Question: My husband owns his parents’ former home. He is refinancing his mortgage. He is the only borrower. But the closing attorney says I need to attend and sign the mortgage. My name is not on the deed, so why do I need to sign?
Answer: Your signature is required on the mortgage. You only need to release your homestead rights to the property, in favor of the lender. As a spouse of the owner, you have a legally protected right to reside in the home. To secure its rights, the lender wants nothing to stand in its way. That includes you.
Don’t worry, though. By signing the mortgage, you will not inherit the debt. You are not the borrower.
We often incorrectly say “we are getting a mortgage from the bank.” In reality, we “get a loan” from the bank and “give a mortgage” back. Your husband is getting the loan and giving the mortgage to the bank. You are simply subordinating your homestead rights to the lender’s foreclosure rights.
Attorney James Haroutunian practices real-estate law, estate planning and business matters in Billerica at 790 Boston Road. Contact him with questions at 978-671-0711, www.hlawoffice.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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