reverse mortgage power of attorney questions and answers

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Reverse Mortgage POA

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Question From Freddie T. on 11/29/2018

My mom couldn't read or write her brother was POA for her medical & financial, 2008 he opened a reverse mortgage for over $300,000.00. Then from 2009 over 2 years he didn't visit her nor monitor that loan now during his absent every crooked contractor took advantage of an elderly and her home was just rebuilt from just the foundation. All the money spent, didn't my uncle have responsibility and duty because I feel it's his fault.

Expert Answer

Hi Freddie,

This is a question for an attorney, not a lender.  This is pertaining to the duties and obligations of one individual who acts on behalf of another and I honestly cannot advise you in this area.  I do wish your mom the best.

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Question From D Richard on 11/28/2018

Can a son that has power of attorney put his fathers home up for sale before his father dies ? The father is the mortgage holder in the hospital.

Expert Answer

Good Afternoon,

This is a question for a real estate attorney as it deals with the legal abilities of the power of attorney (POA), not a reverse mortgage.  It all depends on the POA and how it was prepared.  Some grant power under different circumstances, some are limited and some are general with no limitations.  Your POA may require your father to be declared incapacitated and it may allow you to step in at this time – but it might also limit what you can and cannot do.  You really need to have your particular document reviewed to determine under what circumstances you can act and what acts have been granted to you under the document.

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Question From Irene R. on 10/09/2018

I am applying for a reverse mortgage for my mom as POA. The closing attorney and lender is telling that they need to meet my mom to verify that she is in deed alive and the closing attorney needs to file an affidavit of such. Is this true?

Expert Answer

HUD has some very specific requirements for the use of a Power of Attorney (POA) which you can find in the HUD manual.  Their requirements will differ based on whether the borrower has or lacks legal competency.  HUD does not have a specific requirement that the lender or the closing attorney meet the borrower however, the closing agent and the lender are absolutely responsible to determine that they have a valid transaction. 

For example, if a POA is being used because the borrower lacks competency, there are letters required from the borrowers’ physician etc. that often require a current evaluation from that physician.  And although I said that HUD did not have a requirement that the closing agent or the lender meet the borrower, HUD does also state that “The durable power of attorney must comply with state laws regarding signatures, notarization, witnesses and recordation”.

There is a very real possibility that in your state, the laws require the closing agent to meet your mom for the final step, even if HUD does not specifically require it in order for it to be valid.  If so, this would be a legal requirement of your state and on that I could not comment.  If you are concerned that you may not be getting accurate information, you may want to contact another closing attorney to request a second opinion.

But one thing you need to remember is that there may be something or a series of circumstances that has alerted the lender or closing agent or both to the possibility of an issue.  If they have any reason to believe that mom is not living in the property or has passed, it is their duty to verify the information. 

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Question From Pam T. on 8/31/2018

Can I get a reverse mortgage on mum's house as power of attorney and executor. Mum is in age care. I'm on a disability pension and finding it hard to pay bills etc as I. I have been living in the home for years.

Expert Answer

Hello Pam,

There is no provision for disability in the program, all borrowers must be at least 62 years of age to be eligible for a reverse mortgage.  If the title to the property is solely in your mom’s name, she must occupy the home as her primary residence in order for her to get the reverse mortgage and even then, when mom passed, the loan would become due and payable so I don’t know if that is the best option for you if you wanted to stay in the home beyond that time. 

If you are also 62 years of age and also on title (not just the power of attorney), then you certainly can get a reverse mortgage on the home with both of you (there are additional steps you need to take as the Power of Attorney) because you would be occupying the home as your primary residence and would meet the program parameters.

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Question From Al C. on 8/30/2018

Hello, my mother who has just turned 92 has a reverse mortgage on her primary residence in Ct. In June of 18, due to my mother's declining health, mental status and inability to care for herself or her property, I brought her to my home in Florida to care for her. Her mental status declined very rapidly and is currently on Hospice for Dementia and unable to verbally communicate at all. As her Durable Power of Attorney, I have notified the reverse mortgage company of this situation. In view of the fact that she will not be returning to her home state until after her passing, I cancelled her cable tv and internet phone service in early August of 18 and had a friend go to her home and retrieve the equipment to return to the cable company within 30 days of the cancellation so she would not be charged for the equipment. Upon entering her home, he found that the basement door into the main level of her residence had been forced inwards from the basement area and broken from the hinges, that the thermostat controls in her home which control her furnace have been removed from their affixed wall locations and it appeared that the home had been ransacked. I am at a loss as to how to deal with situation at this time and would simply like to allow the reverse mortgage company to take over the property. I am currently working at getting her into a full time care facility. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

Expert Answer

Hello Al,

I am sorry to hear all this.  The first thing you should do is secure the home.  I am sure mom has other items in the home as well and it would probably not be very expensive to have someone go to the home and secure it to limit your liability and to protect any other belongings that mom has still in the home.  The next thing I would suggest but is entirely up to you would be to determine if mom has any equity in the property.  I would tell you to contact a senior real estate professional in mom’s area and determine a most likely sales price and compare that to the amount owed on the home.  You can compare that value to mom’s most recent reverse mortgage statement and if there is equity in the property, then I would proceed to work with the real estate professional to sell the home.  All this can be done by phone and usually in a day or two at most.

The reason I say a senior real estate specialist is because they often also work with estates and many can help conduct an estate sale for you after you determine what personal or other items you want from mom’s home, if any.  I have worked with senior real estate professionals who set up the sales and then donate anything that doesn’t sell by the last day of the sale, have the house cleared of all remaining items and debris (if any) and then sold the home without the family even having to be in the area.  If there is still equity in the home, you might as well receive the benefit of it as you may need it for mom.

If this is not the case, or there is no equity left, then you can contact the lender and let them know that mom is no longer in the property and you do not wish to keep the home.  They will begin taking steps to accelerate the Note but you need to remember that until the lender takes the home back, mom or her estate may still liable if anyone is injured on the property, etc. and that’s why securing the home is pretty important.  If you have a neighbor’s information or other friend of your mom’s in the area that you can call, they may be willing to help you by acting as a local contact for a handyman or other entity to just make sure the property is secure by installing locks/doors, etc.  Then the lender could proceed and you could take whatever time allotted to remove any remaining effects of mom’s that you want to keep.  If you do find that there is equity and are going to sell the home, the real estate professional would probably be able to order the service to secure the home for you.  In any case, I wish you the best.

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Question From Leticia S. on 6/13/2018

My mother has dementia and my father does not both are on the deed how does he get a reverse mortgage is she can't sign she never gave her power to anyone

Expert Answer

Hello Leticia,

In a case such as this, your father can go to court and have himself appointed as her conservator which can be used for reverse mortgage purposes.  If they seek out free legal aid or assistance, they may be able to do the entire transaction with minimal costs but it does take longer.  Be sure that dad knows the conservatorship must specifically state that he has the right to sign for her in order to place the reverse mortgage on the home and so he should inform the judge of this when the conservatorship is granted so that it can be included in the language.

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Question From Chrissy on 4/24/2018

Hello.My mom took out a RM back in 2009.She has me as her poa for finances & health.Mom is currently in a rehab facility after taking a fall. She may be able to come home & will need to hire skilled nursing as it’s her wish to remain at home as long as she can afford to pay for the care, then most likely have to go to a facility. My question is my mom asked me to request $ from her line of credit to give to me to pay her bills while she’s in rehab. I sent the form in 9 days ago & the rm called mom’s house wanting to speak with her but because she’s not able to talk to them (she’s in the hospital & not at home) would I be able to call them back & tell them I am mom’s POA so they should deal with me? What if they refuse to speak to me & only request to speak to my mom?? She really needs those funds so her bills get paid. Please advise.

Expert Answer

Hi Chrissy,

The reverse mortgage rules have safeguards in place so that mom’s equity through the reverse mortgage is not easily accessed by others.  If you used the Power of Attorney (POA) to close the loan and the lender has this information, then there should be no issues whatsoever.  However, if mom closed the loan on her own and you wish to now introduce the POA to request funds, there are rules and procedures that you must follow so that the lender and HUD are sure they give adequate protections to mom’s mortgage and thus her equity.  This would mirror the approval requirements that would have had to be met when the loan was closed if a POA was being used at that time and it includes Doctor’s letters, etc.

However, mom can still request an advance if she is just convalescing from a fall at this time and retains mental capacity.  She would make the same request as usual.  If however you need to take the steps to have the POA approved for possible future use, you should possibly consider contacting them now anyway and beginning the process while mom does not require a POA but it is a convenience.

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Question From Donald on 2/12/2018

If the person with reverse mortgage gives power of attorney to relative does the relative owe the house of just take over payments?

Expert Answer

Hi Donald,

You should speak with an attorney to be sure you fully understand the full effect of any Power of Attorney (POA) you sign to anyone.  There are different types of POA’s and some give different authority than others.  A POA allows one party to act on behalf of another subject to the terms outlined in the POA.  This might be for financial reasons, it could be health related and it could just be for cases when you are not in the area and an action needs to be taken in your absence.

A POA does not transfer ownership in a property nor does it bind the recipient to make any payments on a property.  Granting a POA is a very serious decision and you should discuss this with your attorney and any trusted family members/financial advisors to determine that a POA is right for you and under what circumstances.  A POA can be a very useful document but remember that it has to be granted while the Grantor still retains capacity to do so.  In other words, you can’t wait until after something happens in many instances or the POA may not be valid.  Many families do not make considerations for wills, POA’s and other instructions until after it is too late and it makes it harder on loved ones. 

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Question From Lynda on 1/30/2018

My mother is 88 yrs old with Alzheimer's. Her care has taken a financial toll on her savings. However she is in good health for an 88 yr old.The family has continued to keep her at home with a caregiver for which we now need to make decisions on how to pay for. Her two sons are the POAs. The house is only deeded in her name. Can the POAs take a RM on the house? If they are allowed to do so what is their responsibility for re-paying the loan? Is the home owner considered the borrower or are the 2 sons considered the borrowers? The sons are both over 62, but as I stated not on the deed or living in the house.

Expert Answer

Hi Lynda,

We have written an entire article about when and how a Power of Attorney can be used and you can access that article here. The loan is in the homeowner’s name (your mom) with your brothers signing as her POA.  The only liability is the property and you all as the heirs must decide at the end of the loan what you want to do with the property, sell it, pay off the loan and keep it or just walk away and let the lender take it but there is never any personal liability and no other recourse.

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Question From Annette C. on 12/07/2017

My husband was willed and inherited his mother home and is her power of attorney! He later finds out she took a reverse mortgage out on the home. In 2000 the will was made etc. In 2007 is when she took reverse mortgage out. After she passed in Feb 2017 he started getting all kinds of papers in the mail from different mortgages saying they owed the house. So one of them said we had court Nov 2 2017 we didn't go and didn't hear nothing from that point on except Champion mortgage sent us paperwork saying they took over Wells Fargo and would acquirer our loan. So tell how we had a process server saw our locks off our door and tell us to leave it's only been 30 days after court date, got no notice to vacate no notice they got judgement what do we do? Also they did not sit ALL OUR belonging outside?

Expert Answer

Hello Annette,

I have to tell you firstly that we are not licensed to give legal advice and even at that, I don’t know the location of the property and every state has their own laws regarding foreclosure so unfortunately, I can’t begin to tell you what was done, how it should be done or the notice requirements.  I can tell you that I think you may have missed your window to protect your rights though, especially if a foreclosure has already been completed.  At this point in time, I would strongly suggest that you immediately contact legal representation in the area where the property is located to determine that all of your rights have been protected but let me tell you what I fear.

If you did not answer all (or any) of the notices that you received after the borrower passed, the lender would assume that the borrower’s heirs were not interested in retaining the home or making arrangements to pay off the loan and would begin foreclosure proceedings (you said you began to receive all kinds of notices but you don’t mention anything about contacting them to make arrangement to pay off the loan).  In fact, you mentioned that you received notice of a court date and did not attend.  That appearance was your opportunity to plead your case to the court to avoid foreclosure, obtain additional time or become fully notified of the coming actions.  When you say you received no notice, I fear the court date may have been your opportunity to obtain notice and you forfeited that opportunity by choosing to not show up.

With regard to foreclosure proceedings and handling of personal property left in the home, every state and possibly even county has their own laws and requirements for how this has to be handled.  Again, I strongly suggest you seek legal counsel and if you feel you cannot afford an attorney, then I would suggest you check with free legal aid options in your area, to make sure that the lender did not violate any of your rights.  You may have missed your window and it may be too late to do anything now, but you won’t know that unless you check with the proper source and the sooner the better.

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Question From Jackie on 11/27/2017

Can I get a reverse mortgage on my mothers home who resides with me as her durable power of attorney?

Expert Answer

Hi Jackie,

I’m not sure I understand the question fully based on the way it is asked.  Does your mom reside with you in your home or in hers?   If you are both living in your mom’s home, your mom can get a reverse mortgage if she is over 62 and as long as you follow the HUD rules for their use, you can use a power of attorney for the transaction.  There are different requirements depending on whether mom is incapacitated and competent or is incompetent.  You must remember though that the reverse mortgage is only valid for as long as mom is still living in the home and so if this is the home you both live in, you need to make plans for what you will do when the loan becomes due and payable when mom no longer lives there if you still plan to make that your home after that event occurs.

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Question From Miles D. on 6/07/2017

My mom has a reverse mortgage . She is terminally ill. I am the power of attorney. Can we sell the home, and she keep proceeds ? May I act on her behalf? Thanks

Expert Answer

Hello Miles,

The reverse mortgage is just a loan/lien against the home and does not help or hinder your right to sell the home or retain the proceeds.  If your mom granted you documents that would allow it without a reverse mortgage, you can do it with one.  You would just sell the home the same as with any other loan and pay off the loan with the proceeds.

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Question From Joe G on 5/30/2017

My mother did a trust and poa. To protect my sister who was terminally ill. After my sister's passing and unknown to the rest of the family my mother did a reverse mortgage. None of this was disclosed to the lender would I be able to contester reverse mortgage. Thank you for your time

Expert Answer

Hi Joe,

Firstly, I am not an attorney and I would suggest you contact legal representation to get a solid answer if you are concerned about legal rights. Especially since I don't think I understand your question. I can't tell if you are saying that your mom got a reverse mortgage on her own home after she implemented a trust and a power of attorney meant to protect your sister or if she was named as the POA of your sister (her daughter), was named in your sister's trust and obtained your sister's property as a result of her passing. 

If it was your mom's property, I don't know why any of the rest of the situation would matter, mom doesn't need any of your approvals to do a reverse mortgage on her own home.  If you are concerned that she obtained the property by way of fraud, then an attorney would have to advise you there.  I honestly have no idea if the courts would allow you to invalidate a lien that was placed in good faith or if they would require you to seek recourse from your mom if it was determined that you should have gotten something from your sister that your mom denied you from getting due to an action she took that she should not have taken.  

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Question From Donna S. on 9/21/2016

My brothers are POA's on my mother,ss home. Her health is failing and in the event of her death will they be able to access her reverse mortgage funds to make improvements to the home so we will be able to get it ready to sell?

Expert Answer

Hi Donna,

No funds are available to heirs or anyone else once the last borrower permanently leaves the home.  Your brothers cannot request funds from the reverse mortgage after your mom passes.

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Question From Louann on 12/02/2015

My aunt is last one to leave home for nursing home for medical reason. Her son has power of attorney, is it his responsibility to notify bank.

Expert Answer

Hi Louann,

My advice is that your family has a quick meeting of the minds to decide what you want to do before making that notification.  I can't tell you whose responsibility it is to notify the lender that your aunt is no longer living in the property, but I can tell you that when they do make this discovery, there will be a decision to make and if you are prepared before the bank begins to put time limits on you, you will be ahead of the game. 

For example, the family will need to decide if they are going to keep the home of sell it.  Either way, you should contact a local realtor and find out the current value of the home.  If the balance of the reverse mortgage is lower than the current value, then you can sell the home and keep the equity or refinance the loan with a new loan in one or more of the heir's name(s).  If the balance is higher than the current value, you can choose to pay off the current loan at the balance owing on the current mortgage or 95% of the current market value, whichever is less (the lender and HUD will have to agree on the value but that will be determined by appraisal).  If you do not wish to try to sell the home because the balance owed is higher than the current value and no one wants to keep it, then you also have the option to walk away from the house with no recourse to any of the heirs or your aunt's other assets.

But you really should know what your plans are before you contact the lender because you may need to remove your aunt's personal belongings from the home, you may need to begin a loan application for the heir that wishes to keep the property or you may need to just have the knowledge to know what's best for you and your family.  Once you know what you want to do, someone needs to contact the lender and let them know of the circumstances so that you can make a plan of action that may include a payoff of the loan through a sale or refinance or possibly a deed in lieu of foreclosure with you deeding the property back to the lender in order to relieve yourself of the hassle.  In any event, there is no responsibility that the lender can assign to any particular family member to say that they should have notified the bank and anyone in the family can notify the lender.

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Question From Donna on 4/15/2012

What are the requirements for a power of attorney to apply for reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hello Donna, 

The answer to your question depends on a couple of things, the reason for the Power of Attorney (POA) and the lender who will be funding the loan (HUD has basic guidelines but lenders can and often do interpret the guidelines a bit differently from lender to lender or add some additional documentation requirements of their own).  But you have two different reasons for borrowers using a power of attorney.  One is incompetency and the other is for facilitation. 

HUD and lenders do allow a POA to be used if a borrower is incompetent however, there are very specific guidelines that must be met.  Firstly, the POA must be a durable POA that was written with the specific intent to survive any incapacity.  It must have been drawn up and signed by the borrower when they still had the legal capacity to understand the instrument and therefore, lenders and HUD will require the borrower's doctor to provide a letter stating the date of the onset of their incapacitation and the POA must be dated prior to this date.  This is important to remember as often we receive a POA with a recent date only to discover that the date of the onset of the incapacitation was much earlier, making the POA unusable.  The Attorney in Fact will then attend the HUD-Mandated Counseling and can sign the Counseling Certificate. 
The person holding the POA would also sign the application and all closing documents.

The other reason for using a POA is facilitation of the transaction when the borrower(s) still maintain legal competency.  This is a bit more tricky as HUD does allow for it providing the actual borrower signed the Loan Application but then many lenders will differ on what they will or will not allow from there.  4-6 of the HUD 4235.1 Manual for HECM loans does not specify to lenders whether or not any other documents must be signed by the competent borrower or whether the POA may or may not sign them.  This leaves a lot of discretion, and risk, to the lender if they are not prudent with the decision they make to allow or not allow a POA to sign for the borrower.  Therefore, lenders will look at each loan request and make a determination when the borrower is not incapacitated and determine whether or not the circumstances warrant the additional risk.  They may require the borrower to sign a minimum number of the documents on their own, they may not allow the POA but they will base their decision on the individual case.  One word of caution though, most lenders are not very quick to accept a POA for a borrower who is not incapacitated unless there are well-documented circumstances that they feel warrant the use. Read more on Power of Attorney & Trust Matters here or call us Toll Free 800-565-1722

-Mike Branson 

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