my name is on the title and my partner is on the mortgage. He just died. Who should I see about paying the mortgage?

Asked by Karen, Los Angeles, CA Sun Dec 11, 2011

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Allan S Glass, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Dec 12, 2011
Dear Karen,

Very sorry about your loss.

As my colleagues have pointed out below, you will want to contact an attorney to confirm all of your paperwork is in order, you will need a copy of the death certificate and the will or deed showing you are the current owner to begin discussions with the bank.

It may also benefit you to consult an appraiser and/or other real estate professional to establish fair market value on the property before you assume liability of the mortgage. As you may know many homeowners find themselves owning more on their homes than the property is worth.

If this is your situation, it may not be in your best financial interest to assume the loan without negotiating a loan modification with the current lender first.

All major banks have departments that handle these special circumstances. They will be very eager to address this situation and help you either assume the loan, modify, or short sale if you so choose.

I'd guess you have a heavy heart and a lot on your mind, there are many capable professionals who have consulted and experienced this situation. Take your time and make the best decision for you.

I would also note that you may continue making payments on the loan regardless of who's name shows on the loan statement.

Best of luck,
Allan S. Glass
ASG Real Estate Inc. ®
149 S. Barrington Ave, Suite #660
Los Angeles . CA 90049
Mobile: 213.952.9052
Direct: 213.973.8637 (213.97.FUNDS)
Fax: 213.947.4461
CA License: 01154002


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1 vote
Meredith McK…, Agent, Pasadena, CA
Sun Dec 11, 2011
Dear Karen:

Your question raises so many additional questions;
1. Did he leave a will or trust or did he die intestate?
2. If he did leave an estate, are you either the executor or beneficiary of this estate?
3. Were you and your partner legally married at the time of his death? If not, did you have a domestic partnership agreement?.
4. Did he carry either mortgage insurance or life insurance that would pay off this loan amount upon his death?
5. Did he leave a will or trust or did he die intestate?

As you can see, this situation may be much more complicated that merely making the mortgage payment, so PLEASE consult with an estate attorney well versed in real estate and domestic partnership matters to unwind this complex situation as soon as possible.

Good Luck...and my condolences for your loss.


Meredith McKenzie
California Broker #01142186

Keller Williams Realty
1660 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

323-300-1110 - Direct
323-300-1001 - Fax
323-230-9749 - Cell
1 vote
Annette Levi…, , New York, NY
Sun Dec 11, 2011
I am sorry to hear about your partner. You should contact the lender about your loss. If your partner was on the title you also need to speak to your estate lawyer.
In NY, which is not a common law state, I always suggest to couples who aren't married to have a buy sell agreement in place. That is usually tied into life insurance. If you had that then you have the money to pay off the mortgage. If you didn't, check to see if the mortgage was assumable. If it isn't then you will need to have your partner's estate probated before you can buy out their share of the house.
0 votes
Deborah Brem…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sun Dec 11, 2011
I agree with the advice to consult an attorney, first. The liability for the mortgage was not yours, but the property is in your name. This will need to be sorted out. Before the bank becomes part of the conversation, I would recommend having all your ducks in a row, and knowing how you want to proceed.
Deborah Bremner
The Bremner Group
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sun Dec 11, 2011
Sorry to hear about your loss. You should consider consulting with an attorney for any necessary legal advice; you can contact the lender regarding mortgage payments.
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sun Dec 11, 2011
My sympothy for your loss. You should know If he was the only name on the mortgage, hopfuly you were in the will. If not you may need to contact a probate attorney. In most cases one would think you are going to need to contact the bank who holds the mortgage and see if you can assume the loan or get a new loan to pay off the mortgage. Good luck working things out.
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