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If three people are on a will and left a house, can two of the three take out a reverse mortgage without the other's consent?

Concord, CA |

My Grandmother left the home my Grandfather built to 3 of her daughters when she passed away 5 years ago. Since then, one of the three daughters has taken out a reverse mortgage on the house. The second of the three signed over her portion to the first, however the thrid was never consulted. How is this possible and what can we do?

Basically, one of my aunts had control of her trust and towards the very end, rewrote almost everything to the point where all the life insurance, the business my grandmother owned, and nearly all of her belongings were left to her. The house some how (thank goodness) was still left to 3 of the sisters, including this one (evil) aunt. The first and second sister are living in the house. The second sister signed over her portion to the first and the third was never consulted. Yes, there was probate and just the first of the sister's is on the deed. However all three should have been put on it.

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Attorney answers 7


How was title held? This is also strange because reverse mortgages require the person to own and occupy the property. More facts are necessary. What happened after Grandma's death? Was there a probate? If so, what did the order say regarding distribution? If joint tenancy, who was on the deed? Who is living in the house?

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As my colleague points out, there are several issues here, but based on your additional information, if only one person now has title to the property and met the criteria for a reverse mortgage, she acted within her rights.

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I have a feeling the mortgage holder would want to get consent from all three, as the two CAN reverse mortgage their own shares, but cannot reverse mortgage the third party's share.

Title is also an issue. Presuming that title was tranferred from a probate to the three as tenants in common, and even if it was held as JTROS, the above analysis would stand. If its something oddball, then the outcome may be different.

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If there was a probate case, the result of that case should be the determining factor. In the facts given, it sounds like the result was that only one person was put on title to the property, making her the sole owner. An attorney would have to review the probate case order to determine if a mistake was made somewhere in that process.

The information above should not be considered legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


This matter sounds similar to a previous question. If the house was not distributed as per the probate court orders, then you need to take action against the person who did not do what needed to do. You need to do it now. You need to see an attorney on this.


I agree with my colleagues. You have a complex situation and you need to consult with a probate attorney who can review all relevant documents. I share Mr. Johnson's sentiments regarding the mortgage lender. I do not know of any lenders that would make a loan that binds less than all owners of the property. This would severely diminish their security. Something does not sound right.

James Frederick

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A lot makes no sense - A Will means nothing unless it is probated with a court and an Executor issued letters Testamentary giving such party the authority to act for the Estate. Accordingly, a beneficiary could not unilaterally encumber the estate property by putting a mortgage on it and the bank would be looking to deal with the appointed Executor - not a mere who is the Executor of the estate? That is the party you need to get information from (who has legal duties) and then decide what to do next to protect your interests. This most definitely will require a probate attorney.

My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.

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