San Diego, CA asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for California

Q: I inherited Mom's house that has a reverse mortgage on it.

I would like to refinance the loan so that I may remain in the home. I have Letters of Administration, and I just received the final distribution court date, but it isn't until October. Mom passed last December (not sure how long the reverse mortgage company will wait before they want the loan repaid). Am I able to transfer the title at the Assessor's office now and also get the house refinanced or I do I have to wait until October?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • San Jose, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You can't transfer legal ownership of the property to yourself without a formal court order upon final distribution of the estate and that won't happen until October. The loan by its terms comes due within 1 year of the borrower's death. Keep your lender informed on the progress of your case through the court system. The pandemic will prevent most lenders from immediately foreclosing on their deed of trust in most states. Once you have your formal court order authorizing distribution of the property subject to the mortgage to yourself, then you'll be able to obtain a refinance loan. No traditional lender will lend to someone in probate. You can always try a hard money lender but that will cost you additional interest, points and fees, and come with a balloon payment within a year. Good luck!

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