The last thing most people think about when closing their home is what happens in the event of their death. Wall Street Journal staffer Anya Martin takes a look at the steps that you should take so that in the unfortunate event of your death, the mortgage will be less of a burden to your loved ones.
Lenders' policies vary but if the borrower dies, call them and see if they will allow you to assume the mortgage. If the deceased was the sole borrower they may not, but even if the survivor and deceased were co-borrowers, they may not allow the survivor to take over on the same terms if they were not a breadwinner:
“At the very least, they will want the surviving spouse to demonstrate equal creditworthiness.” That may not be a problem for nonworking survivors if the breadwinner bought life insurance or left a 401(k) or other inheritance. But many lenders still will require a refinance to confirm that the heir can afford mortgage payments.