Can the widow of a deceased spouse sign a seller’s contract if she isn’t on the loan but is on the deed?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can the widow of a deceased spouse sign a seller’s contract if she isn’t on the loan but is on the deed?

I signed a seller’s contract to sell my home after only 2 days on the market. I can’t find a place to live and as a widow with health issues, so I need to back out of the contract. I want to know if I can legally sign the sellers contract with

out a will and I’m not on the loan but the deed. I want to keep my home because I can’t find a place to live.

Asked on June 6, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The loan has nothing to do with ownership or the right to sell the property. (The loan will need to be paid out of the proceeds of the sale, but that's the only connection between the loan and the sale.) If you were on the deed and were the only surviving owner, then you had the legal right to sell the property and the contract you signed will be binding on you. It does not matter, legally, that you have no place else to go or have health issues: those issues, to be blunt, are your issues only, not the buyers', and the buyers do not need to take any account of them. Based on what you have written, you signed an enforceable contract and could be sued if you don't go through with it.

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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