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Real Property Law

Cal. Real. Prop. Journal 2015, Vol. 33, No. 2

The "Widows & Orphans" Problem: The Improper Exclusion of Successors-in-Interest from the Loss Mitigation Process

By Brittany McCormick

©2015 All Rights Reserved.

I. INTRODUCTION: THE PROBLEM

We are witnessing the first stirrings of a hidden foreclosure crisis that will steadfastly worsen as the baby boom generation ages.1 Surviving spouses and children are inheriting mortgaged homes, where they often resided with the now-deceased borrower. Mortgage servicers, however, are preventing these heirs from accessing loan information, becoming borrowers themselves, and modifying mortgages.2 Eighty-year-old Aurora MacDula encountered these difficulties after her husband passed away, leaving her title to their home in Vallejo, California.3 Her husband had mortgaged the home in his name only, so Wells Fargo representatives refused to answer Ms. MacDula’s questions about resuming loan payments, as she was not a borrower on the note. Only the advocacy of her local legal aid office allowed her to ultimately negotiate a trial period plan, the first step toward a permanent loan modification.4

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