Widows Forced Into Foreclosure by Mortgage Rules

Fine print keeps them from taking over the house

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 2, 2012 5:00 PM CST

(Newser) – The housing crisis may be ebbing, but a particularly vulnerable group is falling into foreclosure because of the fine print on mortgages, the New York Times reports. Widows are finding that they can't take over the mortgage—which is usually in their husband's name—without being up-to-date on payments. But they're often thousands of dollars behind, especially if their spouse suffered a long illness. And if they can't take over, banks usually force them into foreclosure.

In fact, homeowners older than 50 are facing foreclosure more than any age group, which reflects other scary trends, like growing medical costs and reduced pensions. Some banks are helping by bending mortgage rules, and housing advocates say most widows they represent are staying in their foreclosed homes. But widows tell the Times about their confusion, stress, and dizzy spells in trying to deal with banks. "I keep praying," says a 70-year-old Florida woman who hasn't been able to take over the mortgage—even though her husband died of kidney failure last year.

Widows are particularly vulnerable to foreclosure, in part because of the fine print on mortgages.
Widows are particularly vulnerable to foreclosure, in part because of the fine print on mortgages.   (Shutterstock)
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