Q: My mother-in-law left her house to my husband when she died in January. We’ve been living in the house since April, making the mortgage payments on time. Probate is now over and the deed is now in both of our names.
Since we’ve been paying the mortgage for 7 months (which is still in my mother-in-law’s name) we get the tax break, right?
A: My condolences on the loss of your mother-in-law. You should get a tax break for the amount of interest you’ve paid so far this year, even if your mother-in-law’s name is on the mortgage.
Now that the home is yours, you use the home as your primary residence and you could lose the home if the mortgage is not paid, you should be able to take the deduction for the home mortgage interest you pay. For more information you can look at Publication 936 on the Internal Revenue web site at www.irs.gov. You might want to consult with an accountant on the timing of the deductions in case there are any other issues relating to the your mother-in-law’s will and the payments made by the estate during the time the home was still owed by the estate before you received title to the home.
One last item: be aware that for many Americans taking the standard deduction may still be a better deal than taking the home mortgage interest deduction.
Nov. 26, 2008.