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Daniel Cohen
UpdatedNov 29, 2010
Key Takeaways:
  • A will or trust controls how a person's estate is settled.
  • You can pay a mortgage in your lifetime.
  • Consult with an attorney in your state who has experience in wills.

Is it possible to pay off a mortgage in one's lifetime? What happens to a property when a homeowner dies?

1. Can the mortgage be paid off while we are still living if we choose to? 2. Who puts the house for sale, is it the bank or the heirs?

To answer your question directly, yes, you can pay a mortgage in your lifetime. As long as your mortgage doesn't have a pre-payment penalty clause in effect, you can pay the balance off in full, whenever you want.

Typical mortgages end when the homeowner makes payment No. 360. In other words, if you took out a 30-year mortgage (which has 360 payments) when you were 32 years of age, and never missed a payment, refinanced, or sold your house, your house would be paid for when you were 62 years of age. In this hypothetical situation, you would own the house free and clear. If you made additional payments during the 30-year period you would pay off the mortgage even sooner.

Regarding your second question, I assume you mean to ask, "If a homeowner dies before a mortgage is paid, who or what sells the property?" The answer to your question is complicated. Generally speaking, how the property is titled controls who takes the property upon the owner’s death. If the title of the property is in your name only, then your will controls who gets your property. If you have no will, the laws of your state control who gets your property.

A will or trust controls how a person’s estate is settled. (An "estate" is all of the assets owned by the descendant.) If there is no will or trust, the court will follow its state statutes and common law for settling the estate. These vary, but generally speaking a spouse will receive half, and surviving children split the other half. However, as I hinted earlier, each state has its own rules of intestate succession, and an attorney can advise you on the rights of your heirs.

The executor (if there is a will) or administrator (if there is no will) is responsible for carrying out the tasks in the will, and managing the financial affairs of the estate during this process. It is the responsibility of the executor or administrator to pay the mortgage during the probate process and distributing the assets of the estate. Ultimately, the executor and administrator work for the court and are employed until all claims are resolved and all property is distributed.

Consult with an attorney in your state who has experience in wills, estates, and trusts. He or she will give you more information about your rights in your state.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.




jjoe, Jan, 2011
Bankruptcy occurs when your liabilities are greater than your assets; basically when you cannot pay your debts as and when they fall due. There are three ways to be made bankrupt. You can apply to be made bankrupt yourself, known as Voluntary bankruptcy, a company that you owe at least £750 to can make you bankrupt, known as involuntary bankruptcy or you can be made bankrupt by the supervisor of an IVA or the Trustee of a Trust Deed.