How can I take over car and home payments for my grandma after she passes?

Allnewmegs asked...

My 93 year old grandmother is in her last days. She has a car payment & a mortgage on her home/property. When she passes I inherit everything (only grandchild). How can I take over the payments so we dont lose the car or property? Can they give me the opportunity to keep making the payments?

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

When a person dies owing property that has debts or mortgages attached to it, that property is said to be "encumbered ”a kind of clunky legal term that often accurately describes how the properties' beneficiaries feel. That's because the debts and liabilities pass to the new owner right along with the property to which they're attached.

First, know that if your grandmother dies with substantial other debts, there is a chance that the house and car will need to be use to settle her estate. When your grandmother dies, there will an accounting and balancing of her debts and property. A legal notice will be posted to alert any additional possible creditors. Then her debts will be paid according to a hierarchy, which may require selling some property to satisfy them. Then the remaining property will be distributed to her beneficiaries-in this case, you.

But if there are no substantial debts, or enough money and other property to satisfy them, then the house and car may become yours"”along with the mortgage and loan still due on them.

When you switch title to the house and car from your grandmother's name into your own name, the title company and car loan holders will usually work with you so you can assume the payments after completing a bit of paperwork"”and in some cases, may even be open to renegotiating the terms if that is your wish.