What to do if my elderly parents have no credit history of ever paying their mortgage?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if my elderly parents have no credit history of ever paying their mortgage?

My elder parents assumed a mortgage in 1991 from owners, from what public records show. My dad has PD with dementia and my mother does not remember the transaction details. Anyway, fast forward almost 30 years later and they paid off their mortgage. The bank has been sending them the bill all these years and my

parents have been paying. Great. Well when we tried to access their equity the bank said my parents have no credit history and there is no evidence of them ever having paid off a mortgage. Now, when I checked the records, the bank sent my parents the letter of mortgage successfully paid off but the name on the public recorded letter was that of the previous owners? Now is it possible that even though my parents have been sending the payments to banks, the previous owners were receiving the credit for payments? The only record that my parents bought that house is a warranty deed and assumption of mortgage, etc. It gets confusing and unsure of how to help my parents at this point since so much time has passed.

Asked on June 1, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There may be nothing to do. You write that they had an "assumption of mortgage," but if so, was it approved by the bank/lender? While we don't have a copy of the mortgage in front of us to check what is says, almost always, a mortgage from a bank can not be assumed without the bank's approval. (That is, it contains some "no assignment" clause or provision.)  Therefore, an assumption without the bank's approval (which would have also then switched the mortgage to your parent's name) would not be valid--i.e. they never actually assumed the mortgage. Rather, they were in fact paying off someone else's mortgage. If that was the case, you cannot retroactively, after the fact, put an already-paid-off mortgage in their name: they will not get credit for it.
You may have to cosign with them if they want to tap the equity, so the bank can rely on your credit history. But if you do that, *you* will become liable for the mortgage if not paid. Think very carefully before doing this.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption