Mortgage matters – what to do when someone dies


Alongside all the grief and sadness that comes with losing someone close to you, there’s a lot of official business to deal with too. It’s never nice having to sort these things out, but unfortunately, it’s something that has to be done, especially if you’ve been nominated as the executor of the deceased’s will.

There are ways in which you can make the whole process just that little bit easier, such as using sites such as Beyond which offer a probate service. But for now, here’s some advice on the first steps to take when dealing with a mortgage after someone has died.

If you lived with the deceased

If you lived with and shared a joint mortgage with the person who died, the mortgage doesn’t automatically get transferred into your name after the death of your spouse or partner. However, you are still liable to keep up the repayments.

If you want to transfer the mortgage into your own name, you’ll have to officially apply to do so and be able to prove that you can afford the repayments on your own. If you can’t, you’ll be at risk of having to sell the property. Either way, you should get in touch with your mortgage lender as soon as possible to inform them of your loved one’s death, but especially if you’re going to have problems keeping up the repayments. Legally, lenders can demand full payment or force the sale of the property to meet the costs, but on the whole, they tend to be sympathetic and understanding that legal matters following a death can take some time.

Just remember that if your partner had a life insurance policy, you might be entitled to some money to help pay back the cost of the mortgage.

If you’re the executor of the will

If you didn’t share a mortgage with the deceased but there is still a sum of money to pay back, then what are your options? If someone is nominated as an executor of the will, then it’s their responsibility to use the estate of the person who’s passed away to settle any debt they left behind.

If they can afford to pay off the mortgage with the estate, then the property can be inherited. However, if the sum of the estate doesn’t cover the cost of the debt, then it might result in the sale of assets, such as the property, to be able to afford the required repayments. So, you may end up losing the property altogether in order to settle any mortgage debt.

If there’s no will

In some situations, a person might die without having written a will or without it being located. If this is the case, it’s left to the law to determine who inherits the deceased’s property and who is responsible for covering mortgage repayments.

Dealing with a loved one’s finances after they’ve passed away is always a difficult task, but there are people out there who can offer help and advice in these situations. Speak to friends and family first, but never be afraid to seek professional legal advice as well.

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