Recently I was finishing up a mortgage with a young couple who just had a beautiful baby girl. I brought up the topic of mortgage and life insurance as well as getting a will written up. The response from the husband was that it was such a morbid topic and a real downer. They just wanted to be excited about their new home.
The fact is that people, even young people die from car accidents, cancer, and even accidental drownings while on vacation. It’s a topic everyone avoids but it needs to be addressed, particularly when you are taking a major financial step like buying a home. What would happen to your spouse if you died suddenly with your mortgage not paid off?
I spoke to a major Canadian mortgage company about this topic.
I asked if the surviving spouse would be kicked out of the house. “ When someone dies who was on our mortgage we want to know right away. We ask for a copy of the death certificate so that we can take them off the title. We will let the mortgage run its term if payments are being made on time. Many surviving spouses receive a life insurance policy and can pay off the mortgage or at least keep up the payments. We will renew the mortgage if payments are up to date. However, should the surviving spouse want to refinance the mortgage they would have to re-qualify for it.”
So what can you do to make life easier for your family should you die with a mortgage on your home? The easiest option is to have sufficient life insurance to ensure that they can keep up payments or to pay off the mortgage. Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals all offer MPP (Mortgage Protection Plan), a life insurance policy that pays off the mortgage in full in case of the death of the policyholder. The payments never go up because the mortgage balance is going down as the insured person gets older.
Another option is term insurance or whole life insurance. Speak to your favourite insurance broker about this.
Finally, if the surviving spouse is 55 or older, and they can’t afford to maintain the mortgage, a reverse mortgage may be the solution. No payments are made on the principal unless you decide you want to. When the widow(er) moves out the sale of the home pays off the mortgage and interest.
While it can be a “downer” to talk about death and disability, a responsible home purchaser needs to have the conversation with their Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional at the time of their purchase, refinance or renewal. The sudden death of a family member causes enough grief for the survivors. Why add to their misery? As the old commercial used to say “Why wait for spring, do it now”.