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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5422
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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I am enquiring whether I am entitled to some sort of compensation

Customer Question

I am enquiring whether I am entitled to some sort of compensation from my mortgage provider. My husband passed away nearly 6 years ago. At the time, I rang my mortgage provider and informed them. I sent through a copy of the death certificate and coroners report. He died of a brain aneurysm. They told me that they would give me a 3 month grace period as the mortgage documents stated. Unfortunately, they did not honour this, and I received a default notice. They told me not to worry, it was just a formality. A month after his passing I began making repayments again but 5 weeks later, they had instructed their lawyers to send a sheriff to enforce a writ of summons demanding the house. I informed the sheriff of my situation, he instructed me not to sign anything. My sister helped to pay the outstanding amount which was just over $4000. However, the mortgage company did not believe my husband had died and began calling the house asking to speak to him! They even asked my 5 year old daughter to put her daddy on the phone and told her to stop lying! She was distraught as was I! They believed I had forged the death certificate and coroners report to get out of my mortgage! They did not recognise his death until 2013! They then back dated it to 2011, which was still 2 years after the fact!
I have been diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety and PTSD following my husband's death. My daughter has as well. I went through a law firm when I was very unwell and they told me they could not help me. The Credit Ombudsmen said that I do not have a leg to stand on! Can mortgage companies do as they please, bully people and make people physically ill and get away with it without any repercussions? I was left widowed with 3 children under 5 when they tried to rip my home away from us! I am still suffering, the phone rings and I am terrified to answer it because it may be these people bullying me yet again. I still have my mortgage with them as I am unable to change lenders due to not being able to work because of my PTSD. Please help!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 2 years ago.
Unfortunately, if money is owed under a mortgage the lender is under no obligation to defer mortgage repayments or offer any relief whatsoever. Your husbands obligation to repay the mortgage during his life passes to his estate afterwards, and whilst it is usual for a lender to allow some period for those managing the estate, the executor of his will or for an administrator to be appointed so that arrangements can be made for the mortgage to be paid from a new source, at the end of the day, if such payments are not possible or are not arranged, the lender is within their rights to foreclose on the mortgage and repossess the property.
Your situation is not uncommon where a family's main financial provider passes away, and for this reason it is usually prudent for a person in that situation to maintain life insurance. Even if your husband did not directly hold a life insurance policy, if he had superannuation it is commonly the case that life insurance may be held within his life insurance so be diligent in checking what super your husband may have held as super funds are often a good way to deal with short term financial problems that attach to the sudden death of a family's provider.
I appreciate that this experience has been extremely stressful for you and your family, and that the above answer is not what you wanted to hear, but it does reflect the law as it applies to your situation, and I hope at least assists your understanding.
Please rate my answer.
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 2 years ago.
I note that you have not yet rated my answer.
I appreciate it was not what you were wanting to hear but I have addressed your question at some length so kindly rate my answer so that I can be paid for my services.
Thank you,