Can I legally be on a mortgage for a deed that my name is not on?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I legally be on a mortgage for a deed that my name is not on?

My husband owns a house because the deed was transferred to him on his grandmother’s death. Can I be put on a HELOC when I do not have equity?

Asked on June 26, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, someone can be on a mortage, or be a guarantor or co-signer of a mortgage, even without being on the deed or having any equity, the same way that someone can co-sign or guaranty a car loan without being on the title or having the car, or guaranty student loans without going to school him/herself, etc. A person's obligations on a loan are separate from ownership or other rights. You would not have to sign the HELOC if you don't want (you are not legally required to obligate yourself under a loan); of course, the prospective lender could refuse to offer the HELOC if you don't sign, in which case you and/or you and your husband jointly need to decide what to do--if it's worth it for you to be on the mortgage or HELOC, or if you'd rather not take the loan. (Note: spouses have certain rights to property in many, but not all, cases, simply by dint of being spouses; if you had any rights to this property due to marriage and were not on the loan, the loan might not be enforceable; the lender may be looking to protect itself by requiring you to be on the loan.)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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