Q: Co-borrower on mortgage died without a will. As the remaining borrower I am responsible for the mortgage. Do I have the
Right to sell the property immediately?
A: The first question is whether you are a "joint tenant" on the deed, that has a right of survivorship. If so, the property would pass to you, and you would be able to sell it. However, unless you were married to the deceased, there will be inheritance tax due, and you will need to plan for that. In all likelihood, you will have to open an estate for the deceased.
Are you also a co-signer on the Note that was executed when the Mortgage was executed? That is what determines whether you have responsibility for the balance of the Mortgage. The fact that you are on the Mortgage suggests that you are, in fact, on the deed, as the Mortgage is usually executed by everyone with an ownership interest. The signing of the Mortgage puts a lien against the property, and, in order to sell the property, the Mortgage and, if applicable, inheritance tax would have to be addressed as part of the sale. However, if you did not sign the Note, you would not have personal liability for the balance of the Mortgage. This is an important question if there will not be sufficient equity in the house to pay off the balance of the Mortgage and the inheritance tax.
You need a lawyer to help you sort these questions out and to handle any estate that will have to be opened.
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