Here's what people assume, based on the traditional model, is going to happen when someone does their estate planning: They'll pay off the mortgage, retire, live in the home without payments until they pass away and then leave the home to their heirs debt-free.
This is what people often strive for, and it's what does happen in many cases. However, some statistics show that a lot of people are going to pass away while they still have an outstanding mortgage.
For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that 30% of people in the United States who are from 65 years old to 74 years old still have an active mortgage loan. Those who are 75 years old and even older still have mortgages at a rate of 14%.
That's an issue in a world where the U.S. life expectancy is about 78.6 years old. You can see that a lot of people still have a mortgage as they approach that crucial age. Plus, many people pass away before the average life expectancy. There are no guarantees in life, so having a mortgage in your 60s and 70s raises some important questions, such as:
- Should you sell your home?
- Do your heirs want the home?
- Can they afford to take over the mortgage?
- Is it financially viable to leave your home to your children at all?
Estate planning means looking at both assets and debts. While a home is traditionally a major asset, yours may not be as valuable if you have a mortgage. Make sure you know what steps to take and what options you have.