am lost. Please help

      1. Hi Mia:

        I would see if you can find another buyer. There’s no need to take the first offer. In the meantime, you can make the mortgage payments. You just have to tell the lender. I don’t know what the value of houses are in your area or how the house compares, but I would make sure that’s the most you can get. Also, you do have the option of letting it go back to the lender in a foreclosure. I would talk to a lawyer, but if no one else was on the loan, it shouldn’t impact you. The other option would be to try and talk to the lender and see if you can do a short sale. For the lender, some money is better than no money.


    1. My mother-in-law passed away in January 2017. My wife (her daughter), co-signed with her mother for a mortgage home several years ago, only because my mother-in-law husband passed away several years before and had applied an outrageous loan without my mother in-law knowledge. Again, my wife only co-signed because her mother would get a lower interest rate that she could afford. Now, the State of New York hired a collection agency to harass my wife and indicating that my wife is responsible for the house payment. The current value of the home if sold, would not come close to pay the total value of the home. Is my wife NOT responsible. My wife did not profit from anything nor was she co-owner of the home.

      1. Hi Mario:

        It doesn’t matter under what circumstances she cosigned for it. If her name is on the loan, she’s absolutely responsible for it. If she doesn’t get current, it could hurt your ability to get other loans in the future and hurt your credit score. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

        Kevin Graham

  5. Hi hope you can give me some advice . I live in Florida we had that bad hurricane . Anyway I went into the bank . To. show them the damage on my house . And a check that was in the banks name . And my Dads he passed away unfortunately. They gave me a hard time , I’m in charge of the estate. But since mom and Dad took a loan on my house . My house is paid off . But 100,000 loan is in Mom and Dads name on house . Now there saying that loan even though , I have been paying 4 years now . They say it needs to go in my name . My credit isn’t good there telling me I have to leave . I’m there 31 years . This is my investment. I’m selling house anyway . I’m worried House after repairs are done . What can I do please Thankyou

    1. Hi Donna:

      I think you should talk to a lawyer about this. I’m not an expert, but I do know that as long as you keep up on the payments, you’re allowed to live there. How that affects any homeowners checks for repairs and details regarding your lender’s policy, I don’t know. Thanks for reaching out.


  6. Many years ago my mom took out a 50,000.00 loan thru chase using the house as collateral. it is now still at 42,000.00. My mom passed away last month. Is there any chance that Chase would work with the family and negotiate a full payoff at a lower rate. Nobody else signed for the loan.

    1. Hi Pam:

      One of your options is to just let the house go to the bank. You’re not responsible for paying off the loan. Chase likely won’t let you negotiate a lower pay off amount. You would have to work with them to do a mortgage modification which would have a credit impact, but it’s an option. Or you can sell the house and keep anything beyond the payoff amount. Hope this at least helps you know where you stand.

      Kevin Graham

  7. My mother passed away in August on 2017. At that time me and my husband and children were living with her. She had a transfer upon death deed made several years ago stating that the deed would be put in my older sister’s name in the event of her death. My sister has agreed that my family and I could remain in the house and continue to pay my mother’s mortgage. I have terrible credit and could not get a mortgage of my own however we make plenty of money to pay the mortgage payment each month. What do we need to do in order for me to keep living here and paying for the house?

    1. Hi Emily:

      I would go ahead and tell the mortgage servicer if you haven’t already, just so they’re aware of the situation. In order to actually assume the loan, the lender will probably check your credit, so you may not be able to do that right away. Down the line when your credit improves, that may be something you want to do so that you have the ability to refinance in the future if you desire. However, you can continue to keep living in the house. Your lender or servicer won’t care who makes the house payment as long as it’s paid.

      Kevin Graham

  8. I Moved into my parents home in 2002 with my family. My Mom died in 2007 and my Dad moved out permanently and remarried in 2011. In 2012 – was asked to pay the entire monthly mortgage by my Dad so he could buy a condo. We had been previously paying a 2/3rd majority of the mortgage so that my parents could continue to pay their original mortgage amount. My parents had refinanced the mortgage in 2002 to pay for additions on the home including an in-law apartment that would allow all of us to live in the home. Before I agreed to pay the entire mortgage, I asked that I be put on the title to the house and we had a new trust drawn up making my father and I co – trustees but I have essentially become the primary owner and have been responsible for all maintenance and upkeep – we even remodeled our Kitchen in 2013. However – because I am not on the mortgage – everything we do – we need to either use cash or credit cards (the kitchen was financed using cash we saved long and hard for). My father takes the tax write off as well. My father has since purchased a new home using a reverse mortgage and he needed to prove to the bank that it was my husband and I who were paying the monthly mortgage so we sent him bank statements showing the with-drawls from our bank to correlate with the deposits made to his checking account. The bank debits his account monthly for the mortgage amt and we continue just to make deposits directly into his checking account. Our names are not on his checking account but I am listed as a trustee. I think it would be beneficial for everyone if my husband and I just took over the mortgage and potentially be able to give my father some cash as he has constantly made comments about his “loss of equity” due to not selling the house from under us after my Mom died. I am safer now than I was then in terms of that happening but yet my Father still tries to find ways of getting money from the home by going behind my back to apply for equity loans and lines of credit – which, ultimately – I would end up being responsible for paying back and he does this purposely since he wants to have the money but also wants to be able to walk back in the door of this house any time he feels like it – which he can since he is on the title with me. He expects me to “take care of him” if his wife dies before him and this is his way of maintaining control over me. My husband and I are in our early 50’s, we have one child in college and another set to go in a year and a half. We have taken out loans for our daughter’s education and will have a good chunk of debt in another year. We easily are able to afford the current mortgage payment so that isn’t an issue. Our credit is good – not excellent – but good hovering around 700. We actually worked with Quicken in 2014 with the initial stages of trying to qualify for a mortgage so that we could buy the home from my Father – but at less than market value since that would be way over our heads. He would have to agree to sign a “gift of equity” and we planned on giving him $100k. It ended up not coming to fruition – partly because my Father just kind of ended the communications about it. But since then – he has continued to make attempts to get money for himself from this house – again – behind my back. I’m getting anxious that eventually – the bank will approve one of his applications and I will be screwed. Banks make mistakes so this could happen. I would rather just give him some money to go away and have the mortgage and title completely in our names. Now I’m wondering if re-financing with a cash out option to give him the money he is lusting after is the better way to go about it? Would the bank refinance a mortgage that is in my father’s name so that we can become the new mortgagees? I know I would have to have my father sign off on it – but if I sweetened the cash pot enough for him – he likely will agree. There is potentially well over a half million in equity in this home with a mortgage balance probably in the upper $290’s though I don’t know for sure. What do you think my best options would be? Thanks very much for any advice….I know this story is long and complicated!

    1. This is a complex problem and it sounds like you have some family stuff to deal with. Since this is so complex, I’m going to suggest you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts by calling (888) 980-6716 and they would be able to go over any options you might have. They would be able to give much better advice for this than I can in this comment section.

  9. Hello, my father passed away in 2010. My mother took over the mortgage & it keeps going up at the end of each year. I’m lost as to where do I start to transfer her name on the deed & getting a fixed rate mortgage. We tried going thru the bank but they just keep giving us the run around.

    1. Hi Angela:

      You have to make sure that the deed was supposed to go to you and your mother legally. If that’s not written in a will somewhere, you may have to put it through probate to get in her name. Once you do that, that lender or any other one including us can work with you on a refinance assuming you qualify financially.

      Kevin Graham

  10. My aunt inherited my grandmothers home where I live. I want to buy the house and take over the mortgage. What are the options for this?

    1. You do have the option of taking over the mortgage with the permission of the mortgage company in what’s called an assumption. She could also choose to sell the property to you either for face value or with a discount. That discount is known as a gift of equity. Those would be your major options. If you would like more info, you can talk to one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716.

  11. Hi my parents have deceased an I was listed as the one the house was to go to…My parents had a FHA home an I wondering do I have to refinance the home are can I just keep making the payments?

  12. I have a friend who is suffering from cancer. He has no next of kin – anywhere! I’ve been a close friend for over 15yrs. Before his forthcoming passing, he has established me as executor and deeded the property to me. I ‘m going to be facing some high walls to conquer as he has a mortgage with a second and many cc debts!. The home although under 10yrs old is internally destroyed due to a huge hoard. This property could possibly be worth a hefty amount of $$ because it on a fair amount of land. My only income is social security but I do have good credit. Any financial tip or help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I will more than likely need to refi the loan because I cant afford the current payments and he wont have any estate $$ to leave.

    1. I’m very sorry to hear about your friend. That does sound like a very difficult situation. If you’re looking to refi the property at some point, we can certainly help you look into any options you may have. Because of your situation, I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts. They can really go over your situation in detail and determine your best possible option. That would probably be where I’d get started and go from there. You can get in touch with them by filling out this form or calling (888) 980-6716.

      Kevin Graham

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