Skip to main content

Can I purchase my mother's home, now that she is deceased and not have it fall under the banks arms length policy?

Loma Linda, CA |

I have been taking care of my mother in her home for almost 5 years. I tried to purchase the home (while she was still alive) but the bank wouldn't let us because of their arms length policy. Does the arms length policy still stand if she is deceased? The house is upside down in value and is an interest only loan.We had to stop paying the mortgage just to get them to talk to us.Ideally my husband and I would like to purchase the home for fair market value with a traditional loan. Unfortunatly my dealings with the bank have gotten me nowhere. I can't even seem to be directed to the right department because the reps keep transferring me all over the place and no one seems to know who I should be talking to. Should I continue to call the bank, or should I call a realestate agent or attorney?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. You need to speak with an experienced probate attorney. Title cannot be transferred from your mother's name to anyone else without going through the procedures that probate attorneys know well. While there are some real estate attorneys who know these procedures, most do not.

    The State Bar's list of Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law is a great place to find local probate attorneys.

    The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

  2. Irrespective of what happened before you mother died, because she died owning the property still, you are going to have to file for Probate to get the authority to handle the property. Do it today because the longer they go without payment, the more likely you will lose the property in foreclosure. Once a probate is opened, banks are more likely to wait or talk to you. Get a referral to an attorney in your county today. Often, an attorney will do an initial consultation free.

    If you liked this answer, click on the thumbs up or vote it best answer! Thanks. Eliz. C. A. Johnson Post Office Box 8 Danville, California 94526-0008 Legal disclaimer: I do not practice law in any state but California. As such, any responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to a general understanding of law in California and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as legal advice can only be provided in circumstances in which the attorney is able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather appropriate information.

  3. If your Mother owned a home and did not have a Revocable Living Trust, then her estate must be probated. If she had a Will, then the Will must be probated. If she didn't have a Will, then her estate must be probated intestate. You should consult an attorney to begin the probate of her estate. If you are her sole heir, then the home will pass to you subject to the debt through the probate process. Once you are named as the executor (if she has a will) or the administrator (if she does not) and Letters Testamentary are issued to you by the Probate Court in the County in which your Mother resided, the Bank will talk to you. The Bank is most likely not talking to you, because they are not the ones who will sell the home and they need to be able to talk to the appropriate party , who now owns the home.. Your Mother's estate is the owner of the home.

  4. While there are many probate issues relating to your situation (for which you should get professional assistance), the core to your question has to do with buying the house and obtaining the bank's consent. We've dealt with several situations like this and have found banks far more willing to work with children or other relatives after the death of the owner. Each bank's policies are unique so there are no guarantees but the perspective does change. Continue to work with the bank as you'll need their approval while you get assistance working on the probate issues. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

    Good luck!

Real estate topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics