A home is a sacred place for many people. For the elderly, it may be one last piece of a deceased spouse that they can hold onto.

More and more widows over the age of 50, however, are facing foreclosure as a result of a paperwork glitch. Older women who were not named on a mortgage to begin with cannot take over the mortgage until payments are up-to-date. Sadly, many women find that they are thousands of dollars behind on payments after their husbands have already died.

A 70-year-old Florida woman is hoping to get her mortgage payments lowered after her husband died last year due to kidney failure. However, her payments will remain the same until her name can be added to the mortgage. Unfortunately, she is behind on her mortgage payments and the bank won’t allow her to take over the mortgage until she is current on her payments.

The elderly have been hit particularly hard by the tough economic times. Between 2007 and 2011, foreclosures increased by 23 percent for people over the age of 50, according to AARP.

Dealing with high amounts of debt and impending foreclosure can be stressful for anyone. However, that kind of stress can be particularly difficult for the elderly to deal with. Another Florida woman developed dizzy spells as she tried to save the mobile home she and her late husband shared.

Facing foreclosure can be overwhelming. The thought of losing a home may be frightening. However, legal options exist that effectively stop the foreclosure process. Working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is often highly beneficial, especially in unique situations that many elderly Florida residents have found themselves in.

Source: The New York Times, “Mortgage Catch Pushes Widows Into Foreclosure,” Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Dec. 1, 2012