Many states offer homestead rights, but they address the property, not the mortgage. For example, if you live in Texas, the law trumps the terms of your husband’s will, at least during your lifetime, if he left the property to another beneficiary. The beneficiary’s ownership interest does not supersede your right to possession. You can continue living there indefinitely, but if your name doesn’t appear on the deed and your husband left the property to someone else, you don’t actually own it.
Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act
The mortgage against the property is a separate issue. If you continue making payments, the lender can’t foreclose by calling the mortgage due just because the owner has died and someone else now owns the property. The federal Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act prevents this from happening provided the loan is current and the property has transferred to a relative or a joint tenant on the deed. Some lenders may insist that you refinance the mortgage into your name. This is just a bullying tactic. If you find yourself in this position, speak with a lawyer. The important thing is that if you keep the loan current, the lender cannot foreclose.
- Bankrate: Dealing With Hubby’s Mortgage After Death
- Nolo: If I am Not on the Mortgage, Can the Bank Foreclose After My Spouse Dies?
- James M. Bright and Associates: Homestead Rights of a Surviving Spouse
- The Washington Post: Keep Making Payments and the Inherited House Is Safe
- Nolo: Mortgages on Inherited Real Estate
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