Four things you must do when you've inherited a house
Aug 27, 2016 Posted by Richard Chamberlain

I recently read a very good article written by a mortgage loan originator in Tennessee. The article is entitled "3 Things You Must Do after Inheriting a Home."

The article states that after a home is inherited, there can be a feeling of "acquired wealth," but you still need to assess the situation and take wise steps.

1. Determine the status of the Mortgage. The inheritor needs to determine if there is money owed on the house, and what the options are for either taking over the mortgage or re-financing in a new loan.

2. Determine if you want the House. The inheritor needs to determine whether they would want to live in the house, or keep it as a second property or a rental property. If they already have a residence they want to stay in and don't want the responsibility of maintaining a second property, then they may not want to keep the house.

3. Is it in Good Condition? Depending on the current condition of the property, and how much money would need to be invested in the property to bring it up to a live-able (or a sell-able) condition, the inheritor may not even want to inherit the house at all.


From the legal perspective, it's necessary to add one more very critical thing that must be done. In fact, this needs to be done BEFORE the title to the house is even transferred to the person inheriting the house:

Get the House Insured. The homeowner's insurance on the house applies to the deceased owner. When the house is transferred to the person who inherits the house, the insurance does not transfer as well. If something happened to the property after the transfer (for example, a fire), or if something happened to someone on the property (for example, an injury), then there would not be insurance coverage for the loss or to cover the claim.

Before the Executor or Trustee transfers the title to the house, talk with your personal insurance agent, or the agent who currently has the insurance on the house, and make sure that there will be the right amount and kind of insurance on the house to cover you and the property once the title does transfer. Taking this quick and easy step can save a lot of time, money and headaches down the road.

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Richard Chamberlain Richard M. Chamberlain is the founder and principal attorney of the Chamberlain Law Group, Ltd. and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association section on Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. He has an undergraduate degree in Economics, magna cum laude, from Tulane University (1989) and received his law degree from Florida State University (1992), where he was a member of the Law Review. Richard was born in Port Sulfur, Louisiana (about an hour south of New Orleans – yes, there is land an hour south of New Orleans) in 1967. When he was 3, his family moved to Baton Rouge, where they lived until he was in college at Tulane University in New Orleans. After graduating from Tulane, Richard attended The Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee, Florida, where he earned his law degree in 1992. While practicing law in Tampa, Florida, Richard met a beautiful girl named Kelly Sancraint (a transplant originally from Toledo, Ohio). They were soon married, and as they began their family, they made the decision in 1998 to move back to the Toledo area to be near family. Richard founded his own law practice (“The Law Office of Richard M. Chamberlain, Ltd.”) in Perrysburg, Ohio in 2007, focusing on the practice areas of estate planning and estate administration, business formation and planning, elder law and real estate law. In 2012, with the addition of his first associate attorney, the name of the firm was changed to “Chamberlain Law Group, Ltd.” Richard is a member of WealthCounsel, a cooperative alliance of nationally recognized estate planning attorney members from across the country. as well as being a member of The Rotary Club of Perrysburg and the Perrysburg Chamber of Commerce. Richard also serves on the Board of the Perrysburg Schools Foundation, and he serves in several ministries at CedarCreek Church. Richard and Kelly have 4 daughters, 1 son-in-law, and 1 granddaughter, who keep them both very busy with their varied interests.