The CFPB issued an interpretive rule to clarify that when a borrower dies, the name of the borrower’s heir generally may be added to the mortgage without triggering the Bureau’s Ability-to-Repay rule. This clarification will help surviving family members who acquire title to a property to take over the decedent’s mortgage, and to be considered for a loan workout, if necessary, to keep their home.

The interpretive rule explains that because an heir has already acquired the title to the home, adding the heir as a borrower on the mortgage does not trigger the Ability-to-Repay requirements. The rule does not require the creditor to determine the heir’s ability to repay the mortgage before formally recognizing the heir as the borrower. As the named borrower, the heir may more easily be able to obtain account information, pay off the loan, or seek a loan modification. The interpretive rule can also apply to other transfers, including transfers to living trusts, transfers during life from parents to children, transfers resulting from divorce or legal separation, and other family-related transfers.