What steps do we need to take for the mortgage company to talk to my wife?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What steps do we need to take for the mortgage company to talk to my wife?

My mother-in-law died in January and the mortgage co will not talk to my wife
because there was no will. what steps do we need to take for them to speak with
her. we are attempting to keep the house with the children of the deceased.

Asked on June 5, 2017 under Estate Planning, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) Your wife needs to be appointed administrator or personal representative for the estate (that's basically the executor, when there is no actual executor appointed by the will; the administrator or personal representative has the same basic role and authority as an executor). Contact the probate court in the county in which your mother in law lives; they can provide information on how your wife should apply.
2) Note that even once you get past the procedural hurdle of being appointed administrator, etc., the mortgagee (the lender or mortgage company) does not have to let you keep the house unless you pay the mortgage off in full (such as by refinancing it--which the administrator can potentially do, if it's in the interest of the estate and heirs). All debts like this become due in full when the debtor passes away. If your wife and/or any other heirs (e.g. her siblings) either singly or together cannot or do not want to refinance the home and pay any resulting mortgage on it, the options are to either let the lender foreclose (a good option if the home is "underwater" in value) or to sell it and then distribute any profit left after paying the mortgage and costs of sale (selling real estate is something else the administrator can do).

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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