As the public becomes increasingly educated about the consequences of placing the names of both spouses on any kind of contract, Americans are becoming savvier about how their assets, debts and real property will be treated in the event of divorce, death or bankruptcy. However, this knowledge has only been widely available arguably since the advent of the Internet. Prior to the Web’s interconnecting presence, this knowledge remained largely in the hands of financial experts.
Widows Facing Foreclosure
As a result, an increasing number of widows are finding themselves facing foreclosure as a result of a fine-print contractual issue. When these women purchased their homes with their husbands, the property was placed in their husbands’ names in accordance with the custom and wisdom of the day. Once their husbands had died, they were stunned to discover that they could not modify or transfer their property easily due to the fact that their names were not on the deed.
When individuals fall behind on their mortgage payments, an array of options is ordinarily available to them. Many can secure loan modifications or partial loan forgiveness. Others will choose to file for bankruptcy and may or may not keep their home in the process. When widows find themselves without immediate legal entitlement to their property, it becomes more difficult to react in any productive way to delinquent mortgage payments.
This problem is especially concerning because in order to take over a mortgage after a spouse’s death, most lenders require borrowers to be current on their payments. Once a widow’s husband dies, it can only take a few short months of trying to make heads or tails of the finances before the payments are so late that she cannot make them up or legally take over the mortgage.
Several organizations are currently attempting to alter this loophole in order to give widows some relief and control over their financial situations. Until that loophole is closed however, widows in challenging financial predicaments should consult experienced attorneys who can help them navigate their options.
Contact our foreclosure attorneys today for a FREE consultation.
Source: New York Times, “Mortgage Catch Pushes Widows Into Foreclosure”