What is the best way to avoid probate on a home with a mortgage?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is the best way to avoid probate on a home with a mortgage?

My mom is dying from stage 4 cancer and I’m trying to save her home from probate. Her home has a small mortgage and the assessed home value is less than $45,000. She has a Will naming me as the executer of

her estate and I have a financial POA. Can we use a quit claim or transfer on death to avoid probate when a mortgage is still attached to the home? If not, what are our options to avoid probate?

Asked on December 10, 2018 under Estate Planning, North Dakota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, unfortunately, you cannot transfer a home with mortgage without paying off the mortgage, so as long as the mortgage is in existence, there is no way to put the home wholly or partially (e.g. as "joint tenants with right of survivorship") in another's name so as to avoid probate. If you or she pays off the mortgage, however, then you could quit claim it (e.g. to yourself).

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