Home Mortgages After Death
Average life expectancy rates are increasing, and so are the circumstances in which mortgages are being carried into retirement and outstanding balances remain after death. Planning for property ownership and debt responsibilities before passing them on to loved ones is more important than ever.
Transfer of Mortgage Ownership
What happens to personal property or real property such as a home after a person dies is complicated. If there is a will and the home is designated to a person in the will, that person (the heir) receives the home. If a person dies without a will then intestate law applies, which follows familial lineage guidelines. This means the home is designated to a spouse, state-registered domestic partner, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt and uncle or niece and nephew, in that order, depending on state law.
Sometimes a will is not enough. The decedent’s property first must satisfy any remaining debts, even if the mortgage is paid off. If the decedent has enough liquid assets to pay off the mortgage, the bank will “forgive” the debt and the heir will receive the home without debt owed. However, if there are not enough liquid assets to pay off the mortgage after death, the heir can either take over the loan, refinance the loan in the heir’s name, or perform a reverse mortgage.
Deed, Title Transfer, or Co-Signers
A person’s name on a deed, title transfer or mortgage co-signer will come into play legally after death, so eliminate confusion for your loved ones and ensure the names on the will match those on the deed and mortgage.
Why is this important?
Death is an emotional time. Adding the stress of what happens to the home, debts, and personal property can all be eliminated by creating a My Life & Wishes plan. It’s your life, but it’s their future. Make sure it’s a happy one.
Beneficiaries miss out on life insurance benefits all too often. The odds that you're owed money from a lost, forgotten or unknown policy are about one in 600. Besides life insurance, there may be other assets a deceased person might have that family members may be totally unaware of. Without an organized list, your loved ones and beneficiaries may be missing out.
In a recent report we touched on the importance of keeping certain financial documents. Today, we are taking a deeper dive into what you should keep and for how long. We'll also give you suggestions on where to store documents, and when they are no longer needed, how to get rid of them.
In a recent report, Care.com talked about the importance of end-of-life planning and included My Life and Wishes as the “best on-line end-of-life planning and document service(s)”. In a related Article, Kim Komando names My Life and Wishes as one of her top picks on organizing end-of-life plans.
What information do people need to access in emergency situations? A trip to the ER may require: List of allergies, current medications, medical history, doctor contacts, family contacts, insurance information, photo identification. A fire or natural disaster may require: Identification documents, insurance documents, proof of ownership (such as deeds or titles), access to bank accounts for emergency cash, pet location information, medical information and family contact information. So where do you keep this information? Is it accessible and is it secure?