When your parents pass away, you undoubtedly will have a good many questions. Some of these questions will center around what happens to your parents’ home after they have passed on. There are a number of factors to take into consideration regarding your parents’ residence after they have died.

The Probate Process

The California probate process governs that manner in which a deceased person’s property is disposed of after death. In some cases, a deceased person has a last will and testament. This legal instrument governs the way a person’s property is distributed after death, including real estate. If a person dies without a will, the laws of the state of California direct the way property is distributed following the death of a Californian.

All forms necessary for the different types of probate procedures available in California can be found online. If a probate matter is particularly complex, you may not want to pursue it on your own. You may want to engage the professional services of a skilled, experienced probate attorney.

Joint Ownership With a Right of Survivorship

Another situation that impacts your parents’ real estate after the day is if you or another family member have joint ownership with what is known as a right of survivorship while your parents are living. In other words, you jointly own the residence with your parents while they are living, although they reside in it and you likely do not.

Because of the joint ownership with a right of survivorship, upon the death of your parents, you become the remaining owner of your home. The residence need not even become involved in the probate process to perfect your interest in the property.

What Happens If You Want to Live in Your Deceased Parent’s Mortgaged Home

One of the most common misconceptions associated with what happens to your parent’s home after death involves the existence of a mortgage loan. If you are contemplating moving into your parent’s mortgaged home, you may be like most people and incorrectly presume that you will need to refinance or formally assume the mortgage. While that is logical, that is not what happens if you elect to move into your parent’s mortgage home after he or she dies.

A federal law called the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982 makes it easy for adult children to inherit and then live in a mortgaged home of a deceased parent. Pursuant to the law, you don’t need to refinance the mortgage. You don’t even need to assume the existing loan. All you are required to do is notify your parent’s home mortgage lender that you inherited the residence, will be living in it and will be making the mortgage parents going forward into the future.

A Hoarding Parent

Some adult children are surprised to find that their parents have hoarded. Although this is not common, it does happen. Children that live a distance from their parents may not become immediately aware of that hoarding is occurring.

A trigger point for hoarding by an older person is the death of a spouse. Thus, if you discover after your second parent passes that he or she has been hoarding, this may have been something that started to develop following the passing of your other parent.

On the other hand, you may be like many adult children who were aware that a parent or parents hoarded. You may have even braved the waters and tried to intervene to address the hoarding issue while your parent or parents were still alike. Like many people with a loved one who hoards, you may have had no real luck in addressing the behavior while your parent or parents were living.

When initially confronted with a situation involving hoarding, your first reaction may be something akin to despair. The reality is that a professional hoarding cleanup specialist can help you get the situation under control. This type of professional remediation is particularly vital if your parents’ home is in California and you reside in another state.

A key fact that you need to bear in mind as the child of a hoarding parent is that truly valuable items can be mixed amidst a sea of things of no value or even trash. Thus, it is important that you engage an experienced hoarding cleanup professional who understands the importance of taking a painstaking approach to ensuring that anything of value is identified and stowed safely for you.


Emily Kil

Co-Owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company

Together with her husband, Emily Kil is co-owner of Eco Bear, a leading biohazard remediation company in Southern California. An experienced entrepreneur, Emily assisted in founding Eco Bear as a means of combining her business experience with her desire to provide assistance to people facing challenging circumstances. Emily regularly writes about her first-hand experiences providing services like biohazard cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, unattended death cleanup, and other types of difficult remediations in homes and businesses.