Q: Is it better to handle your own escrow account or let the mortgage company handle your escrow?

A: I think it’s better to be in control of your own cash all the time. So, I prefer to escrow my own money for my real estate tax bill and pay my own insurance premium. That way, I earn the interest on my money, and I know for sure that the tax bill has been paid.

But a lot of people see it differently. They prefer to pay a mortgage company to do this for them because this way, the money really gets set aside, and they don’t have to scramble when the tax bill arrives.

(I think these folks are people who also prefer to overpay Uncle Sam so they get a “refund” in the spring.)

You should do what works best for you. But remember, the responsibility for getting your real estate taxes paid is ultimately on your shoulders. If you choose to have the mortgage company escrow the taxes, be sure to get a duplicate copy of the bill sent to you and then check to be sure the taxes have been paid.

Dec. 22, 2003.