What to do in my deceased mother left behind a mortgaged home thatI don’t want?

UPDATED: Oct 7, 2010

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What to do in my deceased mother left behind a mortgaged home thatI don’t want?

She dies in 2007; mortgafge is $100,000. I’ve ignored summonses from sent to me in the past on behalf of the lender. I’ve received foreclosure notices which I’ve also ignored. I have never expressed an interest in the house, nor have I made any claim to it, thinking they would take the hint and simply take it. My mother did not have a Will. I have just received a subpoena demanding my appearance in stateSsupreme Court (Queens County) next week which I intend on appearing. I just want this over with and I feel I should not be held liable for something I didn’t do.

Asked on October 7, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You need to speak with an attorney. The short answer is that no one can be forced to accept an inheritance (or gift, for that matter) that they do not want; and if you do not accept it, you are not responsible for its obligations, costs, etc. However, if you did not disclaim the property correctly, you might have been deemed to have accepted it--it's not that you need necessarily to take action to accept it, but rather you need to make sure it's clear you don't want it. You need an attorney to help you understand first whether or not the property is now somehow in your name, and second, what you need to do to make clear that not only do you not want the property now, but you never accepted it in the first place.

A problem is that ignoring legal notices sometimes means you lose automatically (by default); you need help with 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.

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