Dallas, TX asked in Probate for Tennessee

Q: My mother passed away recently. She left me her house to me which has a mortgage. She had $30,000 cash.

I have been paying the mortgage for her for years and the cash is to be split between 3 children. Do I need to go through probate? What should I do with the mortgage company? Do I need to let them know or can I just continue to pay the mortgage? There is a will in place.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
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  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: You should contact the lender and let them know your mother passed and you are the successor in interest, so that they will start sending the monthly statements to you. (They will require a copy of your mother's will, at a minimum. They might also require a final order of distribution or recorded affidavit of heirship.) You should know that you do NOT have to assume the loan in order to be recognized by the lender as successor in interest.

You will need the help of a probate attorney to get the house retitled (put in your name) and to properly distribute the cash according to your mother's will and applicable law. There may also be other assets (there usually are) that need to be collected and distributed.

The cash might need to be used to pay creditors, attorneys fees, court costs, publication fees, and to pay a CPA to prepare final tax returns. If the cash is not enough to pay these things, the house might need to be sold.

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