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Reverse Mortgage Spouse

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Answered By Our Experts

Question From James F. on 12/12/2018

I have a reverse mortgage in my name only and the deed is in my name only. My spouse and I are going through a divorce. I am now not living in the home. How long can she continue to live in the house before the mortgage company takes control of the home?

Expert Answer

Hello James,

If she is not on the current loan and not an eligible non-borrowing spouse, as soon as the lender is able to determine that you are no longer living in the home as your primary residence, they will contact her to determine how she intends to pay the loan off. 

They will be looking for her to either show plans to refinance the loan or pay the loan off with other funds available to her if she plans to stay or for sale of the home.  If she is not willing to show this intent, they would eventually start a foreclosure action and I honestly cannot tell you exactly how long this would be as their primary goal would be to assist with having the loan repaid either through refinance or sale of the home.

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Question From Sandra P. on 12/11/2018

I am the sole borrower on my single-family home; I am currently 71 years old. Five years ago, I married; he is 59 years ago and hasn’t been added to the mortgage loan. If I die prior to my husband, can he remain in the house until here dies?

Expert Answer

Hi Sandra,

If you obtained a reverse mortgage more than 5 years ago, before you remarried, it was closed before HUD established the eligible non-borrowing spouse.  He would not be eligible to remain in the property after you no longer live in the home under that loan.

If that is your goal, you would have to refinance the loan at this time and the new loan would take his age into consideration as well so it would give you less money (unless of course your value has increased substantially) but he would also be able to stay in the home for life under the terms of that loan.

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Question From Frank N. on 12/10/2018

My elderly parents, 72 & 79 have a reverse mortgage in both names for the loan, title, deed etc. She wants to move on with her life and so does my 79-yr. old father suffering with Parkinson’s.My question as it relates to CA law is. If they get a divorce and/or some other legal judgement dividing their assets, is it their divorce decree that sets forth that the home be sold to pay off any obligations and then divide the proceeds? Or. If she doesn't want a divorce and doesn't want to sell does that mean his interest in the home is just stuck and he can't recoup what's left of his assets?

Expert Answer

Hello Frank,

The loan doesn't determine anything. As long as at least one borrower still lives in the home, the terms of the loan are met and the loan is active. If the borrowers wish to change that they can, but as with any other loan, to force a division of property, it would take some sort of Court order or an agreement on their part.  If both borrowers leave the home, the loan becomes die and payable. 

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Question From EMCCLURE on 12/09/2018

CAN MY UNMARRIED PARTNER BE A CO BORROWER ON A REVERSE MORTGAGE IF THE HOUSE IS ONLY IN MY NAME?

Expert Answer

Good afternoon,

Yes, if you also put this individual on title as with you as well and he/she met all the loan qualifications (minimum age of 62 being the major issue here). If you wish to remain the only one on title, then you could not include anyone else on the loan who is not also on title.

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Question From Joan S. on 12/05/2018

I own the house and the deed is in my name only. The reverse mortgage will be in my name only. Why must my spouse listen to the counseling session?

Expert Answer

Hello Joan,

The reverse mortgage will affect the rights of both you and your spouse regarding the ability to remain in the home after you pass if your spouse is not on the loan.  For this reason, HUD requires anyone associated with the ownership of the property or married spouses to also attend counseling so that they understand the full effect of the mortgage on their future rights. 

In the past, HUD had different rules for non-borrowing spouses and that ended in lawsuits against lenders and HUD when those individuals later claimed they were not informed or did not understand the ramifications of their actions.  HUD is much stricter on when they will allow a spouse to be excluded from a transaction now and, as you are finding, they do require the spouses of married individuals to also attend counseling to make sure they understand their rights and obligations under the program as well.

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Question From Stephen on 12/04/2018

Do you consider a California Registered Domestic Partner a spouse?

Expert Answer

Hello Stephen,

If you are applying as a married couple, we do not ask for any documentation that the individual you claim is your spouse is a “married spouse” or a “registered domestic partner”.  If you have title to the property that specifically disputes your application, then there could be additional documentation required but typically, even if you took title as single individuals and are now taking title as married individuals, that would be accepted. 

If, however, your title shows that you currently hold title in a manner that differs from a past status or multiple status changes without stating that a divorce has taken place, then clarification could be required.  So, I guess it may depend on whether you consider your domestic partner your spouse.  If you apply stating that you are single individuals, we would treat it accordingly.  If you apply as married, we would not require any further documentation. 

The only time this would even be an issue is if one of the two of you is not old enough for the loan as only eligible non-borrowing spouses may remain in the property after their spouse leaves the home without the loan being called due and payable.  If you are both over the age of 62, there is no change in the benefits or requirements for both borrowers whether married or not.

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Question From Don on 12/01/2018

We have had a reverse mortgage for several years. We have joint title on our home. My wife got a restraining order and I was forced to move out permanently. I am very unhappy that I can no longer live there. Can she continue to live there if I decide not to cooperate with her and not help maintain the home or pay for any of the costs such as taxes and insurance. I am even thinking about filing for divorce to force a division of community property.

Expert Answer

Hello Don,

I am sorry to hear of your circumstances.  The loan is valid if one of the initial borrowers is still living in the home as their primary residence so to answer your question, yes, if she was also on the original loan, she can continue to live in the home for life under the terms of the loan. 

About the help of the expenses, the mortgage does not specify who must pay what, especially if there is subsequently a separation.  The loan stipulates that the taxes and insurance must be paid in a timely manner though.  If your spouse can maintain those expenditures, then she would follow the loan and there would be no default. 

Finally, if you do file for divorce, that would not affect the loan status.  Again, if at least one original borrower lives in the home and pays the taxes, insurance and maintains the property, the divorce would not have any effect on the loan.  You can even change title and add or remove a borrower from title if at least one of the original borrowers on the loan remains on title. 

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Question From Richard B. on 11/28/2018

I got married a couple of years after I took out the reverse mortgage. My wife's name is on the deed but not on the reverse mortgage. How do I protect her in the event of something happening to me.

Expert Answer

Hi Richard,

By adding your spouse to the title of the home, you have protected her rights to the property ownership after you pass.  If by protecting her now you are referring to allowing her to also live in the home for life without making a payment on the loan, that can only be done by refinancing the existing loan with a new loan in both your names at this time. 

HUD issues mortgage insurance on every reverse mortgage and therefore assumes a risk on every loan based on several known parameters.  Values, interest rates and borrower’s ages are the major factors considered.  If borrowers could bring in new factors after the loans were already closed (i.e. new spouses), all assumptions and actuarial tables used to determine loan eligibility and loan amounts would be useless. 

For example, the actuarial tables used assume borrowers will live for “XXX” number of years.  If borrowers can be brought in after the loan is closed, that assumption would be invalid.  We have received may questions over the years about borrowers who re-married individuals many years their junior.  Not only would any borrower added later throw off tables used to determine risks, but a significantly younger borrower would do so to a much greater extent almost surely causing large losses to the MIP fund as loans remained outstanding and accrued much more interest than ever intended. 

For this reason, once a loan is closed, no borrowers may be added to the original loan.  If you cannot refinance and add her to your new loan at the home you are in for equity reasons, you can also consider moving to a new home and using a reverse mortgage in both your names to purchase a new, less expensive property. 

More on the reverse mortgage for home purchase found here: https://reverse.mortgage/purchase-down-payment

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Question From Clifford on 11/27/2018

Can live in significant other be on reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hello Clifford,

Two individuals who are not married may both be on the loan if they both qualify for the loan and are on title.  In other words, if your significant other is also 62 or older and is on title, there is no requirement that you are married for that individual to also be on the loan and to be covered by the loan (can live there for life even if one passes). 

However, if your significant other is not yet 62 years of age, that person would not qualify as an eligible non-borrowing spouse if you are not married and if anything happened to you, that person would not be able to stay in the property under the terms of the original loan. 

The loan would become due and payable and your significant other would be left looking for financing or would have to sell the home at that time if no financing was available to repay the loan when it became due.

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Question From Jack on 11/16/2018

My ex girlfriend and I are co-borrowers on a Reverse Mortgage. I have moved out of the house due to her irrational actions and to assure my safety. If she continues to stay in the house, maintains and pays taxes can she remain in the house? Secondly, if she can and later sell the house do I still get my share of the proceeds?

Expert Answer

Hello Jack,

I can answer the first question for you regarding the reverse mortgage.  If she was also a borrower on the loan and meets the property charges obligations, then yes, the loan stays in tact even if you have left and she can remain in the home. 

The second question is one that you should seek legal advice for an answer as it could depend on several things. If you never signed anything to grant your title in the property to her then you still have ownership interest in the home, but I could not possibly tell you what a court might do based on the laws of the land if she tried to claim that you abandoned your interests and rights to the property. 

I think you should contact an attorney because there may be something you need to do in the meantime if you wish to protect any interest you have in the property and there may not be.  An attorney practicing in the area would be the right one to ask about that though as it has nothing to do with the mortgage.

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Question From Ray M. on 11/15/2018

My wife turns 62 this month. How can I add her to the reverse mortgage, with me, on our home? It's a HECH loan. We've lived in our home together 30 years now and want to continue to live together in it another 30 years. Don't ask me why, after 30 years, it's not paid for ... Okay -- I'll tell you. We refinanced it 3 (maybe 4) to many times. How embarrassing. I hope you're happy, forcing it out of me. Looking forward to hearing some good news.

Expert Answer

Hello Ray,

Firstly, I would never force anything out of you and truth be known, you’re in the same company with millions of other American families so I don’t think there is anything to be embarrassed about.  Equity lending was sold to borrowers as the way to do things for so many years, it became a way of life.

As for adding your wife to an existing loan, that is impossible.  You cannot amend an existing loan by adding another borrower to the loan at some point after the loan has closed.  If that was allowed, there would be no way for HUD to determine the repayment assumptions on any loan as borrowers could remarry or add new borrowers at any time and loans could be extended ad infinitum. 

HUD determined the benefits on your reverse mortgage based on the age you gave them for you as the youngest borrower on the loan and a benefit or loan amount was calculated as such.  If your wife was included as an eligible non-borrowing spouse, then she too can stay in the home for life and she does not have to be added to the loan, you just need to add her to title which you can do at any time. 

If the loan was closed prior to 2014 when the eligible non-borrowing spouse designation was developed, then the only way to be certain she is also covered with a reverse mortgage and can continue to live in the home even if something were to happen to you would be to refinance the loan in both your names now.

Either way, you can add her to title now.  This will make sure she has clear title to the property but that is only half the battle.  The only way to be sure she can continue to live in the home if you ever leave the home (if you pass of must move to an assisted living facility) is to have her listed as an eligible non-borrowing spouse or as a co-borrower.  If neither of these was done at the time the loan was originated, your only option at this time is to refinance the loan under the current HUD parameters.

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Question From Barbara on 11/07/2018

My husband passed away leaving the house in a will to our children and leaving me lifetime rights. He had taken out a reverse mortgage in his name only. I now have the reverse mortgage in my name with a life gift estate from my children. My question is can one of my children force me to sell ? And what are my rights to ownership?

Expert Answer

Hello Barbara,

I cannot give you legal advice, I am not licensed to do so.  What legal rights you have regarding ownership based on your wills, estates, etc. should be discussed with a competent legal professional.  However, I think you have another issue that you need to resolve sooner than worrying about whether the heirs of you and/or your husband can force a sale later.  Let me explain.

I am concerned about something else you said when you submitted your question.  If your husband obtained a reverse mortgage in his name only, unless you were included in that loan as an eligible non-borrowing spouse and the loan was originated after 2014, your statement about being on the reverse mortgage at this time is not accurate. 

In fact, now that the title has changed and is no longer in your husband’s name, the lender either has been or should be receiving notice of the change in title. Now that it is no longer in your husband’s name and he no longer occupy the home, under the terms of the loan the lender will move to call the note due and payable as soon as they have this notification. 

If you were on the original loan as an eligible non-borrowing spouse, you have a limited amount of time to procure the title in your name.  From what you are telling me, you cannot do this as the title passed to someone else.  If you were not on the original loan as an eligible non-borrowing spouse, the loan will now be called due and payable regardless of the future title arrangements you have with the children. 

If true, this in and of itself will require you to refinance the loan in your own name, pay the loan off with other funds available to you or sell the home to avoid forcing the lender to initiate foreclosure proceedings to enforce repayment.  I repeat my earlier advice to you to seek legal representation. 

Furthermore, when you do seek the legal counsel, take your loan documents with you as well so that the attorney may advise you of your rights to remain in the home under the terms of the mortgage or to advise you whether the loan must be repaid in full at this time.  I am concerned that you may be missing the fact that the loan will now be due, and I urge you to have this determination checked before you find out with a foreclosure notice.

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Question From Rodney K. on 10/28/2018

What happens on a reverse mortgage if the couples get a divorce?

Expert Answer

Hello Rodney, 

Not a thing as long as at least one of the two remains living in the home as their primary residence.  The spouse that leaves has to realize that he/she is not eligible for another reverse mortgage until the first is paid off (either through the sale of the home or refinance by the other spouse with a new loan that does not contain the spouse who has left).  Otherwise the loan can remain in full force as long as at least one spouse remains in the home and the conditions of the loan are met.

I've written up an article on Reverse Mortgages & Divorce you can access here. Hope this helps! 

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Question From George on 10/28/2018

I have a reverse mortgage but my wife 58 yrs isn’t on the loan or deed can I put her on the deed?

Expert Answer

Hi George,

Yes, you can add your wife to the title of your home at any time and as long as you remain on title and live in the home, there is no ill-effect on your reverse mortgage.  However, you must remember that by adding her on title, you are making it easier for her to take whatever actions she would need to take if anything happens to you if you intend for her to become the property owner at that time, but it would not stop the loan from becoming due and payable.

It is true that depending on how the title is vested she may be the owner of the property at that point, but she would still need to determine how she would pay off the reverse mortgage that would be due and payable or she would have to sell the home.  Simply adding her to title would not alleviate this need. If you wanted to make sure that she can still live in the home for life without having to make  a payment and without fear that the loan would be called due and payable, you would have to refinance the existing loan at that time with her being on title as your eligible non-borrowing spouse. 

This would not give her access to any reverse mortgage proceeds if something happened to you and there were still funds left on the line of credit as a non-borrowing spouse, but it would allow her to remain in the property for life without having to make a mortgage payment.  She would have the same responsibilities that you now have under the terms of the mortgage – she would have to make the payments of taxes and insurance in a timely manner, maintain the home and pay any special assessments (HOA dues, etc if any).

If you just wanted to be sure she had title to the home, you can just add her to title with you at this time.  If however you are also trying to be sure that she can live in the home for life with no mortgage payments, you need to look into the refinance with her included.

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Question From Rodney S. on 10/25/2018

Can I get a reverse mortgage if I am 62 if my wife is 60 and we are both on the title of the house?

Expert Answer

Hello Rodney,

An individual who is 62 or older with a spouse who is not yet 62 can get a reverse mortgage, but you need to understand the rules and ramifications.  Firstly, the spouse who is not yet 62 can remain on title, but she will not be on the loan.  She can also stay in the home for the rest of her life without having to make a mortgage payment so long as she meets the same stipulations that you have to meet even if you should predecease her. 

She must keep the taxes and insurance current and paid on time, she must maintain the property in a reasonable manner and must live in the home as her primary residence.  The biggest thing that you have to understand is that as an individual who is not on the loan, if anything were to happen to you, even though she can live in the home for life without having to make a mortgage payment, she does not have access to the loan.

Where might this affect her?  If you use all the funds from the loan at the very beginning just to pay off an existing loan or use all your loan proceeds while you are still alive and living in the house, this would not affect her at all.  In this instance, there would not be any funds remaining for either of you to access later.  However, if you had a line of credit and had not used all of your loan proceeds when you passed or left the home for other reasons, your spouse would not have access to the remaining funds in the line of credit.  Just something to keep in mind as you make your plans.

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Question From Sheila S. on 10/23/2018

If there is only one person on the note for the reverse mortgage, but two people on the deed, and the person on the note passes away, can the other one on the deed continue to live in the house or will the reverse mortgage need to be paid back since the one on the note died?

Expert Answer

Hi Sheila,

Take a look at the reverse mortgage documents.   Owners of the property who were also owners at the time the loan closed but are not eligible to be on the loan can fall into two different categories, an eligible non-borrowing spouse and an ineligible non-borrowing spouse or a non-borrowing owner if the parties are not married.

If the second person on title was an eligible non-borrowing spouse, then that personal also has the ability to stay in the home for life as long as he/she meets the reverse mortgage requirements.  That individual will not have access to the loan, but as long as he/she lives in the home, pays the taxes, insurance and any special assessments (i.e. HOA dues) on time, they can live in the home for the rest of their life without having to make any mortgage payments and the loan will not become due and payable until he/she leaves the home.

However, if that individual was an ineligible non-borrowing spouse or co-owner of the property, then the loan would come due and payable once the eligible owner was no longer living in the home.  The loan documents will spell out the status of the co-owner right in the documents if the loan was closed after 2014 and if it was closed prior to that time, HUD did not have the eligible non-borrower classification so it will not show on the loan documents (but then again, prior to then HUD and lenders required non-eligible parties to come off of title to complete the loan so I do believe your loan was closed after the HUD changes).

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Question From Rita C. on 10/21/2018

My. Husband passed. When he got reverse mortgage I was not on deed and too young to qualify. I filed probate bc HUD required that I become the executor of estate which was granted. There was a will giving everything to me including the home. The home is the only thing we had of value. In Calif court can I request an order that Adm of all or part is not necessary for the reason that all or part is property passing to me?

Expert Answer

Hi Rita,

I am afraid I can’t help you a lot here, this is a legal question and not pertaining to the mortgage itself.  I would direct you to a licensed attorney in the county in which the property is located to determine what you most likely can and cannot do in court.

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Question From Ann M. on 10/21/2018

I took out my reverse mortgage with my wife and kid years later she died I have the reverse mortgage in my name and now a few years later I have remarried. What happens to my new spouse if I die?

Expert Answer

Hello,

The property would go to whoever you set it up to go to as long as you have a trust or will that makes those wishes known.  Otherwise, it would go into probate and the courts would decide who gets the property after you pass.  The heirs would have the option to pay off the loan and keep the property or sell the house and keep the equity.

If there is no equity, they can walk away and owe nothing or they can pay off the loan for 95% of the current value at that time.  It is always easier and faster to resolve who will be the future owner while you are still alive and can direct your wishes.  I would suggest that you seek an estate attorney and set up a simple will even if you don’t want to go the whole trust route while you can if you have a preference about what should happen.

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Question From Jeanlynn H. on 10/18/2018

We both own our current house, appraised at $295K with no mortgage. Instead of divorce I would just like my own house. We are agreeable with this arrangement, being both names on both houses. My question is if we get reverse mortgage from you are we allowed to have two primary residences? One in MA and one in ME. Thank you!

Expert Answer

Hello Jeanlynn,

I am afraid this would not work.  A married couple can only have one principal residence for the purposes of the reverse mortgage.  Once you took out the loan on one of the properties, if you were still married, both names would be on the loan (even if one was a non-borrowing spouse) and then neither of you would be eligible for another reverse mortgage for as long as that loan was still outstanding.  The only way you would be able to avoid this restriction would be if you were to finalize your divorce and each of you took out a separate loan on your own property.

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Question From Don on 10/18/2018

Surviving spouse is not on the reverse mortgage. She is on the Deed. She is the executor of the husbands will and the will states that the home will be left to the wife after his death. (Florida). Does the surviving spouse is not financial able to refinance the house to try to save the home. Does the surviving spouse have to probate the husbands will before the Lender forecloses on the house. If she has to probate the will can she remain in the house during the probate process?

Expert Answer

Hello Don,

The probate and the lender’s right to foreclose on the Deed are two different issues.  One is to perfect her title to the property and the other is the lender’s ability to protect its interest in the home after the Note has been called due and payable.  Neither is dependent on the other nor does one have to wait for the other.  However, if the heir is in the process of selling the home or working to refinance the loan (which you have already stated that paying off the loan via refinancing is not an option in this case), your lender in Florida will usually work with the heirs to allow them to list and sell the property.

I say “usually” because if there is no equity in the home or if the heir is making no effort to market the home, the lender will be less apt to extend the timeframes for the payoff of the loan and will proceed with the necessary steps to call the loan up to and including foreclosure.  Having said that, she can stay in the home until such time as the lender takes title to the property and that would be at the conclusion of the foreclosure process which also takes multiple months (sometimes up to a year or longer).

I do not know what the probate process is in her area but I have to assume that there is equity in the property or she would not even bother with the probate efforts.  She can most likely list the home while she is in the process of probate (check with your local real estate professionals) and can notify the lender that she has begun both the probate and the sale efforts and that should give her the time she needs to complete the sale.

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Question From Jamie on 10/18/2018

Can I get a reverse mortgage in California. I am the only one on the title, my husband of 3 years and I are getting a divorce. I was told I couldn't qualify until the divorce is final. He says that I could get one before the divorce is final as long as he signs off on it. What does the law say?

Expert Answer

Hello Jamie,

Your marital status would not stop you from getting a reverse mortgage in California as long as your spouse is willing to sign the necessary documents as a non-eligible, non-borrowing spouse.  It’s a matter of his rights as a spouse until you two are fully divorced but if he is willing to sign all the paperwork before that time, you can get the loan now.  He would still be required to attend the counseling session so that he fully understands the ramifications of the transaction and his actions and there are some documents he has to sign, but otherwise, you can proceed if he is willing.  If he decides he is not willing to proceed at this time, you would have to wait for the divorce to be final and then you would not need his participation at all on a property on which he is not included in the title.

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Question From Donna on 10/12/2018

My partner (actually common law husband) of 15 years just passed He took care of me and i was very dependent on him. We didn't have a piece of paper showing marriage but I'm told that I was grandfathered in. I just have no way other than mail really to prove it. What are my options and rights?

Expert Answer

Hello Donna,

If you are also included on the reverse mortgage as a borrower, it doesn’t make any difference if you were a spouse or not.  You are still able to stay in the home for life under the terms of the loan.  If you were not on the loan at the time he applied for and received the loan, you may still have rights to the property, but the loan will still be called due and payable.  My advice would be to contact an attorney if you are not on the loan and if you are not on the title to the property as your question is really a legal one concerning common law marriage and I cannot advise you regarding your property rights as an unmarried individual.  You should find that out as it will also make a difference as to what you will do with the property when the lender calls the Note due and payable as you will want to be able to sell the property or refinance the loan and you will need clear title to do either.

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Question From Jim K. on 10/11/2018

My wife and i have separate divorce is in the future. We have a reverse mortgage on our home. The lone is in my name and she is on the deed. What is our options?

Expert Answer

Hello Jim,

You have to decide whether you are trying to something that will keep the reverse mortgage in place or if your goal is to determine how to keep you or your spouse in the home when the other vacates the home.   You can always sell the house at any time with no prepayment penalty.  So one option is always to sell the property and split the asset that way.

You can always refinance the loan with another lender in either of your names with that individual on title.   Both of you are on title so either of you could Deed you interest to the other and that individual can buy out the other spouse by taking out a new loan (probably a forward or conventional loan) to pay off the reverse mortgage.  The title would then be solely in the name of the remaining occupant spouse and there would be no issues.  And as is the case with the sale of the home, there is no prepayment penalty for the payoff of the reverse mortgage. 

If you would like to keep the reverse mortgage in place, since you are the borrower on the current reverse mortgage, you must be living in the property as your primary residence.  If you leave the property and it no longer becomes your primary residence, the lender would call the loan due and payable once it learned you had vacated the home.  As long as you remain living in the home as your primary residence (and meet the other conditions regarding payment of taxes, insurance and maintaining the home), then the loan is fine whether you remain married or not.  If however you wish to leave the home, you need to make provisions to pay off the loan with funds available to you, sell or refinance with a new loan since your spouse is not on the current reverse mortgage loan.

Also See: https://reverse.mortgage/divorce

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Question From Javier on 10/04/2018

My mother is the surviving spouse of a reverse mortgage. The property was placed in foreclosure by Reverse Mortgage Solutions. The reason according to them is that she did not have internal property insurance which the property never had before. All the other qualifications were met: legally married, remained in the property, taxes paid and homeowners association in good standing with property insurance included. Does she have any legal rights at this time? She wants to assume this mortgage and she is retired with low income. RMS is not cooperating at this time even-though we are offering to pay this insurance. They say we already defaulted... so frustrating!

Expert Answer

Hello Javier,

The insurance policy that you reference is known as an HO-6 policy and is sometimes also called a “walls in” policy.  It is required for all units located in a project whose association’s master policy does not contain this coverage.  If, as you say, your mom never had this protection in the past, it is possible that the HOA has the coverage.  The lender should not close the loan unless this coverage exists so one of two things most likely happened; your mom did have the coverage and her spouse arrange for it and she didn’t even realize it or; the HOA has or had this coverage in the master policy (some do and some don’t).  I think if I were you I would contact the HOA and find out if they have the coverage and if they do, supply the proof to the lender that the coverage does exist and therefore no insurance default occurred. 

However, that does not mean that your troubles are over.  When you say that “all other qualifications were met”, you have not indicated several of the most important items.  Firstly, I can only read between the lines here so I am doing some guessing but I assume that she was not on the loan at the time the reverse mortgage was obtained and maybe not even on title?  I can’t tell for sure, but from the tone of the questions, it sounds like she was married later and may not have been married at the time the loan was obtained by her spouse.  Is that correct?  Because there are several different categories of spouses that will determine their eligibility to remain in the home.

You further state that she was legally married but was she legally married at the time her spouse obtained the loan?  If she was not his spouse at the time of the loan origination, she has no survivor benefits for the loan.  If this is true and he made her the legal heir and she now owns the property, she can refinance the loan, she can sell the property and pay the loan off, and if she cannot refinance the loan, she can sell the property and buy another using the equity and a new reverse mortgage to purchase a new home.  If her credit and income will not qualify her for even another reverse mortgage then the equity would still be hers as the current owner on sale but the current loan may not be “assumed” as reverse mortgages as not assumable. 

If she was his spouse at the time the loan was closed, there are still two categories of spouses, eligible and ineligible non-borrowing spouses as of the new rules HUD instituted in 2014 that became effective in 2015.  When was the loan closed?  If the loan was closed prior to the new rules, then your mom would not have even been an eligible non-borrowing spouse at the time the loan was originated and therefore would not be able to remain in the home under the terms of the old reverse mortgage, insurance or no.  If she was married and the loan was closed after the HUD changes in 2015 and the walls in policy is in place with the HOA, then no default existed and she has the right to remain in the home under the terms of the mortgage.

So you really have two different issues you need to resolve.  You need to determine if the HOA has the walls in policy (HO-6 policy) and whether or not mom has the right to remain in the home under the terms of the loan as the original borrower’s spouse.  If the coverage does exist and she is an eligible non-borrowing spouse, you need to send that information to the servicer.  If not, then you need to realize they will not be swayed by offers to pay for an insurance policy that may or may not be the only issue anyway and make any plans possible for one of the other alternatives I mentioned above.

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Question From San B. on 9/30/2018

I was never legally married but was deeded property with my live in partner, we mortgaged that property. We are no longer together, he is now wanting me to sign a quitclaim to the property but I name is still on the mortgage will this effect him being able to get a reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

He would not be able to get the loan without your consent and participation if you are on title whether you were ever married or not. If you agree to sign a Deed removing yourself from title, he would not need your consent or participation for the loan.

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Question From Richard F. on 9/25/2018

Are there any situations in which an eligible spouse (over 62) with an ineligible spouse ( under 62) can qualify for a reverse mortgage in Texas Most of your Texas answers seem to gut my chances. Are there any other states that place the same disqualifications on under 62 spouses?

Expert Answer

Hi Richard,

There are no other states in which we are or have been licensed that have the same restrictions, but that does not cover all 50 states.  If there is a specific state in which you are interested, you can check our website to see if it is one of the states in which we are licensed or if not, you would have to check with a licensed lender in that state.  I would not want to give you bad information.

As for Texas state, there has been talk for years that this law was being discussed for revision.  We had heard that especially after HUD changed the guidelines to make an underaged spouse eligible to stay in the home even after the borrowing spouse passed that the State of Texas was now going to consider allowing this provision but have gotten no further word.  I would suggest that you contact your state legislators and request them to consider changing the laws if you are serious about wanting to see the availability of the program in Texas.

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Question From Amy M on 9/24/2018

My father and mother applied for reverse mortgage. At the time they did this.. my mother was not eligible due to her age.. they allowed only my dad to be on it.. we live in Texas .. now two years ago my dad passed.. mortgage company did send papers to evict my mother- but she applied to have her name added to loan.. which they said she could do. She was told she could remain in house.. Now she gets s call from a lawyer of the reverse mortgage company and they tell her-- she needs to move out-- and offered her money to do so.. she has not gotten any paperwork as to why she has to get out of house.. I saw in an earlier question that Texas does not allow loans if the spouse is underage.. well they did Loan.. what are her options?? Does she need a lawyer?? I feel they are trying to get her out of house because they did something illegal!

Expert Answer

Hello Amy,

Texas has changed their laws over the years but it is true that they do not allow non-borrowing spouses at this time.  Whether or not they did when you mom and dad did their loan, you really should have an attorney review.  Also, if there is equity in the home. Mom should look into other alternatives other than just leaving with nothing or a small payment.  It may be much better for her in the instance of a sale.  I would wholeheartedly recommend that mom contact an attorney immediately to determine her rights and options at this time.

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Question From Barb A. on 9/21/2018

I want to take out reverse mortgage, but my husband's not on the deed as my home was gotten prior to marriage. I want him to be a borrowing spouse to protect him more so he will have money to pay the taxes.. Is this possible if I have a conventional mortgage only in my name now?

Expert Answer

Hello Barb,

It would be no problem at all.  It makes no difference how you acquired title, or what type of loan is on the property now or whether or not he is currently on that loan.  If you are both on title to the property when you close the reverse mortgage and both eligible for the loan, you can both be on the loan at this time.

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Question From William on 9/20/2018

Wife is 56 and I’m 62, can I take her off title so I can get the loan ?

Expert Answer

Hi William,

After HUD published their final rules, you no longer have to remove non-borrowing spouses from title.  She can stay on the title and will be considered an “eligible non-borrowing spouse” which will allow her to stay in the home for life as well.  The downside is that if anything happens to you, she does not have access to any funds still on the line, even though she can stay in the home for life without making a mortgage payment.  As with all other reverse mortgage loans, she still has to pay the taxes and insurance on the home in a timely manner.

There are a couple of caveats to this.  Firstly, if you live in a state like Texas, they still won’t allow a non-borrowing spouse.  So you can’t do the loan at all if you are married with an underaged spouse  at this time in Texas.  Secondly, you can no longer remove a younger spouse to gain higher loan amounts.  This is a bit of a mixed blessing.  It keeps borrowers from taking a younger spouse off title just to get more money only to later find that the spouse has to scramble to sell the home because the loan is called due and payable when the other spouse passes.  It also means though that if borrowers are short to close, they cannot make up the difference by taking the younger spouse off of title.

In all honesty, we never recommended doing this anyway.  It was a bad idea for most borrowers and only those with a second home that the younger spouse intended to move to at the time of the passing of the older spouse anyway or some such strategy really found this action reasonable.  Otherwise, the younger spouse found themselves in a very tough spot later on when the loan was due and payable and they had no way to pay it off.  There is never a good time to find yourself in that position but when you are grieving for a lost spouse and then you find that you need to find a new home as well, it just doesn’t make sense and we are very happy HUD made these changes.

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Question From Jamie on 9/17/2018

Me and my ex husbands signature is on the deed of a house and he is trying to do a reverse mortgage. Does he need my signature to do a reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi Jamie,

If you are still on title to the home, another person on title typically cannot do any loan without some involvement by you or it would create an issue for the lender later on if you did not agree to the financing.  If you still have ownership in the property and the lender is forced to accelerate the debt for any reason, they would be unable to enforce their documents unless you had also agreed to the terms of the loan.  Therefore, you would need to also take some part in the reverse mortgage even though you would not be a borrower on the loan. 

You would have to take part in the counseling so that you would understand the terms of the loan and the ramifications to you as an owner of allowing the loan to be placed on the property.  You would have to sign some of the documents (even if not a full package) acknowledging the loan and granting your approval.  Only then could one owner, your ex-husband, get a reverse mortgage on the property that could affect your ownership in the property as well.

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Question From baljinder on 9/07/2018

My husband took out reverse mortgage in 2013 and I was not 62 at that time so I have to write quit deed on the house. Now my reverse mortgage is saying that I have to leave the house if something happened to him. What do I need to do to protect my sell?

Expert Answer

Good Morning,

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself.  Firstly, if you have not already done so, you and your husband can record another Deed at this time from him to both of you.  You should both be on the title to the home so that if anything happens, you don’t have to start trying to change the title after he has passed and it is more difficult.  The loan documents allow him to add anyone to title as long as he remains on title so I would say do that immediately since it is such as easy step and extremely inexpensive.

The next step is not such a quick and easy one.  The loan you have now will be called due and payable when your husband no longer lives in the home as his primary residence since he is the only borrower on the loan, even if you do change the title.  Prior to 2014 when they changed the rules for non-borrowing spouses, we really advised borrowers to think hard before they did a non-borrowing spouse loan and explained that unless you had other options or plans for this eventuality, it was a terrible time to discover that your loan was due and payable later and you had no options.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t help you in your current state so there are actually a couple of things you can do now to protect yourself. 

Firstly, you can refinance the reverse mortgage loan you have with a new loan in both your names.  This is not always as easy as it sounds though because you are coming on as a younger borrower and HUD has lowered the amount of money borrowers receive under the program since then.  Your property may have increased enough in value since then to allow for the refinance though and if so, the new loan would be in both your names and would allow you to stay in the home as well.

The second option may or may not be one you would consider but I will throw it out anyway.  If you have ever thought of downsizing or moving to be closer to family, friends, medical services, for needed amenities that your current home does not have (single-story vs two-story) etc., this might work well for you.  You do have the option to sell your current home and purchase a new home using the reverse mortgage as well.  When you purchase the new home, you would do so with both you on title and on the loan so you would not have the same concerns so you may very well be able to “fill two needs with one deed” as the saying goes. 

Regardless of what you decide, it would not be a bad idea to add you to title as soon as possible.  I suggest you have someone help you with it (perhaps the title company who removed you in the first place) so that you don’t accidentally create a taxable event.  They will be certain that the Deed that is recorded verifies that the event is a familial transfer and that the property is not subject to reassessment as a result.

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Question From Susan on 9/07/2018

Hello, I want to get a reverse mortgage on my house, but my husband doesn't want to. He is not on the title. If I were to decide to get an RM with my husband as Non-borrowing Spouse. I understand that he has to take part in the mandatory counselling (done) and would have to sign the closing papers, even as an NBS. Is this correct in Washington state? If I decided to go ahead with an RM, could he make it impossible by refusing to sign the papers at closing as a NBS? Thank you.

Expert Answer

Hello Susan,

Because the loan does affect the rights of spouses as well, there is a small amount of cooperation he would have to grant acknowledging the loan, etc.  If he was totally unwilling to take part in the HUD-required participation, he could prevent you from getting the loan.  He would not be required to obligate himself for the loan if he agreed to take part as the non-borrowing spouse but non-borrowing spouses do have rights under the loan depending on whether they are deemed eligible or non-eligible and the loan affects their ability to get another reverse mortgage should they later become single and wish to get the loan on a different piece of property.

Even non-eligible non-borrowing spouses must sign some paperwork at closing acknowledging the loan so that they cannot come back later and sue HUD claiming that they did not know of the loan’s existence, that they were unaware of the consequences or that their rights were somehow violated at the time the loan was closed.  I’m sorry, but this is required because HUD really did face these sorts of lawsuits in the past when one spouse was excluded from the loan, even when it was at their request when HUD previously allowed one spouse to be excluded from the process.  They have not allowed this to occur since 2014 as a means to eliminate future legal liability when the second spouse is not to be included on the loan.

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Question From Patricia H. on 9/04/2018

Do I need legal documentation to be on a reverse mortgage loan with my qualifying husband we have been together years with only a church certificate I also am not on the deed but am heir in his will.

Expert Answer

Hello Patricia,

If you and your husband apply as husband and wife and your current title is vested in this manner, there would be no further request for documentation at all.  The only time a lender typically has to ask for additional information is when there is a conflict in the information they receive such as your current vesting on title is as a single man and a single woman and you each have different names, etc.  You can designate anyone your heir after you pass so that would not even be a consideration.

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Question From Betty C. on 9/03/2018

My husband is 64 yrs old, I'm 54 yrs old.I bought my house before I got married. Can we do a reverse mortgage, if he's not on the title?

Expert Answer

Hi Betty,

As long as you don’t live in a state like Texas that does not allow a non-borrowing spouse, then yes, you can add your spouse to title and obtain a reverse mortgage.  At 54 years of age, you do not qualify for the loan but you would be considered an “eligible non-borrowing spouse”.  This means that you would not be on the loan as a borrower and if anything happened to your husband, you would not have access to any money left undrawn on the line of credit, but you could continue to stay in the home for life without having to make a mortgage payment.  You would have the same responsibilities and requirements in that you would have to pay the taxes and insurance on time, maintain the home in a reasonable manner and continue to live in the home as your primary residence.  But since you are not a borrower on the loan if he passed while there was still, for example, $25,000 still available on the line of credit that money would not be available to you. 

The equity in the property is always yours so you don’t lose that by structuring the loan this way but it would mean that it may affect your ability to live in the home in the future and so you want to consider the option carefully.  If you do live in a state like Texas, they do not allow for the non-borrowing spouse and therefore the reverse mortgage would not be an option for you until you were both 62 or over or the state changed its laws.

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Question From James A. on 9/02/2018

My wife obtained a reverse mortgage before we were married in 2008. If she dies can I stay in the house until I die?

Expert Answer

Hello James,

The reverse mortgage does not grant protections to individuals who are not on the loan at the time of its inception.  The loan parameters are based on known factors at the time the loan is granted and there would be no way to determine unknown factors such as additional borrowers added at a later date.  For example, one of the main factors of the loan proceeds allowed to the borrower(s) is the age of the youngest borrower due to the anticipated life expectancy of the borrower(s) as a percentage of the value of the home.

The older the borrowers, the more the borrowers will receive as a percentage of the value because a 62 year old borrower can statistically be expected to be able to live in their home for life longer than an 82 year old borrower.  If the mortgage allowed additional borrowers to be brought on after the loan was closed, younger borrowers could be added which could severely impact all modeling and HUD’s MIP reserves.

You can apply for a refinance with your spouse though if she is willing to grant deed you on to title and refinance the loan with you at this time if you will qualify under current loan parameters.  By taking a new reverse mortgage in both your names at this time, you both would be on the new loan and there would be no concerns about one spouse predeceasing the other with regard to the reverse mortgage.  That could obviously affect the heirs (if any), it’s a decision the two of you would have to discuss and you would have to qualify under the current loan parameters but it is an option for you.

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Question From Cindy on 8/27/2018

Husband and I got a Reverse Mortgage last year. We are starting divorce paperwork. He wants to remain in the house. There will be a second cash payment this year from RM. How Do I legally make that money mine as part of entitled community property?

Expert Answer

Hi Cindy,

I am afraid this is a question for a licensed attorney practicing in the area where your home is located.  Neither the lender nor HUD will become involved in your property split and so that would be a matter for you and your husband to agree to and then have spelled out in the divorce documents or for the courts to determine if the two of you cannot agree. 

And even then, only an attorney can let you know the best way to ensure that the funds are split in the manner prescribed so that your interests were protected.

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Question From Tatiana on 8/19/2018

I'm on a reverse mortgage with my now ex-finance and will be moving out. I will need my name off of mortgage. Can I do that? Will he have to re qualify? I’m 67 he will be 68 in September...

Expert Answer

Hello Tatiana,

Once you have signed for a loan, you are a borrower on the loan until the loan is paid off, even if you and the other co-borrower split up.  The only way to remove yourself from the loan entirely would be to pay the loan off and close it out.  You could achieve this by selling the home or he could refinance the loan in his name alone and pay the loan off with a new loan.  However, borrowers cannot just request that they be released from a reverse mortgage, or a forward loan either for that matter, once the loan has closed if the loan is still outstanding.

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Question From Mark on 8/17/2018

My wife and I are now living apart but still married.Do both of us have to be living in the same house to qualify for a reverse mortgage on that house. I am not living or own another home. Ie. Living in a rented apartment?

Expert Answer

Hi Mark,

Your spouse can get a reverse mortgage on the house but since you are not living in the home, you would not be an eligible coborrower, you would be a non-eligible non-borrowing spouse and if anything happens to your wife, the loan would become due and payable.  Since you are still married, you would have to be a part of the loan process and attend the counseling and sign several of the loan documents acknowledging the transaction.

You would also not be eligible for another reverse mortgage on another property if you later complete the divorce and want to purchase or otherwise obtain a new reverse mortgage on your own as long as this loan is still outstanding.  But the answer is yes, your spouse can get the loan while the two of you are still married even though you are not living in the property.

Also See: https://reverse.mortgage/eligible-vs-ineligible-spouse

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Question From Hamid Z. on 8/08/2018

Does a Non-Borrowing Spouse get any extension after the 90 days to provide legal owner documents or legal rights to remain in the home?

Expert Answer

Hello Hamid,

I am aware of an eligible non-borrowing spouse who took longer than 90 days to provide this documentation due to a court issue but she was able to show that she was well on her way to procuring title within the 90-day period and communicated this to the lender and HUD.  I think you need to let them know exactly what the hold up is and show them why it’s taking longer than 90 days so they can see that it is for a reason beyond your control and that it will be resolved shortly.

This is also why I recommend to borrowers that you check your legal documents and make the change in the title before something happens to the borrowing spouse.  I believe that in almost every state there is no restriction on adding a non-borrowing spouse back to title right after closing and if your documents allow for such a change, I would suggest that you add the non-borrowing spouse back to title as soon as possible so that this is not an issue later.

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Question From Pete on 7/26/2018

Can i do reverse mortgage by myself, without including my wife

Expert Answer

Hi Pete,

The answer is that if your wife is willing to sign off of all the paperwork to allow you to go on the title alone, attend the counseling and allow you to be the only borrower on the loan, yes you can.  If you are asking if you can do the loan without your wife’s knowledge and consent, the answer is no.

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Question From Sharon on 7/26/2018

Have a friend, wife died two years ago. She took out reverse mortgage loan in 2012. He was a non borrowing spouse because of his age. Now the reverse mortgage send him a letter telling him the law has changed and he can’t stay in the house. He has to walk away, pay the loan or sell the house. I’m confused. He is so scared.

Expert Answer

Hello Sharon,

I would be interested to see what the letter states because there are a number of things that you state here that simply are not true.  The law has not changed since he and his wife obtained their reverse mortgage in a manner than prevents him from staying in the home.  In 2012, non-borrowing spouses had no option to stay in the home under the terms of the current reverse mortgage and their loan documents and all the counseling they attended said as much.  It was not until later that HUD changed the rules to allow eligible non-borrowing spouses who met certain criteria to allow the reverse mortgage to remain outstanding under the terms of the original mortgage as long as the non-borrowing spouse continued to meet all the reverse mortgage requirements as well (pay the taxes and insurance on time, maintain the home in a reasonable manner and continue to occupy the home as their primary residence). 

When HUD made the changes to the program in April of 2014 (Mortgagee Letter 2014-07), they began to also take the age of the coborrower into consideration when determining the borrowers’ benefits.  Prior to this time, the underaged spouse’s age was not considered when determining the benefits of the reverse mortgage.  Not only did this affect underaged spouses, but prior to this change, many times married couples would leave a younger spouse off the loan even if they were over 62 just to get the higher benefit.  This also caused problems later when the younger spouse did not have the wherewithal to refinance or pay off the loan and also had to sell the property when the older spouse passed.  HUD changed the program parameters in 2014 where married couples can no longer choose to leave one spouse off the loan just to get a larger benefit and eligible non-borrowing spouses can remain in the home but as stated, the amounts they receive now reflect the younger spouses age.

However, getting back to your friend’s situation, there was no law that changed from loans originated in 2012 to now that would affect his ability to remain in the home and that is why I would really have to see what his letter is saying to comment further.  He can look into a reverse mortgage of his own now if both he and the property qualify under current HUD guidelines, he can sell the home or he can replace the loan with other financing.  There is nothing that says he cannot stay in the house.  If he and his wife never put him back on title he may need to do so now through a court procedure (and the home may need to go through probate anyway) but he should look into perfecting the title right away, no matter what he chooses to do.  If he is not on title, he will need to be in order to obtain new financing (reverse or otherwise) or to sell the home.

But the lender cannot dictate that he walk away from the home as you put it, that is not their call.  The house still belongs him or the borrower and the borrower’s heirs if they never put him back on title.  The lender does not own the property and therefore does not determine what he can and cannot do with it.  The lender can also only do what the borrower gave them the right to do when the loan closed.  If your friend is concerned that the lender is trying to change the rules now, all he needs to do is read his original documents and they spell out the agreement between the borrower and the lender.  The lender cannot change the rules later.  If your friend feels that they are trying to do so, I would recommend that he contact an attorney or free legal aid service in your area for assistance and sooner rather than later.

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Question From Elypn H. on 7/24/2018

Should I lose my wife due to death and remary would a new spouse qualify tp stay in the home when I die?

Expert Answer

Good Morning Elypn, 

You cannot add a new spouse to the existing mortgage.  If you would like to be able to have someone else remain in the home under the terms of an active reverse mortgage, you would have to close a new loan in both your names and they would have to be living in the home and be eligible for the loan at the time the loan was closed.

This could be another family member, a friend, a child of yours or really anyone you wish.  You just need to remember that the only person who could be less than 62 and still be allowed to remain in the home would be a qualifying non-borrowing spouse and she would have to also be on title to the home.  All others would also have to be on title as well as living in the home and be a minimum of 62 years of age.

The amount you would be eligible for on the new loan calculations would be based on HUD’s guidelines at the time you apply and the ages of you and the other party so if your new spouse or second individual is younger, you would qualify for less under the program and that may make a difference depending on the balance of the old loan you have to pay off.

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Question From d22753markovich@yahoo.com on 7/21/2018

I was underage when my husband did the reverse mortgage. We have been married 15 years . We are now in the process of a divorce, can I be allowed to remain in the home if he moves to Arizona?

Expert Answer

If the loan was done with you as an eligible non-borrowing spouse, then you can remain in the home under the current loan.  If not, you can still stay, but the loan would be due and payable so you would need to refinance the loan with a new loan in your name.

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Question From Wendy S. on 7/19/2018

My mom was married (to my stepdad of many years) and got a reverse mortgage with her then husband. He then passed away. She then remarried, and is now re-doing her will. She is trying to see if her new husband would be able to stay in the house if she were to pass away. My question is, would she be able to do this? Would her new husband be able to stay in the house? My understanding was that since he was not on the original document that he would have a year to sell the house. My mom is trying to find out if there is a way for him to both keep the house and also stay there. It complicates things in terms of inheritance, and make me a bit concerned, over his intentions.

Expert Answer

Hi Wendy,

She would not be able to add him to the current mortgage.  If she wants to add him to title and refinance the loan in both their names so he can stay in the home, she can do that.  If she adds him to title, that could also complicate what your plans were for heirs, but that is her call while she still owns the home. I strongly suggest you and your mom speak with an attorney who handles estate matters now so that mom's wishes can be clearly stated and the documents can be filed to implement them when the time comes.  The attorney will know the best way to accomplish this, I can't give you legal advice.

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Question From Mamie S. on 7/17/2018

I did a reverse mortgage when I turned 62. My late husband was not on the loan because of his age but was signed on the paperwork. I have married again and my new husband has his own home paid for and doesn't want to be added to my reverse mortgage. My home is still considered my primary residence even though we stay at each others houses days at a time. I still pay my taxes, home insurance and keep the maintenance up. Can this pose a problem for me with my reverse mortgage? Will they still want him added? Haven't reported anything to them yet. Only been married for a month.

Expert Answer

Hello Mamie,

As long as you still live in your home as your primary residence and spend at least 6 months and 1 day or more out of every year in the home, you are meeting the terms of the loan and there are no problems.  You are allowed to be out of the home from time to time and not only is it ok that you don’t “add him to your loan”, you could not even if you wanted to.  The only thing that would cause you a problem would be if you no longer occupied the home as your primary residence.  You are not required to notify the lender of anything at this point.  As long as you continue to pay the taxes and insurance when they become due, maintain the property in a reasonable manner in addition to meeting the minimum residency requirements, you will be just fine.

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Question From Everett C. on 7/16/2018

I got a reverse mortgage on my home before I got married, can my stay in the home if she is not on it and she is Chinese now that i have a reverse mortgage on it and she is living with me?

Expert Answer

Good Afternoon,

We receive questions like this one quite often and I feel now might be a good time to remind all borrowers and prospective borrowers how reverse mortgages work.  More and more borrowers are contacting us to see if newly acquired spouses can be added to their loans or if previously under-aged spouses can now be added and they cannot.  Borrowers need to know this from the start so they can plan accordingly if they think their situation warrants it.

Reverse mortgage benefits are determined based on a number of things; the value of your home, the interest rates in effect at the time; the age of the youngest borrower or spouse and the purchase price if the transaction is a purchase.  When combined, all of these factors are analyzed to determine the risk HUD is willing to accept to by stating the maximum loan amount or Principal Limit they are willing to insure on any given loan.

The reverse mortgage calculator that HUD devised takes into consideration these variables because HUD knows that rates will change over time, the values may increase or decrease, but that people will keep growing older.  And as they grow older, based on actuarial tables, they will only stay in the homes for a certain period of time.  It’s true, some live longer and some move quicker but based on the same type of table insurance companies use to determine life expectancies, the HUD calculator will determine the borrowers’ benefits based partly on the ages of the borrowers.

If borrowers are permitted to bring in other borrowers after the loan is already closed and also allow them to stay in the home for life, the entire premise upon which repayment expectations are made would be upset.  In other words, if you base the benefits on a borrower who is 75 years old and that borrower remarries later to someone who is 50, that loan would not then be expected to repay for another 25 years longer than the original model and for which the benefits were determined.  If the same loan were just left outstanding, the losses to the MIP fund would be catastrophic bringing into question the viability of the program.  No one can build a calculator to quantify the risks for all the unknowns if multiple changes can be made the loan after it closes.

This is why if you remarry and you want to add a new spouse, you have to refinance the entire loan based on the ages of the borrowers at the time the new loan is originated if you want that spouse to also be protected.  And this gets me back to the point I was making earlier about planning accordingly if the situation warrants it.  If you know you have a spouse that was not included on the original reverse mortgage loan, you need to plan for either a refinance adding that spouse or some way for the spouse to be able to pay off or down the loan to be able to remain in the home.

How do you do that?  You could start by not maxing out the line of credit so that when it comes time to refinance, the loan amount is not as high and the spouse has a better chance of obtaining a large enough loan.

You could look into a small life insurance policy.  It probably doesn’t have to pay off the entire reverse mortgage balance and may need to be just enough to pay down enough of the balance so that your spouse can get a loan at that time with no shortfall.  Consider a relocation now if the home is not viable for the spouse alone.  Some borrowers have plans to relocate to be nearer to family or downsize later anyway when one spouse passes so that they don’t have to worry about the reverse mortgage coming due.

And finally, ask yourself if you can’t get the loan at the time, what would you do?  If you have no alternate plan and see no way to work toward one, perhaps a reverse mortgage now is not the right choice for you and your loved ones.  And I think you are doing the right thing by looking in to this now.  If you are remarrying and already have a reverse mortgage as in this case, now is the time to face that and tackle all options together and not make her face it alone later when you are gone. 

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Question From Linda C. on 7/14/2018

Was not on reverse. At time not old enough. Husband passed. They should have received death cert but say they did not. Years have passed and I stayed in property. At first they said I could not be a none borrowing spouse but now they said I could by showing that prior to that I was on loan. And send marriage cert etc. Then owe some taxes to loan Co which once they really do approve can pay plus current to county. So just seeing if this will turn out in my favor. I would like to keep the property

Expert Answer

Hi Linda,

I am very uncomfortable trying to interpret your dealings with another company from a distance.  Everything you are telling me tells me that you are and were not an eligible non-borrowing spouse and that as such, you would not be allowed to remain on the existing loan at this time.  You’re saying below that now the lender is telling you that you could be a non-borrowing spouse by showing that you were on the loan prior – but prior to what and on what loan?

Are they referring to the previous forward loan before your spouse took a reverse mortgage or the reverse mortgage as a non-borrowing spouse?  Based on your previous comments, you were not a non-borrowing spouse and I believe you indicated that the loan was originally taken prior to 2015 when the rules changed for non-borrowing spouses, is that correct?  And what guarantees do you have that if you pay the back taxes on the property that you will actually be allowed to remain? 

You really need to find your original paperwork and if you cannot, you need to request it from the lender (if you were a non-borrowing spouse, you signed a lot of papers and should be able to get copies of everything you signed).  The next step would be to have the paperwork reviewed by an attorney or free legal aid if you do not have an attorney but don’t wait until it is too late.  I would certainly suggest that you find out exactly what your rights and obligations were before you send any money to anyone and I would not wait until it is too late to do so.

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Question From Rita on 7/14/2018

When I got my mortgage I was married but estranged from my husband so he's not on the loan but is on the deed of trust, can he apply for a reverse mortgage we are still married

Expert Answer

Hi Rita,

This is a great question and one that we get every once in a while with couples who are no longer living together but are still legally married.  If you are legally married, as you found out, you both have to sign a lot of the paperwork, even if one of the spouses no longer lives in the home.  Also, married couples, even those living apart, can only get access to one reverse mortgage at a time.  He cannot get another reverse mortgage at this time on another property. 

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Question From Sun on 7/13/2018

My mother took a reverse mortgage but her husband’s name is not on the mortgage loan if she passes what happens to him?

Expert Answer

Good Morning,

That would depend on whether he was at all involved as a non-borrowing spouse and when the loan was originated.  If he is an eligible non-borrowing spouse, meaning he is not on the loan but they took his age and information into account when they did the loan, he still can stay in the home for life provided he meets the same criteria as your mother.  He would not have access to any remaining funds on the line though since he is not a borrower on the loan.  If he is not considered in any of the original documentation as an eligible non-borrowing spouse, then the loan would become due and payable when the last remaining borrower permanently leaves the home.

The disposition of the home depends on your mother’s wishes and the laws of the state in which the property is located.  If he has claim to the property or is her heir, he would have the same rights as any other heirs to pay off the loan and keep the home, sell it and keep the proceeds after repayment of the reverse mortgage or to walk away without liability.  If he has no title or claim to the property, then it would be up to other family members who do to determine what would be the final disposition – the same as would be the case with any other loan on the property.

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Question From Linda C. on 7/10/2018

Husband died. No will. Reverse. How do I do a none borrowers form at court house. I am wife. Mortgage Co said I could do a none borrowing form. As now I am of age and then I could stay in home. Live in Mustang OK. Do I go court house in El Reno. At one time was on loan before did reverse. What do I ask for?

Expert Answer

Hi Linda,

Now you are getting into the realm of legal advice and I am afraid I cannot help you there.  We are not licensed to give legal advice and therefore, I would strongly suggest that you contact a licensed attorney in the area where the property is located.  If you are unable to pay for legal assistance, check on the internet for free legal aid services in your area.  Many times there are attorney’s and paralegals who will offer free legal aid to those who cannot afford to pay for an attorney. 

But you do need to know what the lender is telling you and not telling you.  The lender is merely telling you that you have to go to the court to obtain the title and once you have the title.  I informed you of this in the earlier answers to your earlier questions.  As I stated before, the first step is for you to have the title transferred to your name (or your sons if they are to keep the property as you also indicated before was a possibility) and that transfer needs to be done through the court.  The attorney or paralegal you contact would be able to guide you through this process.

Once you have title to the home, if you are 62 or older, you can apply for your own reverse mortgage.  But you need to know now that the property will have to have increased significantly in value or you will have to come in with quite a bit of cash to close the loan.   You see, HUD has cut back the program in the past few years so as a percentage of value, a reverse mortgage you get today will not give you as much money as it did in the past.  When you add this to the fact that you are paying off a loan on which the amounts HUD would lend was higher at the time, and interest has accrued on the other loan, (and your husband was older) if the balance is not lower on the current mortgage because you did not draw all the funds available, your reverse mortgage benefit will not be great enough to pay off the existing loan unless the property has gone up in value substantially since the last loan was closed.  Before you spend a lot of time thinking this will be your plan of action, I would suggest that you visit our online calculator and see if the reverse mortgage proceeds for you now will be great enough to pay off the existing loan.  If the proceeds for a new loan are not high enough and you do not have the funds to bring in to make up the difference, this option would not work for you and would only be a waste of you time that you could use better.

I would encourage you to visit our calculator at https://reverse.mortgage/calculator to see if a reverse mortgage for you based on the current value, the current HUD parameters and your age are a viable option at this time.  Please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions at all.

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Question From Ron on 7/09/2018

I keep in constant touch with my reverse mortgage company. I have my final extension which expires in October. I was told at that time they can begin to foreclose which usually takes 5 to 6 months and I can stay in the property until I get a final eviction notice. I paid the H away fees and will continue to do so as well as any Assessments in the future, I also have Appliance coverage flood insurance. is my reverse mortgage person telling me the truth which I believe it is and in Florida how long does foreclosure take before you get that final 30-day eviction notice. I read somewhere that in Florida you can get a summons I wasn't told about that. I'm a diabetic almost 62 years old do not have any income but Social Security that I'll be receiving and just want to stay here as long as I can to get my priorities and emotions together it's been very difficult thank you.

Expert Answer

Hi Ron,

I’m sorry you are going through this.  I think I missed something on your question though and I want to be sure I answer as completely as possible.  You said that you are almost 62 years old, which would indicate to me that this was not your loan – is that correct?  That would lead me to believe that you are the heir or a non-borrowing spouse.  Do you have title to the property now?  If you have title to the property, have you approached a real estate agent to determine the viability of sale?  I don’t know what is owed on the loan versus what the current value of the property is, but if the lender has indicated that they will not begin foreclosure until October you do have time to sell the home still if there is still equity in the property (and you are right, even foreclosures on a Deed of Trust which occur faster than Judicial foreclosures, do take a minimum of 5 to 6 months to complete once the Notice of Default has been filed).  If the title to the property is not currently in your name, that will limit what you can and cannot do at this time.

I don’t know what summons you are referring to.  A summons is merely a notification of an action or telling you that you need to appear someplace at a particular time.  I can’t comment on what summons you may be referring to and for that portion of your question, I would strongly suggest that you contact a licensed attorney in your area.  If you feel you cannot afford legal representation, there are usually free legal aid offices throughout the nation and particularly one in your area that would be able to answer any legal question you might have regarding the legal process.  I can tell you that the reverse mortgage is a non-recourse loan.  What that means is that if the loan balance is above what the property is worth and the home will not sell for an amount sufficient to pay off the balance, the lender can look to no other assets to repay the obligation.  Therefore, if you can sell the home before the lender has to foreclose and retain some equity, that is by far the best solution.  If not, I would suggest you contact an attorney or possibly a paralegal from a free legal aid service to determine all timeframes so that you can plan accordingly.

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Question From Maria on 7/02/2018

Hi! My parents live in MD. They are both equal owners on title. Only my mother is on the current mortgage loan. My father has talked about taking on a reverse mortgage without my Mother’s consent or need to sign. Can he do that? Also, what rights does she have? Thanks!

Expert Answer

Hello Maria,

Married applicants cannot close a reverse mortgage without the participation of their spouse.  Because the loan affects both of their rights, even if your mom were not on title she would be required to take part in the loan process or your father would not be able to close the loan.  Non-married co-owners of properties must still have both owners’ consent to place the financing as you cannot encumber only half of a property.  So even if your mom and dad were not married, if she owns the property also, that too would prevent him from doing the loan without her participation.  Conversely, even though she is the only person on the current loan, the same would apply to her with him for a new loan.  She could not do a reverse mortgage on the property without his participation in the process as well.

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Question From Landa on 6/26/2018

We live in Florida, my husband took out a reverse mortgage before we were married. When he passes, will I be able to remain in the condo?

Expert Answer

Hi Landa,

If he took the loan before you were married, you are not on it and therefore, would not be covered by it's terms (the ability to live in the home for life). Once the last remaining borrower on the original loan no longer lives in the home as their primary property, the loan becomes due and payable. To avoid having to face a due and payable situation with one of you still living in the house, you would have to refinance that loan with a new reverse mortgage in both your names.

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Question From Steve on 6/26/2018

My brother and mother are on the loan and the deed, he is 59 my mom is 78 she needed him to get the refinance. But can she still do a reverse mortgage without him on the loan?

Expert Answer

Yes she can.  He will be signing certain documents indicating that he is aware that the loan becomes due and payable when she permanently leaves the home and he needs to be aware of that but otherwise, he can still stay on title with her.

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Question From Beatrice R. on 6/23/2018

Can I add my wife to the dead of the house if I have a reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi Beatrice,

As long as you also stay on title, you can also add anyone at any time to title.  Remember though that this does not protect them from the loan being called due and payable should something happen to you or should you ever permanently move out of the house.  It will establish their ownership but the loan would be due when you no longer live in the home as your primary residence.

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Question From Robert M. on 6/20/2018

I am 69 years old . I have a reverse mortgage on a $1.2M home with a loan amount of $325,000. My girlfriend is 59 and on the deed but not on the reverse mortgage. If I die before her what are her rights. Can she stay in the house and under what circumstances?

Expert Answer

Hello Robert,

Your girlfriend may be on title and that would mean that depending on the manner in which the title is vested and how you have determined the successors rights, she may then own the property either in whole or in some sort of common ownership with your other heirs at the time you pass but that would not affect the loan.  The loan would still become due and payable at the time you no longer live in the property.  HUD has a provision since 2014 for “eligible non-borrowing spouses” who are listed as such at the time the loan closes but this provision does not extend to others such as friends or other family members.

She would have plenty of equity which may allow her to refinance the loan with or without using a reverse mortgage (she would have to qualify under the current program parameters) or possibly sell and relocate, wither with or without the use of a reverse mortgage at the time of her own as well.  But she cannot simply be added to your reverse mortgage and so you should both be considering acceptable alternatives for when that day comes.

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Question From Linda L. on 6/19/2018

I just read your answer & thank you. I just found out the loan was taken out in 2006. My Reverse mortgage company told me last week that if I was married 47yrs. My name is back on the deed I just need to send a copy of my marriage cert. & a copy of our deed-She said the rules are different for a loan that old?

Expert Answer

Hi Linda,

Please forgive me but I am not 100% sure what you are referring to with your question so if I don’t answer this correctly, please don’t hesitate to ask again.  I think you are asking about a non-borrowing spouse situation, is that correct?  But what puzzles me is that I am not sure what resolution you believe you received from the lender.  You are correct that the loans closed in 2006 were under a different set of rules.  I think from what you have written that you were a non-borrowing spouse at the time the loan was closed but what I can’t tell from the question is whether your spouse has passed or if you are just looking to be added to the loan at this time or what?  I am concerned that you may have gotten only partial information and that you need to take more action to protect your interests.

Any reverse mortgage borrower can add a spouse (or anyone else for that matter) to title at any time and the loan cannot be called due and payable under the terms of the loan.  As long as at least one original borrower remains on title and living in the home, the borrower can add others to title and it does not affect the loan.  So yes, you can always be added back to title, always could be added back to title, but that does not add you to the loan or protect you from the loan being called due and payable if you are not a borrower or an eligible non-borrowing spouse if the borrower passes or no longer lives in the home.   The rules were different for loans closed prior to the HUD changes in 2014 that became effective in 2015.  The only way to be certain that the loan would never be called due and payable in the event of the death or if the borrower were to permanently leave the home would be to refinance that loan with a new loan in both of your names so that you are also on the new loan. 

It doesn’t make any difference how long you have been married, so you sending them a copy of the marriage certificate and Deed would not affect this.  Here again, this only makes me think they are working with you in this way now and requesting this information is as a result of the passing of your husband (but again, I’m only guessing).  Don’t confuse the fact that they are requesting information so that they can work with you and give you information about the status of the property/loan and think that they are going to add you to the outstanding mortgage – it doesn’t work that way.  If I am guessing correctly, and something has happened to your spouse, I strongly suggest you look into your own qualification at this time so that you are not taken by surprise if in fact you do receive notice that the loan is now due and payable.

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Question From John D. on 6/15/2018

I am 67 and my wife is 59. We are considering acquiring a home with a reverse mortgage. Can we go on title together with both of us signing the reverse mortgage loan and being on the loan together? If I die can my wife continue to own and live in the house? Does it matter which state the property is located?

Expert Answer

Hi John,

The state does make a difference as the state of Texas for example, does not allow for a non-borrowing spouse and you would not be able to complete the transaction in the state of Texas.  In other states though, you both would be on title and only you would be on the loan but your spouse would be considered an eligible non-borrowing spouse.  This is an important distinction.  On most reverse mortgages we caution borrowers to be wary to make sure that the eligible non-borrowing spouse would be ok knowing that they could live in the home for the rest of their lives without having to make a payment, but they have to know that they could not ever access any additional funds should something happen to the borrowing spouse (the spouse over age 62) and he/she was no longer living in the home.  However, in your case, there really is no adverse effect for the eligible non-borrowing spouse!

When you use the reverse mortgage for purchase, you have access to all the funds from the start to use to buy the home.  For this reason, there are no other funds available later and therefore, the eligible non-borrowing spouse would not lose anything by this provision.  The spouse can live in the home for life without making a payment (the spouse has to meet the same obligations of paying taxes and insurance as the borrower anyway) and they still own the home the same as they would if they were on the loan.  And as I said, since all the eligible proceeds are used from the very beginning to buy the home, there is nothing left on a line of credit that would have been lost to the non-borrowing spouse otherwise.  For the purchase transaction, the underaged spouse is very attractive.  If you live in a state other than Texas and would like to see how the numbers work for you, please feel free to visit me here for a no hassle, no pressure, real-time proposal based on your information and needs!

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Question From Linda on 6/09/2018

My husband and I got a reverse mortgage in 2015 when he was 72 and I was 59. I thought I would be considered the non borrowing spouse and automatically be able to stay in the home if something happened to my husband. However, I just read something that said that the company that funded our reverse mortgage does not accept loans with non borrowing spouses after 2013! I think we were mislead from the funding company and now if something happens to my husband, I will have to vacate. We live in Indiana. What can we do to ensure I do not have to vacate if something happens to my husband.

Expert Answer

Hi Linda,

You should check your loan documents.  If you have a HUD HECM reverse mortgage, you should have the provisions that allow you to stay in 2015. Please review your loan documents, that spells out the terms of the loan, the the changing whims of a lender.

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Question From Cheryl H. on 6/07/2018

If my husband's mother give my husband and me a house, because she can no longer take care of it, Can my husband get a reverse mortgage loan, if the house has no other loans, and taxes paid? He is 65, and I am 57.

Expert Answer

Hi Cheryl,

Many of the loans we close are done by borrowers who have received the property as a result of gift or inheritance and so the answer is yes.  All you need to do is be sure the title has changed and live in the home as your primary residence.  After that, it is the same qualification requirements as any other reverse mortgage with an eligible, non-borrowing spouse.

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Question From Kelly C. on 6/05/2018

Can a spouse re-mortgage on their house together without the other spouse signing the paperwork and not knowing anything about it?

Expert Answer

Hi Kelly,

All individuals on title should agree to any new financing or the lender might have problems enforcing terms of the lien agreement.  One spouse cannot bind the other unless a Power of Attorney had been granted previously.

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Question From Kathi on 6/01/2018

My friend and her husband took out a reverse mortgage 8 years ago. They are now going to divorce. If the husband quit claims the property to wife and she continues to live in the home will the reverse mortgage be called due and payable ?

Expert Answer

Hi Kathi,

There is no problem with this and the loan would not be called due and payable as long as at least one original borrower still lives in the property as his/her principal residence.  So as long as both husband and wife were on the loan at the time the loan was closed, the loan would be just fine if either one of them were to leave the residence as long as the other remained.

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Question From Rita on 6/01/2018

Husband died. I'm non borrowing spouse. He left home to me in his will. Do I have to go to court for probate?

Expert Answer

Hello Rita,

I’m sorry for your loss. Please don’t get the loan and your property rights confused. I can’t tell you what you need to do to secure your property rights because they are different in different states based on the laws but I would suggest you contact an attorney as my guess would be that probate is the first step – but I don’t know and you really need to know.

Secondly, I can tell you that as the non-borrowing spouse, you could be an eligible non-borrowing spouse in which case you would be able to stay in the home without the loan being called due and payable, or a non-eligible, non-borrowing spouse in which case the lender will call the loan due and payable and you would need to either pay the loan off if you want to stay in the home or sell the property.This makes the probate question even more important, especially if you determine that you will need to sell the home.

I suggest that you contact an attorney sooner rather than later so that you know what you need to do and can formulate a strategy that will work to your best interests.

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Question From Annelisa on 5/27/2018

Good afternoon I am a surviving spouse with a reversed mortgage can I stay in my home or do I have to sell?

Expert Answer

Hello Annelisa,

That would depend on a number of things including when the loan was closed and if you were an eligible non-borrowing spouse at the time it closed. Also, you may be able to refi into a loan of your own if you are over 62 and qualify now. I would urge you to first check your documents to see if you have the right to remain in the property after the eligible borrower passes and if not, check your eligibility on our calculator to see if you can do your own reverse mortgage before assuming you have to sell.

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Question From Kim J. on 5/25/2018

My husband and I are separating at 74 yrs old. It was a late marriage and hasn't worked. I'm moving back to my former home which I own and it's paid off. Will I be able to get a reverse mortgage without a divorce?

Expert Answer

Hi Kim,

You "can", but it would require a lot of cooperation on his part. As long as you are still married, even if you are separated, he would still have to consent and sign a lot of the documentation.  Once the divorce is final, you would no longer needs his involvement.

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Question From Linda L. on 5/24/2018

My hubby has serious health issues He's 89 I'm 68- Married for 47 yrs & living in same house for 45yrs Hubby took out Rev. Mort. In 2008 & I was too young-we tried to put me on the RM loan last yr. But could not because there was 1 delinquent mark on our credit report & we could not be approved-When he passes what can I do?

Expert Answer

Hi Linda,

I hate hearing about these stories.  The time to think about this is before you do the loan, not at this point.  We always advised borrowers not to do the loan by dropping an underaged spouse unless you had a clear plan for when the time came that the loan became due and payable should the older spouse predecease you and those are the odds.  Prior to HUD changing the rules in 2015, the only options for loans closed prior to that time with an underaged spouse was the pay the loan off by refinancing or with other funds available, sell the house or walk away with no obligation.  That means that once you turn 62 the loan would have to be refinanced into both your names or make certain that you had a life insurance policy or some other vehicle in place so that the loan could be paid in full upon the demise of the older spouse.  Otherwise, the younger spouse would have to sell the home at that time if there was still equity in the home or let the lender take it if not. 

Many couples had second homes that the younger spouse wanted to move to in that case or plans for the younger spouse to move to be with family and were covered when this time came but many others never considered this eventuality.  It is a very bad time to start trying to figure out what to do when a spouse passes and you are not prepared and I do not envy your position now.  The first thing I would do is determine the equity position in the home and make sure if you have not already done so, that you are added to title again in a manner so that when the time comes, you don’t also have to worry about trying to have the title changed after your spouse has passed.  Probate and other issues are much easier if you are already on title.  If there is equity in the home, you can look into a reverse mortgage for yourself but being much younger, your ability to get one on your current home will depend on the outstanding balance on the existing reverse.  If you used all the funds available at your husbands greater age and accrued interest on that higher balance, the chances are good that you might not be able to get another loan now UNLESS your home’s value is above the HUD limit at the time the loan was originated in 2009 (which would have been $417,000 or lower).  The HUD lending limit today is $679,650.  If your home is at or above this value, you may very well qualify for a new reverse mortgage on the home now.

Finally, if you do have good equity in the home but you don’t think you can get another reverse mortgage on the property due to the values, etc, HUD also offers a reverse mortgage purchase loan that you might be able to utilize to downsize into a new home that meets your needs and will allow you to stay in the home for life without making a payment.  Here again, you don’t have to wait and can actually start this plan now if you find out that the equity is there and this will work for you.  You can do the purchase and downsize while you still have the current house and loan, you just have to also sell the house and pay off the current reverse mortgage to close the new one.  I hope this helps and I wish you the best.  If you would like more information on the refinance or the reverse mortgage purchase, please feel free to visit me at my calculator here

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Question From Jerry on 5/23/2018

My wife and I did a reverse mortgage 8 years or so ago, she passed a year ago. If I bring someone else in the house can I name that person as co-owner to replace my wife?

Expert Answer

Hi Jerry,

You can add anyone to title at any time as long as you also remain on title.  The fact that you add someone to title will not change the terms of your loan though.  In other words, by adding this new individual to title, the property title (depending on how you vest the title) might convey to him/her upon your passing, but that does not change the terms of the loan.  Once you are no longer living in the home, the loan becomes due and payable.  The title can be changed, but you cannot add another person to a loan that has already closed.  If you wish to have a reverse mortgage that would remain outstanding if something were to happen to you, you would have to refinance the loan with a whole new loan in the names of the people for whom you wish to have the loan terms be effective.

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Question From Donna on 5/16/2018

If my home was inherited. My name only on deed. My husband and I are separated not divorced yet. Can I apply for a reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi Donna,

You can always apply for and get the reverse mortgage but there is a caveat, as long as you are separated and not divorced, it will require your spouse to be a part of the transaction by signing forms and attending counseling, etc., even if he does not live in the home and is not on title.   If you do not wish for him to be involved in any way, then you must wait for the divorce to be final and then his participation would not be necessary.

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Question From Ivana on 5/09/2018

I’m 62 years old. I’m on the title. My boyfriend (the owner). Is 56 years old . Can we apply for the reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hello Ivana,

HUD has a provision for eligible non-borrowing spouses that would protect you in the event of the passing of your spouse but it does not extend to unmarried individuals. You can still get the reverse mortgage and stay on title, but the loan would become due and payable if something were to happen to the eligible borrower and he was no longer living in the home.

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Question From Lidia on 5/09/2018

My husband has a reverse at the time he apply for a reverse mortgage I did not qualify, because I was under age. How can I put name on the morgage?

Expert Answer

Hi Lidia,

Unfortunately you cannot just add your name to an existing loan. You would have to refinance that loan with a new loan in both your names.  Please feel free to visit my online calculator to see if a refinance would work for you.

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Question From Verne G. on 5/08/2018

My wife and I have been separated for 20 yrs. No divorce. Do I qualify for reverse mort.

Expert Answer

Hello Verne,

Ues, you van get a reverse mortgage but if you are still married,there will be some participation required by your spouse.  You will not be able to obtain the loan without her knowledge and consent.

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Question From Lillian on 5/08/2018

My husband has died should the reverse mortgage company be notified. I am still living in said house.

Expert Answer

Hello Lillian,

I am sorry for your loss.  If you are also a borrower on the loan, there is nothing you need to do at this time.

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Question From Don on 5/07/2018

I currently have a reverse mortgage on my home. My wife's name is not on the loan (she is younger than 62) but is on our title. She would like to start a part-time custom floral design business doing flower arrangements for weddings and a few business lobbies. I would also like start my own consulting business where I can work from home. Is having a home business allowed with a reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi Don,

HUD will not allow borrowers to use more than 25% of the home for business purposes and there is some business use that HUD will not close a loan once it is determined that the home is being used as such (i.e. hotel or air bnb).  So if your endeavors do not change the nature of your home, it is still a residential property and not commercial or otherwise and you are still using the home as your primary residence, you will have no problem with using a small portion for home-based businesses.  Having said that, I am not personally aware of a lender or HUD ever calling a loan due and payable on an existing borrower who exceeded the 25% rule anyway.  It might mean that the loan would not be approved if you were looking to close the loan today if you exceed the 25% usage, but I have not seen a lender call the note due and payable if the borrower still occupied the home as their primary residence, paid the taxes and insurance on time and did not change the nature of the property (in other words, the neighborhood didn’t change and there were no billboards in the front yard advertising the new businesses).  I think you will be just fine.

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Question From Barb G. on 5/06/2018

My mother-in-law and father-in-law (married) own a house (both names on the deed). He does not live in this house. He owns a different home in his own name (her name is not on his house). He is getting ready to sign the joint house over to his wife so she can get a reverse mortgage. He doesn't want to be involved in any way with the reverse mortgage that's why he's taking his name off the joint home. Since they are married and not divorced.... Is he responsible for the loan (1) if she spends all the money and cannot pay it back and (2) is he responsible for the reverse mortgage after she passes. Will a reverse mortgage company go after the spouse's assets ? or just her estate?

Expert Answer

Hi Barb,

The reverse mortgage is a non-recourse loan and the only thing the lender can ever ultimately look to for repayment is the property itself. However, if they are still married, he will be required to acknowledge and sign many of the reverse mortgage documents.  The lender still can't go after him or other properties as a result.

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Question From Sheryl S. on 5/03/2018

If you are on the title of the home, but not a spouse can you still be a Co borrower on a reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi Sheryl,

If you are 62 years of age or older, you are on title and you live in the home as your primary resident, you do not have to be married to the other owner of the property who also lives there.  We have had siblings, children, cousins and just ordinary friends who owned homes together who got reverse mortgages with both as co-borrowers and full protection if one should pass first when both were over the age of 62 and lived in the property.

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Question From Mel on 5/01/2018

Can I get a reverse mtg on a house i own with my daughter and ex husband and is my primary residence. My adult daughter lives there too. Thank you.

Expert Answer

Hi Mel,

Since HUD issued their Final Rule last year, non-borrowers who are on title no longer have to come off of title for a borrower to get a reverse mortgage as long as other title holders are willing to acknowledge the terms of the loan and allow the financing and there is no rule about who can live with you if they are not on the title to the property.  In other words, you can get the loan whether or not the others living there are on title if you qualify, it will just be a matter of what paperwork will be required.

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Question From Quinn on 4/30/2018

My husband is 74 and I am 68 what happens if only my husband if on the title (in order to get lower down payment ) and then my husband dies?

Expert Answer

Hello,

If this is something you are only contemplating, HUD no longer allows borrowers to do this.  Both ages will be taken into consideration and you would also be allowed to stay in the home for life.  If this is a loan you took prior to 2014 when HUD changed the rules and you are not on a reverse mortgage now, when your husband passes, the loan becomes due and payable.  The loan can be paid off (most achieve this with a refinance) at that time or sold and paid off.  If you received a reverse mortgage after 2014, you should be an eligible non-borrowing spouse though and should be protected.

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Question From Carlene D. on 4/30/2018

My husband is on a reverse mortgage and I am his wife but not on the reverse mortgage but I am on the deed to our house what is the legal of me stay in the house?

Expert Answer

Hi Carlene,

Your issue is not necessarily with someone trying to get you out of the house but in paying the mortgage off when it is called due and payable.  If your husband were to pass, the lender would call the loan due and payable.  You have the title and you absolutely can stay in the home, but there is now a loan that must be paid in full or the lender would institute foreclosure proceedings.  If you can refinance the loan into another loan in your name, or if there are insurance funds to pay the reverse mortgage off, or if you have other funds available to you etc., then you are fine and yes, you can stay in the home.  There is nothing that says you have to move but you must remember that the loan becomes something that you will need to pay off all at once at that time.  This is what some people don’t plan for and that is what causes many of them to sell the home at that time.

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Question From Sheryl S. on 4/30/2018

If I live with my ex husband and my son, if he gets a reverse mortgage and puts me on the title, can I and my son stay in the house if he passes? He is 69 and I am 59

Expert Answer

Hello Sheryl,

To be able to be an eligible non-borrowing spouse and be able to remain in the home after the death of a borrower, you would have to be the borrower’s spouse at the time the loan was originated and meet the HUD guidelines.  Then the program benefits would be determined by your age (the younger borrower) and you would be able to remain in the home even after the borrower passed.

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Question From Cherry W. on 4/26/2018

When we got our reverse mortgage years ago..because I was under age..the agent did it with my mother. She is now deceased.. What happens when he passes. Everything is left to me and we have the original deed with both our names. Do we need to do soething?

Expert Answer

Hello Cherry,

Yes you do need to start taking steps immediately to pay off that loan.  The title will pass to you so you have no issues with owing the home, but the loan will now become due and payable and if you are not prepared to either pay off the loan with other funds available to you or refinance the loan with a loan in your name, eventually the loan will go into foreclosure.  If you are unable to pay off the loan or refinance it, you would be much better off selling the home and keeping the equity than letting it go into foreclosure. 

The sooner you begin getting things ready on your end the better off you will be.  If you wait for the lender to contact you, your time will be limited and you may be forced to accept a loan or a purchase price would not otherwise accept if you had more time to negotiate.

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Question From Rodney K. on 4/24/2018

My wife is 70 years old I am 63 There reverse purchase mortgage is in her name alone I was 58 at the time and she was 63. Is it possible that we could put my name on the title so if and when she was to pass before me I would have a better recourse for selling the house even though I'm a non-borrowing spouse in the state of California and the loan was taken out in September of 2013 prior to the changes of the reverse mortgage laws.

Expert Answer

Hello Rodney,

Not only can you, but I strongly suggest you do so.  The loan documents do not prohibit her from bringing others onto title as long as she also remains on title and continues to live in the home (and meets the other reverse mortgage requirements of payment of taxes and insurance of course).  If you change the title now while you are both alive into something with right of survivorship now (i.e. husband and wife as joint tenants), then that would be one less thing you have to concern yourself with at a very stressful time in your life, after the death of a spouse.  If it is your intent to sell the home at that time, if you are already the legal owner of the property, you would be able to move forward without having to change title first.

Remember, this is not intended as legal advice and you should consult an attorney to discuss any other possible ramifications regarding taxation, heirs, etc.  There are things you want to be sure you do so that you do not create a taxable event with the ownership change and a knowledgeable attorney can keep you from making any costly mistakes.

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Question From Jason on 4/23/2018

My mother married her husband 13 years ago, he is now 82 and she is 76. My mother advised me that her husband has a reverse mortgage, but has guarded this information to himself. Knowing that most likely the reverse mortgage was completed prior to the HUD law change and she is not listed on the mortgage or deed, does she have any rights at all to stay in the home after he passes? or purchase the remaining loan balance to stay in the home? Since they are married, does she have the legal right to obtain the mortgage information regarding the loan now? just attempting to help her plan for the future...

Expert Answer

Hello Jason,

There are two separate issues here.  One is the mortgage and one is the legal right of the spouse.  The lender or servicer will only work with the individual who is listed on the loan or someone authorized by that individual to obtain information.  Financial privacy rights laws do not allow the lender or their authorized servicer to give out any information to unauthorized parties.  If your mom’s spouse is guarding the information after 12 years of marriage and not allowing her to gain any knowledge of the loan, I think that’s a shame but I know of no way to circumvent his desires on a loan on which only he signed as the borrower to grant rights to a third party (even if she is his spouse now). 

With regard to staying in the home by paying off the loan or refinancing if/she he passes, part of that would depend on how the title passed.  Will she even own the home at that time or does it pass to other heirs?  If she inherits the home, as the heir and the new property owner, she would have the right to repay the obligation and remain in the home or she could sell the property.  If she does not inherit the property and the title went other heirs, it would be up to the other heirs as to how that would be handled.  Either way, the loan would be due and payable at that time.

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Question From Bill on 4/19/2018

I am 78 and only lien holder of my property . I got a reverse mortgage around 10 years ago. However, I married my wife 7 years ago, she is 42 years old. and a non borrower. I have equity of about $300k in the house $700k. What would happen if I pass away before she does( highly likely) What are her rights. Can't refinance she is to young? I think only option is to sell the house, payoff borrower and keep any remaining equity.? How long can she stay in house under current law 6 mo. to a year. Any other feasible options?

Expert Answer

Hi Bill,

If you plan to leave the house to her (and it sounds like you do), I would suggest you look into adding her to title now.  You should discuss this with your estate attorney or family to determine any other possible ramifications, but by doing so now, may be able to have her already on title and then not have to worry about having the title changed after you passed while the clock is ticking and eating up her available time going through probate, etc..  This is not legal advice, it’s just one possible method and you should check with your attorney to see if this is a good way for you to go.

She would have to either refinance the loan or pay the loan off with other funds available to her.  If she could not do that, then she would have to sell the home and the equity would be hers after the reverse mortgage balance had been repaid.  The best thing you can also do is to contact the servicer now and find out what they will require from her at that time to negotiate and get information on the loan.  It may require a written authorization, it may require a Power of Attorney but whatever they will need at the time, get it done now so that she has authorization to obtain any information she needs to proceed on the closing of the loan.

Most of the time, the servicer will take a while to even be in a position to begin any actions to recover the loan balance but I advise people not to wait until too late.  If you know that you must sell the home because you cannot get a new loan, then work on doing so sooner rather than later.  Have all the pieces in place so that you can work with the lender and put the home on the market as soon as is feasible.  If that is going to be the inevitable outcome anyway, do it under your own terms while you still have time to take your time and get the best offer.  Don’t wait until the servicer starts a foreclosure action and then you are forced to take a poor offer just to meet the timeframe.  It usually takes upwards of 6 – 9 months to even get things to a point where a property is ready to foreclose but why take the chance?

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Question From Berths V on 4/19/2018

How do I write a letter to the reverse mortgage company to be added as a non spouse borrower.

Expert Answer

Hello,

I’m not sure if you mean you would like to be added as a borrower who is not the current borrower’s spouse (as would be the case if you were not married but lived in the same home) or if you are actually referring to a non-borrowing spouse (as would be the case if you were recently married but were not on the existing loan taken out before the marriage), or if you were a non-borrowing spouse and are now seeking a way to be added, but in any case, you could not be “added” to the current loan. Your spouse or the current property owner can add you to title if you are not on the title to the property, but you can’t just add another party to a loan that has already closed. If you wanted to change the terms of an existing loan by adding additional people to it, that would take a whole new loan and therefore, you would have to refinance the existing loan to include both of you in the new loan.

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Question From Collette C. on 4/18/2018

My husband died 3 years ago and I want to get remarried and move out of the state is it possible to just left reverse mortgage company take the house back if I could not make enough money to pay off

Expert Answer

Hello Colette,

The reverse mortgage is a non-recourse loan which means that the lender cannot seek repayment from any other assets you have but if you voluntarily let the house go into foreclosure because you just don’t want to live there any more or try to sell it, there are other ramifications.  The lender could not seek repayment from any other assets but you would have a foreclosure against you and your credit.  You also would not be eligible for another reverse mortgage (or any HUD type financing for that matter) for as long as there was a loss outstanding on the loan.  Since spouses are included in reverse mortgage considerations, that would make your new spouse ineligible for a new loan later as well if you tried to obtain a new loan after letting one reverse mortgage go.  You would be far better off if the property could be sold – have you looked into this option?

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Question From Betty H. on 4/16/2018

I have a reverse mortgage and if I die can the husband that is not on it. buy it ?

Expert Answer

Hello Betty Jean,

If your husband is your non-borrowing spouse and your heir, you can add your husband back to title right after the loan closes.  He doesn’t have to wait for you to pass to try to “buy back” the property.  This way, he would already own it and it would just be a matter of him deciding if he wanted to pay off the loan and keep the house, less it or what.

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Question From Mason L. on 4/15/2018

Your Question...My wife and I are considering purchasing a home in California. I am 82 and she is 56. We would like to get a reverse mortgage on a property worth about $4,000,000. Title on our current residence is held by me as my separate property and I plan to take title to the new property in the same manner. Using your calculator it appears that if she were not on the loan I could get an "Initial Cash Draw" of about $1,900,000. If she is on the loan as a "non-qualifying spouse" the ICD amount drops to about $252,000. My question is whether, under the current law, it is even possible for me to get the loan without her being on it (please provide cite to applicable provision of law). We are aware that in that scenario her security would be impaired should I die before she is financially able to handle any new loan obligations on her own, but she would be amenable nevertheless. Life insurance to provide proceeds to pay off RM would be a consideration. Thank you.

Expert Answer

Hello Mason,

There is not currently a jumbo reverse mortgage program that allows for the provision of a non-borrowing spouse.  This is the reason for such a disparity.  If you are unmarried, the calculator only takes your age into consideration to determine the loan amount or Principal Limit.  The Jumbo or Proprietary Reverse Mortgages currently have no provision for a non-borrowing spouse and all borrowers must be 62 years of age or older.  Therefore, when you add a spouse aged 56 to the equation, the only program available is the HUD HECM program and the loan limits are much lower and they take her age into consideration. 

Until a jumbo program comes into the market that allows for a non-borrowing spouse or borrowers below the age of 62, the HUD program is the only option.

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Question From Mary lu on 4/11/2018

If separated and two names on deed can I only sign?

Expert Answer

Hello Mary Lu,

If you are married, both spouses must sign.  Separated is still married until the divorce is final and then at that time, only your signature would be required.

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Question From FAYE S. on 4/09/2018

MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE A REVERSE MORTGAGE ON OUR HOME. HE RECENTLY PASSED AWAY. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

Expert Answer

Hello Faye,

Firstly, let me tell you that I am sorry for your loss.  You can relax though, if you and your husband had the loan together, you don’t need to do anything at this time.  As long as at least one of the original borrowers remains living in the home, the reverse mortgage is still in effect and there are no reporting requirements you have to meet.

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Question From Warren C. on 4/07/2018

My wife currently has a reverse mortgage on her house(her principal residence) she took out in 2010. I am not named on the loan or on the title. I live in a separate home nearby which is my principal place of residence. Is it possible for me to apply for a reverse mortgage on my house? I am 72 and my house is free and clear and worth approximately $450,000. Thanks!

Expert Answer

Hello Warren,

Whether you are both living together or not, married couples can only originate one reverse mortgage for the individuals in the marriage at a time, regardless of whether or not one spouse originated the loan before the couple was married or whether or not they cohabitate.  When the lender puts your wife’s information into the HUD system as a non-borrowing spouse on a new loan you attempted to close, it would come back as ineligible because she already has a reverse mortgage. 

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Question From Debra H. on 4/06/2018

My mom signed her deed over to her significant other because she was 61 at the time he took the reverse mortgage out. She's been with him for 47 years does she have any legal rights to stay in the home? She's now 66 years old..

Expert Answer

Hi Debra,

If she did that 5 years ago as the math seems to indicate, that would have been before HUD made the changes to the program to allow non-borrowing spouses to also be allowed to stay in the home for life.  When they closed the loan in 2012 or 2013, by her coming off title and signing over the home to her significant other, they did not use her age at the time to determine the benefit amount and therefore, she does not have the same protections as those whose younger ages were considered when determining the loan amount.

However, since they are both over 62 now, if the home is located in an area where they have experienced appreciation, they may be able to refinance the loan now in both their names and then that would not be a problem later.  They may even find that they have access to a little more money now but their eligibility would depend on how much the home had appreciated and how far over 62 he was at the time as that would mean that the benefit amount was derived based on an older age for a borrower at a time before HUD cut back benefits.  Follow me over to my calculator and with just a little information, I can help you determine if a refinance would work in their case.  For a refinance of an existing reverse mortgage, you will need their current statement for the calculations.

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Question From Flavio A. on 4/05/2018

If the borrowing spouse dies and the house wa put in her name only will the non borrowing spouse be able to stay in the house after the death of the borrowing spouse

Expert Answer

Hi Flavio,

That depends on a number of things.  But to make the answer fairly short, in order to be able to stay, a non-borrowing spouse would have to have been designated as an “eligible” non-borrowing spouse at the time the loan was originated, must have been living in the home at that time and still is living in the home and must take title to the property within a short time after the borrower passes.  To be an eligible spouse, the loan must have been closed after HUD defined the eligible non-borrowing spouse status in Mortgagee Letter 2015-02 and it became effective with all Case Numbers issued after January 12, 2015. 

Those previously ineligible (underaged) spouses of reverse mortgage borrowers became eligible non-borrowing spouses and they are now allowed to continue to live in the home, but then again, their ages are also taken into consideration when the reverse mortgage proceeds are determined.   The problem HUD had previously is that the loan amounts may have been based on the life expectancy of the borrower who might be in his/her late 70’s and who removed a spouse in their early 50’s to get the loan but that would obviously throw off all expectations of a payback period and corresponding loan amounts.  Under the new parameters, the older borrower can now still get the loan but the younger borrower’s age is used to determine the benefit or loan amount and that amount is significantly lower, but then again, the younger spouse can also stay in the home for life. 

To determine whether or not your loan contains the provisions necessary to allow your spouse to remain in the home, you can either check to see if the loan application was taken after January 12th, 2015 or review your loan documents (Note and Deed of Trust or Mortgage).  The non-borrower provisions are clearly laid out if your loan contains provisions to allow a younger spouse to remain after the older spouse’s passing.

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Question From Flavio A. on 4/05/2018

Is the non borrowing spouse still protected even if the house was put solely in the name of the borrowing spouse to get the loan?

Expert Answer

Hello Flavio,=

That depends on when the loan was closed.  HUD changed the rules and the non-borrowing spouses started receiving protection under the new rules early in 2015.  Prior to that, the non-borrowing spouse’s age was not taken into consideration in the loan calculations and therefore, only the borrower’s age was used to determine loan benefits.  On those older loans, the loan becomes due and payable when the borrower is no longer living in the home and therefore the non-borrowing spouse does not receive the same protection.   If you are not sure which loan you have, your loan documents will tell you.  The loans done under the new terms specifically spell out the rights of the non-borrowing spouse whereas the older loans do not even mention the non-borrowing spouse. 

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Question From Val on 4/01/2018

I am 64 and my wife is 56. what happens if I die. Does she lose the house?

Expert Answer

Hi Val,

If you are talking about getting a loan now, your spouse would be a non-borrowing spouse on the loan and she would not have access to any money still available on the line if you pass with money unused, but she would still be able to live in the home for her life as well.  HUD changed the rules a few years back so that non-borrowing spouses are now protected as long as they meet the same rules as the borrowers (the live in the home as their primary residence, pay the taxes and insurance and maintain the home in a reasonable manner).

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Question From Kim on 3/20/2018

What if my spouse is able to get a reverse mortgage, but I am 23 years younger than he. What would happen if he passed away? Would I lose our home?

Expert Answer

Hi Kim,

Under the rules that changed in 2015, you would be considered an “eligible non-borrowing spouse” as long as you were on the title and lived in the home at the time the loan was received and continued to live there and pay the taxes and insurance and any other assessments (such as HOA dues), you could continue living in the home for life even at the time your husband passed.  Under this scenario, the HUD program also takes your age into consideration from the start when they determine the benefit or loan amount so the amount he would receive will be less than a borrower his age that does not have a younger spouse because they are using your age as well to be sure you can remain even after he has passed. 

The thing you do want to consider is that if he passes, since you are not on the loan, you would not have access to money left on the line of credit at that time (if any).  Because you are not a borrower on the loan, if there was a line of credit available of, for instance, $100,000 when your husband passes, you would not have to repay those funds if you sold the house because you never borrowed them, but you also would not have access to them.  Some thing to keep in mind in your considerations.

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Question From Brandy on 3/06/2018

My mother and my stepdad have a reverse mortgage. My mother's name is on the title. She is not one of the borrowers because she wasn't 62 when they took out the reverse mortgage. There isn't any funds available. My stepdad was put in a nursing home in January of 2017 and he passed away in June of 2017. My stepdad had dementia and was on the dementia/alzehimers floor of the nursing home. His son forged a letter and sent it to the mortgage company saying no one was living at the home and didn't know where his wife was. So, now they are sending my mom into foreclosure. My mom sent in all the information that the mortgage company asked for in the summer and called them weekly,but every letter my mom was receiving his son has been receiving. The sons name isn't on the loan either but my mom occupies the resident. I just don't understand. My mom has been in that house for 17 years.

Expert Answer

Hi Brandy,

If your mom was an “eligible non-borrowing spouse” on the first loan, then my advice to you would be to have her contact the lender and supply them with whatever documentation they require to show that she does, and always has, lived in the home.  They will probably be a bit dubious since the mail is always sent to the property and unless the son is also living there, he would not have had access to the notices (and you already told me he does not).  But you may need to get HUD involved as well and possibly enlist the aid of an attorney to be sure your rights are protected to be sure that they do not call the loan due and payable or continue with this process.

However, if the loan was taken out before HUD changed their rules in 2014 and implemented them in 2015 with regard to non-borrowing spouses, your mother’s age was not taken into consideration when the loan benefits were determined and therefore whether her stepson sent in notification or the lender was notified through other means, the loan would be due and payable at this time.  If your mom is on title, she still owns the home, but the loan is due.  This means she would need to either pay the loan off with funds available to her or refinance it at this time with another loan in her name if she wanted to keep the property and continue living there or consider selling at this time.  This is the main reason we had always advised borrowers to consider very carefully prior to closing a loan for just the qualifying borrower when one spouse was under-aged before HUD changed their program.  In fact, today still we remind borrowers that even though non-borrowing spouses may be able to stay in the home, they will have no access to remaining funds on credit lines after the borrower passes and caution them to always keep that in mind before proceeding.

The first thing you need to do is determine if mom is an “eligible non-borrowing spouse”.  If so, show the lender that mom does and always has lived in the home.  If not, you have to realize that the fact that the loan became due and payable when her husband passed was one of the terms under which they obtained the loan and they closed the loan under that provision.  In that case, I would advise you to be sure you had mom work to refinance the loan or take steps to get the most equity from the home that mom can get at this time by selling the home herself if possible because foreclosure will not do that.

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Question From JB on 3/05/2018

Can a Non Borrowing Spouse who is on title to a home able to participate in a Reverse Mortgage? Her birthdate is 09/16/1956

Expert Answer

Hello JB,

I’m not sure I understand the question but please allow me to answer as best I can.  If the spouse is non-borrowing on another mortgage now and the couple want to do a reverse mortgage, the status of the old loan makes no difference at all.  If the spouse is on title and lives in the home and is over the age of 62, that spouse can also be on the loan and be a co-borrower, regardless of the existing mortgage.  Since in this case the spouse would not be 62 until September though, if you wanted to close the loan prior to that time, the younger spouse would be an “eligible non-borrowing spouse” which would allow that spouse to live in the home for life if anything happened to the older, borrowing spouse, but it would not give the younger spouse access to any funds left after the borrowing spouse passed.  For this reason, if you are not using all your funds just to pay off your existing mortgage, you may really want to think twice about doing the loan before September.  However, if you decide to move forward, just make sure you know the rules because even though the eligible non-borrowing spouse can remain in the property for life, if there is a very large amount of money left on the line that he or she cannot use, it might not be the best option.

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Question From John T. on 3/01/2018

My wife and her sister inherited a house from her mother years ago. Sister has lived in the house for years. My wife gave her half to the niece last year. Sister is 65, niece is 47. Is a reverse mortgage possible in this situation? If not, would it help if niece gives her half of house back to my wife (house would not be principal residence of wife)?

Expert Answer

Hello John,

All borrowers on a reverse mortgage must be 62 years of age.  HUD will allow non-borrowing spouses under the age of 62 to remain on title and give them protection to live in the ho even if the borrower passes, as long as they live in the home and continue to meet all the same requirements as the borrower with regard to property obligations should the borrower pass before them.  In your case, the niece is not a non-borrowing spouse, they are not married and therefore they would not meet this exception. 

If the half ownership were deeded back to your wife, she and her sister could get a reverse mortgage under HUD’s new Final Rule issued just September of last year IF they both occupy the property and both would have the right to remain in the home for life, regardless of who passed first or if one left the home for any reason later.  However, since your wife does not occupy, under this new final rule, she can stay on title but will have to sign several certifications that she knows that the borrower is getting the HECM mortgage; Acknowledges the terms and conditions of the loan (that it becomes due and payable when the occupying borrower is not longer living in the home); acknowledges that the property will serve as collateral for the HECM loan and the non-occupying borrower will also have to attend counseling.  In the past, HUD would have required that she be removed from title but they realized that she could be added back at any time (as explained in the Final Rule) and so they created the certifications and now will allow this situation to occur. 

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Question From BETTY on 2/25/2018

My husband is 62, I'm 54! He is not on the title of the house, I bought the house before marriage, do we qualify for reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi Betty,

You would have to add your Husband to title and you would be the non-borrowing spouse at that point (he would be the only one of the two of you on the loan), but you can do the loan under those circumstances.  The positive is that as long as you both are living there, you will have access to all the funds of the mortgage and even if he predeceases you, you can continue to live in the home for the rest of your life with the same terms (you have to keep the taxes and insurance current and reasonably maintain the home).  The negative is that if your husband were to pass and there was still a lot of money still left on the line of credit unborrowed, those funds would not be available to you because you are not a borrower on the loan.  You need to consider all the benefits and ramifications and decide if it is right for you.

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Question From William B. on 2/23/2018

I'm thinking of a reverse mortgage. My wife is 65 years of age and I am 66, but she was not put on the refinancing of our home, because of interest rates. We live in NC. since she is not on the mortgage title, but she would be on the reverse mortgage as a borrower along with me, is she safe if I die first? Would she be considered a borrowing spouse?

Expert Answer

Hi William,

You would have to add her to title to be a borrowing spouse.  This would allow her to also have access to the funds still available on the loan if there is a balance available when you pass.   If she remained off title (and I don’t know why you would want to do that), she would be a non-borrowing spouse but her age would still be considered and she would also be allowed to stay in the home even if anything happened to you.  The only thing is, a non-borrowing spouse has no access to the loan funds and so if something happened to you she could not access the funds and although she could continue to live in the home without having to make a payment, the loan proceeds would be frozen and unavailable to her (even if it was an untimely accident and the majority of the loan was still unused early in the term).  Because of these circumstances, I can’t think of any reason not to add her to the title and just make her a co-borrower on this loan regardless of the circumstances of the last loan.

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Question From Robert C. on 2/19/2018

My wife and I got a reverse mortgage 2 years ago. I am 64 and my wife is 61. She is the non borrowing spouse. Is 62 still the age required to add her to the title? We live in California. She will be 62 in a few months anyway, but who do we go to about adding her to the title?

Expert Answer

Hi Robert,

You can add your wife to title at any time, you do not have to wait until she is 62 years old.  The documents do not prohibit you from adding others to title as long as you are still on title which will help her if anything happens to you and she needs to act regarding the property because she would already be on title, but that does not allow her to remain in the home unless she is an eligible non-borrowing spouse.  If you did the loan with her as the eligible non-borrowing spouse, then she can also live in the home for life but I would whole heartedly suggest that you add her to title now.  Any attorney who is familiar with title and taxation should be able to help make your change to make sure that there is no affect on the taxes on the home. 

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Question From Frances L. on 2/19/2018

If my husband dies, (do not have a reverse loan now) and I am not on the home loan, but in his will states I get the home, can I do a reverse mortgage, to continue to live in the home?

Expert Answer

Hi Frances,

As long as you are over the age of 62, the home is in your name at the time you apply and you and the home both meet HUD’s guidelines, yes, you can do a reverse mortgage under those circumstances.

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Question From Mike L. on 2/16/2018

Do both parties have to be 62 or over in Texas or can one party be younger?

Expert Answer

Hi Mike,

As of the date of this writing, Texas state does not currently allow one spouse to obtain the reverse mortgage by relinquishing the ownership rights of the other spouse in order to do so.  There have been many discussions of allowing non-borrowing spouses, especially since they are now protected when they are eligible non-borrowing spouses at the time the loan is closed, but it has not passed at this time.

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Question From Stella on 2/14/2018

My husband had reverse mortgage on his home when we got married. I'm 62 years old if my husband dies will I be able to continue to live in the home plus he has done a last will and testament leaving me the home? We live in Virginia

Expert Answer

Hi Stella,

If you were not a co-borrowing spouse or an eligible non-borrowing spouse at the time the loan was closed, you do not have the protection of being able to remain in the home for life after the borrower passes.  If he has done a will to leave you the home, you may own the property, but you would still have to either pay off the loan with your funds or refinance the loan at that time to continue living in the property.  You both can refinance the loan now in both names and this would not be the case but then you would both have to qualify for a whole new loan at the current terms and if you are 62 now, depending on how old your husband is or actually was at the time he got the loan, and the current value of the home versus the value then, the new loan parameters may not be enough to pay off the entire balance of the old loan.  ARLO can tell you if a refinance would work for you by clicking here ARLO or going to https://reverse.mortgage/arlo.  It’s free, easy and no obligation to see how the numbers would work for you!

One thing I would recommend if he has changed the will to leave you the house anyway is that you contact an attorney to discuss having the method of title changed to both your names now with right of survivorship.  You can ask the attorney to be certain that it is done so that there are no tax consequences and then if something were to happen to your husband, you would already be on title.  This should eliminate the need for probate of the property or anything to delay your ability to act with regard to securing financing or selling the home at that time – but check with the attorney.  I don’t know if there are any other family members or if there are any other issues, but I have seen too many instances where the title is tied up in probate court or someone else in the family contests a will (especially in the case of second marriages where there are children by the first marriage or other heirs who were not approving of the second spouse) who made it impossible for the will of the married couple to be carried out or at least in a timely manner.  If you change the title now while you are both here and able to make sure your wishes are followed, it gives the remaining spouse more freedom to do what they need to do later.  I can’t give you legal advice so I would certainly discuss this with your attorney but the loan documents allow for it as long as the borrower remains on title with you and does not transfer all of the interest to another party. 

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Question From Bill on 2/14/2018

I have a reverse mortgage under my name only and wish to refinance. I am now married, can I refinance my existing mortgage and leave her off the deed?

Expert Answer

Hi Bill,

This is a very interesting question and let me make sure I answer it carefully for you.  Yes, you can leave her off the Deed, there is no reason you have to add her to title.  However, if she is married to you and occupying the home at the time you do the loan, HUD considers her an “eligible non-borrowing spouse” which means that she will have the right to live in the home after you pass subject to certain conditions – as far as the loan is concerned.  One of those conditions is the ability to perfect the title in her name and if you both have set something up so that the title will pass to your other heirs for example, she would not be able to do so and therefore the loan would become due and payable at that time and your heirs would have to proceed as though she was never part of the equation and either pay off the loan with their funds, refinance the loan with another loan or sell the home to pay off the loan.

Also, it is important to note that just because you intend to leave her off title, HUD will still consider her age when determining the amount of the benefits due to the fact that she can live there for the rest of her life under their rules, even if that is not your intent.  She would have some documents and counseling to attend as your spouse regardless, but if she is younger, your benefit amount will be lower whether you include her on the loan or not.

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Question From Janine G. on 2/07/2018

Can a widow get a reversed mortgage if the spouse is deceased and on the deed?

Expert Answer

Hi Janine,

Yes you can, but there are conditions.  Firstly, you and your spouse had to have taken the title in some form that allows right of survivorship.  Joint Tenants, Community Property (and sometimes with right of survivorship stated), just Husband and Wife with no expressed interest, etc. all pass title automatically to the surviving spouse upon death of one of the spouses in CA.  You would have to check for those in your state.   However, some couples choose to take title as Joint tenants with an expressed interest.  For example, John Smith as his 50% undivided interest and Mary Smith as her undivided 50% interest as Tenants in Common (and the interest can be in any proportions).  Typically this is the case with other than married individuals and couples of second marriages when individuals want to assure family members of their share of an inheritance, etc.

To do the loan though, if the title was such that it reverted to you, you just have to get an Affidavit of Death recorded so that just the remaining spouse can get the loan.  Your lender and your title company can help and it is not difficult, you sign the form at closing and it is recorded with the death certificate and you typically get several death certificates for just these types of purposes at the time your spouse passes form the mortuary who handles the funeral.

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Question From ARTHUR W. on 2/04/2018

If one spouse has dementia and needs funds from a jointly owned home, how does that work for the non-borrowing spouse who may not want to make the loan?

Expert Answer

Hello Arthur,

I’m not sure I can answer this question as asked.  When you say a “non-borrowing spouse” (NBS), that typically means a spouse who either is not yet 62 or is not otherwise eligible for the loan (doesn’t  live in the property, etc.).  Either way, both souses must agree to the terms of the loan and sign the loan paperwork or the loan will not close.  That is true for any reverse mortgage regardless of whether there are any issues with incompetence (dementia) or not.  If one spouse does not want the loan, he/she can refuse to allow the loan on a jointly held property.  In fact, HUD has requirements of spouses for some signatures on some documents regardless if they are even on the ownership of the property and never will be.  If you are married, HUD does require your spouse to sign some of the disclosures on the loan (or their POA). 

Normally, a NBS does not have access to the funds and this is something that we always caution borrowers about when considering doing a reverse mortgage with a NBS, that if something happens to the borrower, the NBS can stay in the home if they are an eligible NBS (they are living in the home at the time of the loan and continue to do so and then follow all the same conditions as the borrower with respect to keeping taxes and insurance and any other property charges and maintenance current), but they cannot have access to any remaining funds once the borrower no longer lives in the home.  In your scenario, I don’t know which spouse has the dementia, but if the NBS is the borrower who does not and is therefore the Power of Attorney,  ( “POA” and the POA must predate the onset of the Dementia as determined by the POA document and doctor’s letters verifying the onset of the illness), then the spouse without the dementia would be the one requesting funds until the passing or the permanent relocation out of the property by the borrowing spouse, at which time any remaining funds on the line would no longer be available even if the other spouse had the POA.  An eligible NBS who was so deemed when the loan closed can remain in the home for life as well without the loan being called due and payable but if there were still funds available on the reverse mortgage, the NBS cannot access them. 

I hope this answers your question but if I misunderstood the intent, please feel free to contact our office.

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Question From Sarah T. on 1/31/2018

We took out a reverse mortgage on our house in Texas in 2007. I was 66 at the time, and my husband was 71 then. The loan officer said we could get more money by me deeding over my half of the house to my husband, so that's what I did. The house is now in his name only. I signed the Deed of Trust, which says that I am a "borrower," but I did not sign the Note. Only my husband signed the "Home Equity Conversion Note." Last year my husband had to go into a care facility, and I am still living in the house. But the lender is telling me that since my husband is no longer living in the house, they can foreclose on the house. I know that HUD did something about this situation in 2014, but our reverse mortgage was done in 2007. Since I am still living in the house as my homestead (even though it's in my husband's name), can I stop them from foreclosing? We are in Texas, and I have lived in this house for more than 25 years.

Expert Answer

Hi Sarah,

I would recommend that you contact a local attorney to determine your rights on this matter.  I cannot remember the law from 2007 and I could not give you legal advice even if I thought I could, but I don’t remember being able to close a loan in Texas by removing a spouse around that time, to get a higher loan amount or with an underaged spouse in order to close the loan in any instance.  That is forbidden today, but that could have changed sometime after you closed your loan and I have no idea for certain what the laws were when you closed your loan.  This is why you really need to speak to a licensed attorney in your state to determine your legal rights to be sure.  

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Question From Lisa on 1/30/2018

Mine and my husbands name are on the house deed, so can he get a reverse mortgage without my signature?

Expert Answer

Hi Lisa,

No, your husband cannot get the reverse mortgage loan without your involvement.  In fact, just the fact that you are married would require your signatures on several documents even if you were not on title.

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Question From Bradford L. on 1/30/2018

Does the spouse have to be on the deed to receive benefits?

Expert Answer

Hello Bradford,

The spouse does have to be on the loan and therefore on the title in order to continue to have access to the loan should the borrower on title pass before them.  The spouse could be an eligible non-borrowing spouse that allows them to stay in the home for the rest of their life even if something happens to the eligible borrowing spouse on title so they still do benefit in that instance, but if there is still money available on a line of credit and the borrower passes, the non-borrowing spouse would not have access to those funds. If you are using all of the reverse mortgage proceeds from the start (as would be the case on a purchase or possibly to pay off an existing loan), this would be a moot point and the eligible non-borrowing spouse would have the same protections and benefits as the borrower.

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Question From Julie RE. on 1/28/2018

I am a non borrower on the house we have had the loan in 2008 if my husband passes can I still live in my home?

Expert Answer

Hi Julie,

In 2008, the reverse mortgages closed did not have the same provisions for non-borrowing spouses and they did not take the younger, non-borrowing spouse’s age into consideration when determining the benefit or Principal Limit amount.  Therefore, they are not set up to allow anyone other than the borrower live in the home for life.  To ensure that you can also stay in the home even after your spouse passes, if you are now over the age of 62, you and your spouse should consider a refinance in both names.  Since you are younger, the amount available will be less (unless the property has gone up in value significantly) so that will be one of the factors you will have to weigh, but now is a good time to consider all options while all options are still available to you.

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Question From James G. on 1/28/2018

If a borrower was single at the time she secured a reverse mortgage loan and later married -- can her husband be added to the loan? (Both are over 70 years old.)If this is not possible, is refinancing the loan an avenue in order to the add the non-borrowing spouse's name to the account?

Expert Answer

Hi James,

You cannot add additional borrowers to an existing loan and refinancing is the only way to achieve what you are seeking to accomplish at this time.  

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Question From Steven on 1/27/2018

My wife and I are separated and live in a state, Maryland, which requires 2 years separation in order to get divorced. My wife has never been on the deed, can I get a reverse mortgage without her effecting my benefit. She has been out of the home for a period of time.

Expert Answer

Hi Steven,

We are not licensed in Maryland so I and only speak to the HUD requirements.  I don’t know if the state has anything that may be in addition to the information I am about to give you.  HUD does allow you to get the loan on your own in this circumstance, but until you are actually fully divorced, she will still have to sign on some of the paperwork as a non-eligible, non-borrowing spouse.  I don’t know the current status of your relationship but if you apply before you are legally divorced, she will be called upon to sign some of the paperwork and attend the counseling.  If you want to be able to do the loan without her being involved at all, you would have to wait for the divorce to be final.

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Question From Cheryl P. on 1/26/2018

Can my spouse qualify for a reversed mortgage if am not yet 62?

Expert Answer

Hi Cheryl,

Unless you live in a state like Texas where they state laws forbid it (and that may change), then you can be a Non-borrowing Spouse and your spouse who is over the age of 62 can get the loan.  The good thing now is that HUD will also take your age into consideration and you will also be able to live in the home for the rest of your life without having to make payment on the loan (still have the same rules as the borrower, must live in the home as your primary residence, pay the taxes and insurance when they are due and maintain the home in a reasonable manner).  The one thing you do need to keep in mind is that since you are not a borrower on the loan. If something should happen to your spouse and there was still money available on the loan, you would not have access to those funds because you are not the borrower on the loan.  Something to consider and keep in mind.

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Question From Bob on 1/26/2018

Can you be a borrower on a reverse mortgage if you are not married, we’ve been together over 5 years?

Expert Answer

Hi Bob,

If you are both over the age of 62, living in the home and on title, you meet the criteria.  There is no requirement that you are married.  The only time there is a specification for married couples is if you are trying to obtain a loan and one person is under the age requirement of 62.  HUD only allows this for a non-borrowing spouse, otherwise if both individuals are over 62 there are no marriage stipulations.  We have done loans for completely unrelated parties who are both living together and on title, siblings living together and even where a parent and a child over the age of 62 both obtained a reverse mortgage together.

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Question From Michelle on 1/23/2018

I have a reverse mortgage with my husband. I want to know if he moves out, can i have the reverse mortgage put into just my name alone?

Expert Answer

Hello Michelle,

Once a loan is completed and the legal documents are recorded, the lender does not remove one borrower at a later date from the transaction.  If you want to remove him entirely, you would have to refinance the loan with a new loan that had just your name on the loan and on title to the home.

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Question From Rebecca R. on 1/23/2018

My dad took out a reverse mortgage in 2009 he was allowed 300000 at the most on the reverse mortgage and 250000 on the loan approval he only at closing ask for 2500 for his taxes and 1300 for a credit card he never drew after that he never even knew that 2014 the law change allowing the non-borrowing spouse to remain in the house until she dies. He passed away in 2015 of November she has told Champion mortgage that she wanted to stay in the home and they have not honored her as a surviving spouse they have only sent her monthly statement saying how much the payoff is and interest is and interest is it's gone up and interest is it's gone up to 300,000 and then down to $190,000 and now $200,000 she is now getting it refinanced for her own reverse mortgage I know there is a $300,000 Insurance on this product so since my god did not draw from it how does my mom collect the insurance that was placed in the bank through HUD.

Expert Answer

Hi Rebecca,

I am afraid I cannot completely decipher the issues with the information present but I think I have an idea of what the situation may be.  Firstly, if your dad only took a total of $3,800 from the reverse mortgage, there is no way the balance could be approaching or at $200,000 now.  Are you sure that he did not also pay off an existing mortgage with another lender at that time?  Usually when I get questions like this and I get into the situation, I see that the borrowers didn’t take out a lot of cash on their line but they did use a good amount from the start just to pay off a loan that they already had that eliminated their existing mortgage payment and allowed them to live payment free.  You really need to see if you can find his original paperwork to see if this was the case with dad as well.  If you can’t find dad’s paperwork, you should be able to get copies from the lender.  You can also search Deeds that were of record to see if there was a Deed on the home at the time the reverse mortgage recorded and that would indicate a loan was paid off (but that would not tell you what the balance of that loan was when paid off).

The next thing you need to keep in mind is that the HUD program did change (not the laws) in 2014 but they changed for all loans done after the change became effective.  It did not alter the loans that had been done prior to that time.  And the new program rules state that “eligible” non-borrowing spouses may remain in the home even after the borrower passes.  To be eligible, the non-borrowing spouse has to be considered at the time of the initial loan and there are some other requirements (they must also occupy the property, taxes and insurance must be paid on time, etc. – just as the same rules that apply to the reverse mortgage borrower).  And then the age of that non-borrowing spouse is also taken into consideration for the Principal Limit or maximum borrowing amount available.  In 2009, this was not the case so if his spouse (at that time or if he later remarried) was not 62 years of age and not on the loan, or in the case of a remarriage was not on the loan at the time because they were not married at the time, would not have been considered in the loan amount and therefore would not be eligible to stay in the home.  To ensure that, he would have had to refinance the loan when she became 62 or after the rules changed so that he had a loan wherein she was an eligible non-borrowing spouse if she was still under 62 at that time.

We had always strongly suggested that couples consider this fact very carefully before completing a reverse mortgage loan when one spouse was not yet 62 years of age, especially if borrowers were taking one owner off title.  Thankfully, the new rules do protect younger spouses now, but it also means that borrowers do not receive as much money when the age of the younger borrower is considered.  We now even have had borrowers requesting loans under the old terms since the changes in order to obtain higher amounts (which HUD will no longer allow).  It’s really a “catch 22”, if you take the younger borrower’s age into consideration, it can really lower available funds at times (especially is the spouse is considerably younger), but it also protects that younger borrower from being in the position of your father’s wife now.  We had seen some instances where borrowers removed the younger spouse from title and the loan just to obtain the larger loan amount prior to the changes in the rules even though the younger borrower was still over 62 and that practice is no longer allowed as well.

Lastly, I think you are confused about the “insurance” on the loan.  Mortgage Insurance is insurance paid against the risk of default.  Homeowner’s insurance is in place against the risk of fire or other disaster, if you never have a fire or a claim, there is no bank account with all your insurance money in it for you.  The Mortgage insurance works the same in that it is there to be used in the event of a default to be paid in the event that the values decline, the lender goes out of business and there is still money due to borrowers or HUD must advance funds for other items but there is no money “placed into the bank” by HUD to be drawn later by the borrower.  If the borrower defaults, the borrowers pass and no heirs want the property or the home is later not capable of paying off the amount owed on the reverse mortgage, the borrowers and their heirs do not have any other obligations on the debt and the lenders are not left with outstanding debts, the insurance fund pays for losses.  The loan is a non-recourse loan so borrowers and heirs never have to pay for any money lost.  No matter what happened, no matter how much was owed, no borrowers or heirs can be forced to pay any more than the property is worth to repay the debt.  When the market took its last tumble, many people had borrowed more than the homes were worth after the values plummeted and they were still allowed to live in the homes for their lives, making no payments and the heirs had no recourse on the debt.  This is what the insurance covers.  In 2012, this loss was reported at over $5 Billion dollars by HUD so this is a very real cost and not a money making fee from HUD.

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Question From DOUGLAS & CONNIE S. on 1/18/2018

I am 70 and my wife is only 64. If we do a reverse mortgage with her as the non-borrowing spouse would I qualify for a higher loan to value percentage than 60%. Also, in 2013 we filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy,we have just paid it off in Dec 2017,can we still qualify for a reverse mortgage at this time? Thank you for your help. Doug and Connie Sutton

Expert Answer

Hi folks,

If your payments were made on time and it’s finalized with no other issues now, you can still get a reverse mortgage.  It does no good to remove your wife from the title/loan as HUD no longer allows married borrowers to remove the younger spouse in search of higher loan benefits.  The loan will still be based on the age of the younger spouse.

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Question From Warren on 1/18/2018

My sister and her husband got a reverse mortgage and they did so before my sister was 62. My question is: what will happen if her husband dies.

Expert Answer

Hi Warren,

If your sister was included as an “eligible non-borrowing spouse” when the loan was closed, they took her age into consideration and she is also protected for as long as she lives in the home (she should make sure she is back on title now with her husband so that there are no problems later because the requirement is that she is the title holder and it’s easier to do that while they are both still living than after someone passes).  If the loan was closed several years ago before HUD developed the eligible non-borrowing spouse designation, I would suggest that they look at the possibility of refinancing the loan with the new parameters that would allow her to remain in the home for life when her spouse passed.  Otherwise, who would have to refinance the loan at that time or pay the loan off by other means (other funds available to her or sell the property).

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Question From Carrie on 1/14/2018

Can husband and wife sign on a reverse mtge or just one?

Expert Answer

Hi Carrie,

It should be the husband and wife and in fact, HUD requires that we take both spouses into consideration for the loan.

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Question From John N. on 1/12/2018

I have a reverse mortgage initiated in 2010. I live in the state of Louisiana and plan to marry my live-in partner this Spring. She will be 63. Would she be eligible to be classified as a non-borrowing spouse thereby allowing her to remain in house?The house was bought by my late wife but the deed is in my name and I claim ownership. Her wish was that I will part of the houses to her children when I pass.Now here's the tricky part: I made a will that stipulates that the children of my late wife will inherit the house along with my present live-in partner. I do not want to change this arrangement so I presume I will have to execute a pre-nupt to make this binding and legal. The State of Louisiana is a state that recognizes equal sharing of assets, etc. between spouses. How do pre-nupts figure into reverse mortgages? Or is this something my attorney should be able to rectify?Thanks for your assistance.

Expert Answer

Hi John,

The “non-borrowing spouse” classification is for spouses who are not of age who also live in the home at the time the loan is taken by a borrower who is at least 62 years of age.  It is not available for borrowers who later remarry as the program benefits are determined by the age of the younger spouse and there would be no way to quantify this number if subsequent (and younger) spouses could be added at later dates.  Borrowers who remarry can add their new spouse to title which would allow them to keep the home, but that does not change the fact that the loan becomes due and payable when the borrower no longer lives in the home.  At that time the new spouse would retain the ownership if they were added but would have to refinance the loan in their name or pay the loan off with other funds available to them (insurance payment, etc.).  Otherwise, as the owner, they could sell the home without having to go through probate if they had previously been added to the title (you should check with your legal counsel to determine the best method based on your current method of holding title and local laws).  The only way you would be able to be certain that she could live in the home for the rest of her life without the loan being called due and payable would be for you to refinance the loan with a new reverse mortgage with both of your names on title and on the new loan. 

This part of your question I can answer because it deals with the reverse mortgage loan itself.  The remainder of your question regarding prenuptial agreements and inheritances deal with legal issues and estates and for that, you are correct, I would need to refer you to legal counsel.  

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Question From Rich on 1/04/2018

Do you have to be married to your partner to be on a reverse mortgage or if we get married after the mortgage is taken out can the partner be added?

Expert Answer

Hi Rich,

If you are both over the age of 62, on title and living in the property, you do not have to be married to both be on the reverse mortgage.  If you marry after the loan is completed you cannot just “add” a new spouse to an existing loan and would have to refinance the loan to add another individual at that time.  Therefore, if this is the plan from the start, you would want to keep that in mind when applying for the first loan.

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Question From Kris G. on 12/31/2017

If I have a reverse mortgage, my husband passed am I required to live at said property until it sells?

Expert Answer

Hi  Kris, 

If you and your husband are both on the loan, you are supposed to remain in the home as a condition of the reverse mortgage. You are allowed temporary absences for up to 12 months though so if you have the home listed and you believe it will be sold and closed before 12 months after you have left the home, you are still in compliance with the loan. I caution you though, the 12 months is for temporary absences if you take steps that indicate you have made a permanent move, you would no longer be able to claim a temporary absence and the lender would not be required to wait the entire 12 months.

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Question From Rose on 12/28/2017

My mom tried to apply for the non borrowing spouse program but was denied because we missed a deadline. However they never informed us after numerous phone calls that the application was incomplete. Is there something she can do? They are now asking her to pay off the reverse mortgage loan or foreclose. Thanks

Expert Answer

Hi Rose,

I’m sorry, I am not sure what you mean and this is important and I don’t want to try to guess and maybe give you bad information.  I think you are telling me that your mom is a non-borrowing spouse and her husband passed and now there is a loan due and you are looking for a way for her to remain in the home on the current mortgage.  I can’t begin to guess the circumstances under which the first loan was originated and you really should not take too much time before finding out what option are available.  Now that mom owns the home she can always pay off the loan with her own funds or with a refinance of another loan (can be a reverse mortgage if she is now over 62 and qualifies) or she can sell the home pay off the loan and keep the equity without any intervention from anyone.  However, if the lender is saying that she would not be allowed to stay in the home at this time, I would suggest that you contact HUD directly and make your case to them.  If the lender failed to inform you of anything, you should make HUD aware of this fact.  If you feel as though you are not getting anywhere quickly enough, I would advise you to contact legal counsel in the area where the home is located as they can tell you what options you have to stay the foreclosure, etc. until you can straiten things out. 

Do not wait until it is too late to make your case and to retain competent legal counsel.  There are services available in most areas even if you cannot pay for an attorney so if that is not within your means, then look up free legal aid but again, do not wait for the last minute.  I wish you both the best.

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Question From Carol on 12/26/2017

When I married my husband I made hi put my name on the deed to his house. Can he get a reversed mortgage without my signature?

Expert Answer

Hi Carol,

To obtain a reverse mortgage any married couple living in the same home requires multiple signatures from both spouses, even if the home is in the name of just one of the spouses.  Whether he had put your name on the title or not, you would also have had to attend the counseling and sign multiple forms acknowledging the transaction.  If you are age 62 or older, living in the home and on title, you would also have to agree to be on the loan.  If you are under the age of 62, you would still be considered an eligible  non-borrowing spouse and in most states, your husband could still get the loan with you still being covered for as long as you live in the home as well.  If the state you live in does not allow such a transaction (such as the state of Texas), then he could not get the loan at all until you are also 62 years old and then you would also have to sign the paperwork at that time as well.

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Question From Anne on 12/19/2017

Hello,I have two concerns of which I have read conflicting answers about the underage non borrowing spouse. Two very different distinctions. The protection is for the non borrowing spouse. While it is true, the non borrowing spouse may remain in the home upon the death of the borrower (as long as the criteria is met) however, what is still unclear is this: Can the underage owner (me) hold title to the property at the time the Loan documents are executed, --Remain on title which means the Deed of Trust is vested as "husband and wife as joint tenants" and then I sign as non borrowing spouse on the signature page. Two very different distinctions. I have read your blog whereby the foreclosing lender can only foreclose on the owner of the property however and since I am on title, the foreclose would go against me even though I am the non borrowing spouse, correct? If the loan is only in the husband's name and I am on title to the property as the underage spouse, who does the lender foreclose on? Also, our property is in our living trust, and I am the underage spouse. If the hecm allows the underage non borrowing spouse to remain on title, therefore the loan can be done in our living trust and I sign as the trustee of the trust and the non borrowing spouse. I am getting conflicting answers from Reverse specialist on this. So which is it? does the reverse lender require the wife who is underage be removed from title to the property in order for the aged spouse to sign the Deed of Trust as Married man as his sole and separate property and she would therefore sign as "non borrowing spouse" to prevent the foreclosure t

Expert Answer

Hello Anne,

Perhaps the conflicting information you refer to is a result of a recent HUD change.  Non-borrowing spouses were not allowed to remain on title until very recently (but were always allowed to be placed back on title after the loan closed).  In September of 2017, HUD’s “Final Rule” went into effect and non-borrowing spouses no longer have to come off title to close the loan. 

Your concern about a foreclosure is always warranted because this is your home and you would not want to lose your rights and interest in the home but under the foreclosure proceedings, the foreclosure was filed based on the title and the legal documents at the time the loan was closed.  Any changes to title after that time would not have been reflected on the foreclosure notice.  It would state that XYZ lender was taking action based on the Note and Deed executed by John Doe on such and such a date.  If Jane Doe did not sign the documents and did therefore did not agree to be bound by those terms, she would not be mentioned in the foreclosure documents even if John later deeded the home to John and Jane as Husband and Wife.  That would give Jane the right to sell the home if anything happened to John, but it would not hinder the lender’s position on a lien that was filed prior to the subsequent change of title.

So to answer your last question, yes, HUD used to require the underaged spouse to come off title in order to obtain a reverse mortgage but as of September of 2017, this is no longer a requirement.  You are still a non-borrowing spouse and would not have access to the loan in the event your spouse passed and there were still funds available on the line of credit though.

This would obviously be a moot point if all the funds available had been used prior to this time since there would be no additional funds available at that time anyway.  This would be the case with a fixed rate which only has one option of a full draw at closing, a purchase reverse where all the available funds were being used to buy a home, a loan where all available proceeds were being used to pay off an existing loan or in the instance where you and your spouse used all available line of credit funds before your spouse passed.  Where this could become a point of contention is if your spouse passed and there was still $100,000 still on the line but now you had no access to the funds because you are not a borrower on the loan.  All good things to consider, but you will not have to come off title.

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Question From Brenda C. on 12/17/2017

My husband and I live in CA and are wondering if we can do a Reverse Buy when he turns 62. I would be 58, so I understand that we'd have to put 50% ( maybe a bit more) down to purchase the house as a Reverse. I would be a non eligible spouse at that point. If he died or went into Long Term Care before I turned 62 would I be able to carry on the loan if I made all the payments required or would I be forced to refinance because I wasn't 62 and am I considered owner of the home even though my name's not on the loan?2nd question- If he's alive and well when I turn 62, should I get myself added to the loan to protect myself and, if so, how would I do that please? Thank you!!

Expert Answer

Hi Brenda,

You would not be consider “not eligible but would be considered an eligible non-borrowing spouse.  This distinction means that you would not be on the loan, but with HUD’s Final Rule that came out in September of 2017, non-borrowing spouses no longer have to come off title to close the loan and you can live in the home for your lifetime as well.  Also, since you are using all the HECM proceeds to purchase the home, the old stigma about a non-borrowing spouse not being able to access funds if the borrowing spouse were to pass (such as the case with a line of credit on a refi where the borrowers are only using a portion of the line to start) is moot anyway because there are no additional funds to access anyway.  You would not have to do any refinance’s later as you would already be on title and would be eligible to remain in the home for life as long as at least one of you continued to meet the program eligibility requirements (pay the taxes and insurance, maintain the home in a reasonable manner and live in the home as your primary residence).

You can request your reverse for purchase quote here and we will return providing the down payment requirements based on your age. 

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Question From Valerie on 12/13/2017

I'm on the deed on our home. My husband is the only one in the reverse mortgage. Do I have any rights after he passes away.

Expert Answer

Hi Valerie,

Of course you do, you are the property owner!  The loan is due and payable unless you are an eligible non-borrowing spouse in which case you can also stay in the house for life, but the house belongs to you.  If you are mot an eligible non-borrowing spouse, you would have to make arrangements to repay the loan with a new loan, with other funds (life insurance, etc) or sell the home and with the proceeds.  It's good to have a plan in place before you need to take action 

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Question From Yvonne W. on 12/12/2017

I am married, but the house deed is only in my name and I am the only name on the mortgage loan. Can I get a reverse mortgage without my husband's signature?

Expert Answer

Hello Yvonne,

The short answer is no.  If your husband also lives there then HUD requires that as a spouse living in the home, you follow a certain protocol that includes his rights to remain in the home after you pass should you pass first and even if he does not live in the home and is therefore ineligible, there would still be a few signatures required of him and there is always the HUD mandated counseling required.

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Question From Leslie M. on 11/23/2017

Hi, My question is this I'm 58 about to be 59, but on disability and I own my home but I owe about $ 17,000 on a mortgage. And the value of my home is about $65,000 or so.Would I be able to do a reverse mortgage since I'm fully disabled? I live in Texas

Expert Answer

Hi Leslie,

The reverse mortgage program requires all borrowers to be at least 62 years of age to qualify, there is no lowering of the minimum age for other considerations (disability, veteran status, etc.).  There may be other programs available in your area though from which you could benefit and it might be a good idea to check with your local HUD HOC (Home Ownership Center) office or city offices to inquire of such.

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Question From Susan on 11/21/2017

My husband and I are both on the loan and title. I am 68 he is 58 can he sign the house over to me to be eligible for reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi Susan,

Depending on the state in which you live, HUD will allow you to do a loan where the spouse who is not yet 62 becomes the non-borrowing spouse and also has the right to live in the home for the rest of his/her life under the terms of the reverse mortgage providing that spouse also continues to meet the reverse mortgage conditions (lives in the home as their primary residence, pays the taxes and insurance in a timely manner and maintains the home in reasonable condition).  Some states such as Texas, does not allow for the non-borrowing spouse at this time though so you need to verify your state requirements.

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Question From Wendy on 11/09/2017

Can a reverse mtg lender include the non-borrowing spouse in a foreclosure because of non payment of property taxes?

Expert Answer

Good Morning Wendy,

A non-borrowing spouse is exactly that, a spouse who is not on title and was not a borrower on the loan at the time the loan was placed.  A foreclosure action is filed against the property in the name of the individuals on the Deed of Trust or Mortgage.  If you did not sign the loan agreements and documents, then you would not be included in any subsequent actions taken either.  The loan is a non-recourse loan and the only thing the lender can look to for repayment of the debt is the property but if they do have to file a foreclosure action, when they file the foreclosure documentation, it would only include the names of the borrowers who executed their agreements – which you did not.

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Question From Veronica L. on 11/03/2017

When a married couple does a reverse mortgage, can there be two separate checks, one for wife and one for husband. Both names are on deed and loan.

Expert Answer

Hi Veronica,

The short answer is “no” but both the wife and the husband must be on the account to which the check is made payable and there is nothing to stop the spouses from immediately splitting the funds and moving them into other accounts if they so desire.

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Question From Truesdall on 10/30/2017

What if one spouse is put into a Hospice facility but the other continues to live in the primary residence. How does the Annual Occupancy certificate affect this situation

Expert Answer

Good Morning,

As long as at least one of the original borrowers on the loan still occupy the property, you have met the occupancy requirement and there are no issues whatsoever.

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Question From Deborah on 10/18/2017

My husband is 74 years old now, I am 64 NOW. We live in Connecticut 10 years ago HE took out a reverse mortgage. I have always felt there was something wrong with this mortgage, because the title is in my name. The taxes and the loan payment statements come in HIS name only. Here comes the latest news I hope you are ready for this. My husband just went into long-term care, which He were told when we took the mortgage out>>>> If He should die or go into long term care for more then a year the loan would have to be paid OFF, we were also told, that I WAS could not be on the loan because of my age " I was too young " well now as I was trying to contact the loan company they were refusing to speak to me because they wanted proof of power of attorney " which I have and I had sent they proof by way of my lawyer ". Just yesterday I found out by going to the Town Hall I am the only one on the loan He is not on the loan. I also am on the title and He is NOT. It is also noted that I have life time use of the house. The problem is more then one here. I should not be on the LOAN... He had a apply for Title 19 which they will decide how much of His income I get to live off, I most likely won't be able to pay the bills here and they are more then like going to foreclose on me and reign my credit. This is so wrong my lawyer has contacted the lawyer that did this deal and they are not responding. My lawyer has also tried to reach out to the loan company and they are not responding. I need to know where I start so that I can fight this and stand up for my rights. I did not even mention the fact that the house needs work

Expert Answer

I'm sorry Deborah, I really am not able to follow all that is going on here but it sounds to me like you are doing what you need to do by engaging legal counsel and not just taking everything for granted.  Your attorney will continue to try to contact those with whom he needs to speak to straighten things out and if necessary, file to take it to court to require all parties to produce their paperwork.  I wish I could be of more assistance but as I stated, I am not sure what all the facts are here and since this is really a legal matter, would have to advise you to seek legal counsel anyway and you have done so already so it looks as though you are on the right track.

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Question From Steve L. on 10/11/2017

Home is in a family trust with my "life partner" as executor of the trust and presently lives in the home. When I die, will she be able to stay in the home until she dies and is no longer the executor of the trust?

Expert Answer

Hi Steve,

Borrowers and their eligible non-borrowing spouses at the time the loan is made are allowed to remain in the home until all original eligible parties have passed or none still remain living in the home as their primary residence.  At that time, the loan would become due and payable (assuming that all terms of the reverse mortgage are maintained which includes payment of the taxes in a timely manner, keeping the home insured and maintained in a reasonable manner). 

The situation you are describing would not meet the requirements because the second party is not an active Beneficiary of the trust.  As the executor of the trust, she will be able to carry out your wishes with regards to the property but trusts often contain executors, successor trustees and other parties that would not qualify for the loan under the terms of the reverse mortgage and therefore would not be able to keep the loan from being called due and payable should something happen to the Beneficiary of the trust at the time the loan was closed.

If you are set on having another individual be able to remain in the home without the loan being called due at your passing, this individual would have to be a borrower (could be a spouse or any other eligible individual) or the eligible non-borrowing spouse at the time the loan closed if you are holding title as individuals.  If the title is held by you as individuals, the other individual would also have to be on title to the property.  If the title is held in the name of a trust, the other individual would also have to be an active Beneficiary of the Trust.

As always, I would encourage you to contact your legal representative to discuss these options and how it would affect your circumstances to determine the best way to proceed.

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Question From Mary Anne on 10/05/2017

My husband and I are both on the mortgage, if he passes away and I remarry does my new spouse have any rights to stay if I passed away and he was left alone

Expert Answer

Hi Mary Anne,

In the scenario you provided, your new spouse would not be an original borrower or an eligible non-borrowing spouse and therefore, he would not be entitled to stay in the home on the original loan even after your passing.  Re verse mortgage loan or benefit amounts are determined based (among other things) on the age of the youngest spouse.  HUD uses actuarial tables much like insurance companies when they are calculating premium rates to determine how much money borrowers will receive based on life expectancies and how long they are anticipated to be living in the home without making a payment before the loan is expected to be repaid.

If the loan allowed for the addition of subsequent individuals (whether that would be other family members as I am often asked with children who later move into the home or with new spouses), that loan could be deferred over and over again throwing out any possibility of determining what the actual risks would be to HUD and the mortgage insurance fund.  Investors would not buy the bonds that ultimately fund the loans if no repayment was ever forthcoming and the program would cease to exist. 

If you want to add a future spouse to an existing loan to enable that spouse to remain in the home even after your passing, whether that is due to the passing of a current spouse or just that you were single at the time you obtained your loan, you would have to refinance the loan with a new reverse mortgage in both of your names.

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Question From Luanne L. on 10/03/2017

Hello . My question is do I have to put my 59 year old husband on my reverse mortgage if we are not living together? My name is the only name on the deed and on the small equity loan. I live in Iowa

Expert Answer

Hi Luanne,

If your husband is not living in the home, he is an ineligible non-borrowing spouse and his age would not be considered for the reverse mortgage loan BUT he does also have to go through the counseling and does have some documentation that he has to sign as your spouse.  He would not be on the loan and you do not have to put him on the title, but he would have to supply his identification information which would also show that he lives in another location and as I previously stated, would have to attend the HUD-mandated counseling which would inform him of the possible consequences of being a non-eligible, non-borrowing spouse.

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Question From Diana Y. on 9/30/2017

My spouse purchased property and obtained a reverse mortgage without my knowledge. He listed himself as "unmarried." Am I right in assuming that this is not the correct way to apply, I am 59 and he would have had to list me as a non-qualifying spouse, correct?

Expert Answer

Hi Diana,

You are correct.  If your spouse misrepresented information to obtain a federally insured loan, that would be fraud and is a felony.  You may want to seek legal counsel to determine the best course of action.

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Question From Noel W. on 9/04/2017

My wife recently passed away and both of our names are on the property deed. Is it possible to get a reverse mortgage without her signature

Expert Answer

Hi Noel,

Yes, this is a common occurrence provided the title was in your and your spouses' names with right of survivorship and not with each of your interests passing to someone else (i.e. children).  This issue is a fairly common issue that the title companies have to deal with and would need one of the original Death Certificates supplied to you that they can record with the documents but other than that, it is usually not a big issue.

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Question From Lee on 9/04/2017

I live in Texas, a community property state, where both my spouse and I occupy our home as our homestead and both of us are on our deed. I am the sole borrower on the promissory note because my personal credit was sufficient without her. Presently we are building a "second home" in a nearby community, again using only my credit for the second home. Upon completion, I will again be the sole borrower, but both our names will be on the deed. We will continue to occupy the original home as our homestead and primary residence, but live back and forth between the primary residence and second home. I am 74, and my wife will be 70 in October. Does this scenario present a problem getting a reverse mortgage on the primary home, and possibly using the excess after paying off the existing mortgage on the primary home to help pay for the second home?

Expert Answer

Hi Lee,

To receive the reverse mortgage on your primary residence, you would both have to be on both the title and the loan.  Furthermore, you would need to qualify with all expenses from both properties.   You would need to retain the property with the reverse mortgage as your primary residence which means that you must live in the home more than 6 months each year and cannot be absent the property for more than 12 consecutive months.  In addition, the lender will be careful to be certain that the occupancy makes sense with a "second home" in a nearby community.  

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Question From Lawrence L. on 7/21/2017

I am 62 my wife is 60. My name is on the deed only. How can I get a reverse mortgage or not possible?

Expert Answer

Hi Lawrence,

You can find the procedures for obtaining a reverse mortgage with a spouse who is not yet 62 in our blog here.   The thing you really have to remember is that some states (like Texas for example) have restrictions that do not allow this to happen.  If you need assistance to determine if you can do a non-borrowing spouse loan in your state, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Question From Tracy B. on 6/13/2017

My husband is 72. I am 60. Is their an opportunity to get a reverse mortgage in his name? When I turn 62 can we add my name to the mortgage? What if something happens to him before I turn 62. What would be my options?What is the criteria needed to begin this process?

Expert Answer

Hi Tracy,

In all but just a few states, borrowers with spouses who are not yet 62 can still get a reverse mortgage but the spouse is a "non-borrowing spouse", meaning the younger spouse is not on the title or the loan.  The non-borrowing spouse is now protected should something happen to the borrowing spouse but you still need to know about the rules and the expectations before you decide to move forward.  You can read all about it in our article here

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Question From Jim on 5/30/2017

Does both marriage partners need to be over 62?

Expert Answer

Hi Jim,

Most states allow a married couple to drop the younger borrower from title long enough to obtain a reverse mortgage and HUD now also protects the rights of the non-borrowing spouse to live in the home for life as well.  However, not all states will allow it (such as Texas) and it's not a good idea for all borrowers.  I suggest that you consider it carefully and if you do decide to continue, add your spouse back to title as soon as the loan closes so that there are no issues later if something should happen to you before "you get around to it" later.

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Question From Celana H on 5/29/2017

My husband and I are married, however I am not living with him. I am not on loan ( his previous,deceased wife is). We are married three years now.Do I have any legal rights to his house upon his death..he is 81, I am 69.

Expert Answer

Hi Celana,

I'm sorry but I cannot answer this for you.  Ownership rights have nothing to do with the mortgage and I am not an attorney and could not give you legal advice.  You should consult with an attorney for help with such a matter.

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Question From Frankie T. on 5/26/2017

I am the youngest survivor on a reverse mortgage. Do I notify the mortgage company of his passing.

Expert Answer

If you are also a borrower on the original loan, there is no notification requirement as there is still a remaining borrower living in the home and the terms are still being met.

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Question From Ray on 5/15/2017

Can a reverse mortgage lump sum be used to buy out my wife of her half of the home (we are splitting up); home went on market this week for $774K. There is no mortgage. Live in zip code 92673.Also if we sell house, would I be able to buy another home, using a reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi Ray,

You can use the proceeds for whatever purpose you want, but HUD limits the amount you can take at the single draw if you are not using the funds to pay off an existing loan so you may want to request a proposal to see if the reverse mortgage will give you the proceeds you need for such an undertaking.

You can only have one reverse mortgage at a time but yes, many borrowers have had a reverse mortgage on a home and then sold that house. Moved and used a reverse mortgage to buy their next home.

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Question From DeWayne S. on 5/12/2017

My wife and I were both on the deed for my condo and were both over 65 when we took out a reverse mortgage and were co-borrowers on the reverse mortgage loan. She died one year ago today and I've continued to live in the house. I never notified the reverse mortgage company that she died because my understanding was I could continue to live in the house even though she's dead. Have I invalidated the loan by not notifying the reverse mortgage company that she died?

Expert Answer

Good Morning DeWayne,

You're fine.  As long as you keep living in the home you meet the terms of the mortgage and there is nothing to worry about with regard to occupancy issues or the passing of one spouse since you are both on the original loan.

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Question From ELLEN B. on 4/29/2017

I WAS NOT 62 WHEN WE APPLIED FOR OUR REVERSE MORTGAGE SO I HAD TO QUIT CLAIM MY INTEREST TO MY HUSBAND IN ORDER TO GET THE LOAN. NOW WITH THE NEW RULING THE MORTGAGE COMPANY SAID THEY ARE PLACING ME ON THE LOAN. CAN MY HUSBAND QUIT CLAIM BACK 50% INTEREST TO THE PROPERTY SINCE MY NAME IS NOW ON THE LOAN? I AM 69 AND HE IS 80.

Expert Answer

Hi Ellen,

Your husband can add you back to title at any time whether you are on the loan or not.  In fact, the loan documents specifically state that there is no call event as long as your husband remains on the title and lives in the home no matter who is added to title later (so you could add yourself and children as well if you wish).  Adding yourself and family members back to title prevent a probate scenario if something should happen to your husband while you are not on title.

But Ellen, I am concerned with something else you have written here.  The mortgage company cannot just "place you on the loan" and I have not heard of any companies who have given a wholesale representation to borrowers that they would not call the loan due and payable when the borrower on the loan passes.  The current lender may not even have the authority to make that decision if the loan has been sold into a mortgage backed security or if they sold the loan to another lender by the time the event occurs.  Therefore I would be really careful to be sure that the assurances you think you have are real.  The only way I know of is to be a borrower on the loan documents at the time the original loan closed (which you were not), an eligible non-borrowing spouse at the time the loan was closed at which time the loan proceeds were determined by using your date of birth (which if the loan closed more than 7 years ago before you turned 62, this designation did not exist), or by refinancing the loan at this time using both of your dates of birth and both of you being on the loan now. 

There is no way of which I am aware to "add a borrower" to an existing loan and therefore, I believe you do not have the protection that you believe you have.  HUD has implemented a method by which lenders may chose not to call a loan due and payable with a surviving spouse but as I stated, I am not certain that your current lender can give you assurances at this time that you will always be covered in this instance because this protection is not written into the loan documents on which your loan originally closed as they are for eligible non-borrowing spouses today.  I would encourage you to not only change the title asap to add both you and your husband to title (make sure you have someone who is familiar with the process help so that it is done as a non-taxable event) but also to do a review of the circumstances should your husband pass.  You may find that a refinance into both your names at this time would be very advantageous, even if you did not get a lot more money from the new loan and you may find that you and secure a new loan for very little or next to no cost.  We would be happy to look at this for you if you 

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Question From Alberto B. on 4/29/2017

I am 65 years old , my wife lives with me but she is not in title and she is 50 years old. It is mandatory to put her in a reverse. Can I do a reverse only on my name in order to obtain more principal limit for my age

Expert Answer

Hi Alberto,

She will be considered a "Non-borrowing spouse" and would not be allowed to be on the title or the loan when the loan closed BUT since HUD does allow eligible non-borrowing spouses (which is because she also lives in the home) to continue to live in the home for their lives as well without making a payment, the Principal Limit would still be determined based on her younger age.

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Question From Connie on 4/03/2017

I am married and live in the state of Florida. I am 62. My husband and I do not live together. He lives up north and works up north. He is not 62 but a bit younger.Would I be eligible for a reverse mortgage on my own if he is not on the deed to my Florida house? I have been told that by utilizing a quit claim deed and his not being on the deed of the house in Florida, that I would be able to apply on my own.

Expert Answer

Hi Connie,

Yes. Your husband would be considered what is called an “ineligible non-borrowing spouse” and since he is not living in the home you can take a reverse mortgage in your own name and we would base the proceeds on your age alone. 

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Question From George W. on 3/17/2017

My wife is not on the deed to my house (we do have a will and she will inherit upon my death). If I die first, can she still retain a reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi George,

If your spouse is not on the reverse mortgage with you or she was not protected under the new non-borrowing spouse rules when the loan was made you will need to refinance now adding her as a borrower to the loan to protect her for her remaining lifetime as well. If not the loan will become due and payable upon your death and she will have either 6 months to refinance the loan into a loan of her own which may also include a reverse mortgage based on the amount available to her at that time or up to 12 months if she is making efforts to sell the home. 

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Question From Lou on 3/06/2017

I currently have a reverse mortgage will my wife be able to stay in the house when I die I have a line of credit of approximately $400,000 my present balance oh it is approximately $95,000 thank you for your consideration.

Expert Answer

Hi Lou,

Your question is very difficult to answer without more information.  If your wife is on the current loan, she absolutely can.  If she is an eligible non-borrowing spouse, that is, she was a non-borrowing spouse when you obtained your loan but she is eligible to remain in the home based on when you received the loan and the parameters in effect at the time, then yes she can remain in the house for as long as she lives, BUT she would not have access to the line of credit because she is not a borrower on the loan.

The final scenario is if you obtained the loan and your spouse is not a co-borrower or a qualified non-borrowing spouse and then the loan would become due and payable when you no longer occupy the home.  At that time, your spouse would have to make arrangements to either refinance the house with a new reverse mortgage in her name (which if you have a small balance sounds like it would be a very viable option), with a standard or forward loan, with other funds available (such as insurance proceeds) or would have to sell the home at that time.

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Question From NIZAR on 3/05/2017

How can I add my wife to my reverse mortgage which I got in 2010? because my wife was not 62 years old at that time. Thank you - Nizar

Expert Answer

Hello Nizar,

You cannot simply add a borrower to an existing loan.  To add a spouse, or anyone for that matter, to an existing loan, you would have to refinance the loan and then you, the property and the new borrower would have to qualify under the current guidelines/parameters of the program.  Since you have had the loan for almost 7 years now, depending on appreciation of the property, how much you borrowed and the interest you have accrued, the refinance may or may not be an option without having to bring cash in to close the loan.  The only way to know for sure is to visit our website and run the numbers on our calculator or contact our office if your property is located in one of our approved states.

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Question From Billy C. on 2/22/2017

I live in Texas and both spouses have to be 65,but I hear that if u do not live together that I might still be eligible. My wife lives at a different address and I live alone.

Expert Answer

Hi Billy,

We cannot do a loan for a non-borrowing spouse in Texas at this time.  Both borrowers must live in the home and be eligible for the loan.  The rights of heirs and spouses do not jive with the requirements of the HUD Home Equity Conversion Mortgage.  But also, but to be clear, the minimum age is 62, not 65.

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Question From Mchaelene on 2/19/2017

My husband inherited the house that the reverse mortgage was placed on and made me sign a disclaimer on the reverse. I am 2 years older than him. he was 64 and i was 66, do i have any recourse when he passes to stay in the home?

Expert Answer

This is not a question of the reverse mortgage but rather one for an attorney.  I'm sorry, I can't give you legal advice and I do not know what document you signed or what effect it had on your title.  A "disclaimer" is merely something that serves as notification.  I don't know any of the particulars about the loan itself or the title and you have both issues to consider.  I don't even know if this is a first marriage for each of you and if there are other heirs involved.  I'm sorry, this is a great question for an attorney in the state where the property is located but even he/she will need more information to be able to answer it.

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Question From Douglas F. on 2/13/2017

Can a surviving spouse live in the home no matter how old she is when she dies?

Expert Answer

Hello Douglas,

As long as the surviving spouse is also on the reverse mortgage or is an eligible non-borrowing spouse, they can live in the home for life without making a mortgage payment.  They still are bound by the same rules, must occupy the home, pay the taxes and insurance and maintain the home in reasonable shape.  Otherwise, there is no time limit on either spouse.

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Question From Jim W. on 2/07/2017

If I remarry later can my spouse stay in house after I die?

Expert Answer

Hi Jim,

If your spouse is not on the original loan, the loan would become due and payable upon your permanently leaving the property.  You determine who your heir is and if you leave the home to your new spouse, she can stay in the home, but would have to make arrangements to pay off the loan with either a new loan or with other funds available to her if she intends to stay there.  If property values were to drop or for any reason your property was not valued as highly as the amount owed on the reverse mortgage, she would have the option to pay off the current loan at the balance owed, or 95% of the current market value whichever is less so that would enable her to obtain financing but she would still have to be able to qualify for the new loan.

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Question From Stella W. on 2/05/2017

My husband passed away on May/13/2015. We signed up for a Reverse Mortgage on April.2006. He was 65 yrs old and I was 58.I signed up as the reminder. Under the new 2014 Reverse Mortgage, I believe surviving spouse age was dropped from 62 to 54? Is that true?

Expert Answer

Hi Stella,

I am afraid that is not accurate.  HUD Mortgagee Letter 2014-07 states that with Case Numbers assigned on or after August 4, 2014, borrowers with eligible non-borrowing spouses would have the birthdates of the non-borrowing spouse also taken into consideration when the loan amount or Principal Limit was determined and then those non-borrowing spouses (with certain conditions) would be able to also stay in the home for their lives as well without having to make a payment on the loan.  It only pertained to Case Numbers assigned on or after that date though and did not retroactively affect the loans originated and closed prior to that time.

You  can find a copy of HUD's Mortgagee Letter here.

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Question From Terry on 2/03/2017

Do we qualify for reverse mortgage ?? My wife is 63 and I am 58. Our primary home is valued at $210,000 & we have a mortgage balance of $65,000

Expert Answer

Hi Terry,

HUD will allow a reverse mortgage when one spouse is over the age of 62 even if the other is not.  This is called a non-borrowing spouse and requires the under-aged spouse to come off title to do the loan.  You can read about non-borrowing spouses here (put in link to NBS).  You need to read the parameters and make sure this is the right decision for you.

Some states, like Texas, however, do not allow one spouse to come off title to do the loan though.  Not knowing where you are located, I cannot comment on whether or not your state allows this practice.  The amount you owe and the value would certainly not be a problem as long as all other loan requirements are met.  

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Question From Edyth Z. on 2/01/2017

Married - we are both on Reverse Mortgage loan. If I leave and he stays until death and I am still living, do I have to pay loan off even if I have no money?

Expert Answer

Hi Edyth,

If you leave while still on the reverse mortgage, the only thing you have to worry about is that you cannot quality for another reverse mortgage on another property while still on the first one.  If he stays until he passes, the lender can only look to the property for repayment of the loan due to the fact that the loan is a non-recourse loan.  They cannot make either of you or your heirs pay back the loan with any other assets.

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Question From John W on 1/23/2017

I am 68 and my wife is 61, at this time 8 months until her 62nd birthday. We live in Texas. How soon before her birthday should we begin the financial process for a reverse mortgage? With todays hot market in DFW, I have concerns about ensuring she qualifies as a borrower. Put another way, is the Reverse Mortgage process begun before her 62nd Birthday, or should we wait to begin?

Expert Answer

Hi John,

Texas will not allow you to close a loan until she is 62 years of age and the HUD rules allow you to start an application no more than 60 days before her 62nd birthday.  So the answer is you may begin the process by starting your application and completing the required counseling, etc. 60 days before her 62nd birthday, but you must wait for that birthday to close the loan.  Unfortunately, rates and fees have been in a state of flux since the November elections and any quotes you receive between now and then may not be accurate by the time you are ready to proceed. 

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Question From Patricia J. on 1/06/2017

My husband is 63 and I am 60 would reverse mortgage be a good option for us?

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Question From Nancy F. on 1/06/2017

The deed is for myself and co-owner and states that when one of us passes on the other becomes sole owner, I am 75, I bought the house but I want it to not go into an estate, want it to go to the person who lives with me, he is disabled, on disability and would not be able to afford decent house on the tiny amount he receives monthly, because he has memory loss and some cognitive issues the government has put me in charge of his finances (his checks come to me and his bank accounts are his but in my name. The question I have is can I get the reverse mortgage even though I set up the deed this way, he is only 56?

Expert Answer

Hi Nancy, You can have a non-borrowing spouse under the age of 62 with a reverse mortgage who can stay in the home for life as well if something happens to the eligible spouse, however, this provision will only work with a spouse. Because you have been very specific to say co-owner and "person who lives with you" and have not stated "spouse", I have to assume that you are not married. If this is a correct assumption, the only way you could get a reverse mortgage would be if you were on title solely at the time and you took the loan out in just your name.

You can add this individual back to title the day after the loan closes but I caution you that this is probably not the best option based on what you have told me. If you were to choose this route, the title would be fine and he would be able to retain ownership without any issues after you passed, but the loan would become due and payable if you ever leave the home as your primary residence (including upon death). The end result would be that he owned the home, but would have to be able to refinance the loan into his own name or he would still have to sell it to pay off the reverse mortgage when it became due. When you lose a loved one it's a very difficult time to also realize that you have to sell your home and move. I do not advise it unless he has a plan in place in advance such as the absolute ability to refinance later, has another home to move to that is currently a rental, planned to sell the house and move anyway to be with family, had an insurance policy to pay off the reverse mortgage at that time or some other such plan so that when the time comes, he is covered.

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Question From John E. on 1/05/2017

Husband and wife reside in WA and have been married for nearly 50 years. In 2007, at the direction and advice of the reverse mortgage representative, Wife signed and recorded a quit claim deed to Husband, "a married man as his separate property." Husband as sole borrower took out a reverse mortgage on the home in 2009. Both parties attended and completed the required counselling class as husband and wife. Wife is named and signed the Home Equity Conversion Deed of Trust as "Non-Borrowing Spouse." Husband, 83, dies in December 2016. Husband's Will and the parties' Community Property Agreement passes title to all husband's property to Wife. Can wife remain in the home without threat of foreclosure by the reverse mortgage lender?

Expert Answer

Hi John,

The quick answer is no, and the loan can now be called due and payable requiring wife to pay the loan off with a new reverse mortgage of her own, with other funds available to her or a different mortgage or sell the property.  The longer answer gets complicated.  The spouse should check her options as soon as possible to see what is available to her based on her age, the current balance on the mortgage and the value of the home.

There are some provisions that HUD allows lenders the ability to allow non-borrowing spouses to remain in the home but due to the fact that the loans are sold into mortgage backed securities and the lenders may have obligations to the bond holders, they may not even have a choice.  I have not spoken with a borrower yet who was able to utilize the HUD forbearance provision and while I am not saying that it does not happen, I have not seen it. 

When you say that "at the direction and advice of the reverse mortgage representative...", I'm not sure how to read that.  Did the husband and wife do this because the proceeds were higher for the husband alone, did they do it because the wife was not yet 62 and this was the only way they could get the loan, or what?  The only reason I ask is because I personally made it a point of telling all borrowers with non-eligible spouses how they could do the loan, but also that I didn't recommend that they do it.  I laid out a series of possible circumstances that might make a call provision a moot point (such as insurance great enough to pay off the loan; a second home that the couple owned that the spouse intended to occupy if the borrowing spouse passed or plans to sell the home and move to be with family elsewhere anyway) but we always recommended against the removal of a younger spouse to get the loan otherwise if it wasn't absolutely necessary and felt that borrowers should know all the consequences before doing so.  So I don't know if the "direction and advise" of the loan officer with whom these borrowers dealt was based on his response to a directive from the borrowers to get the loan regardless of an under aged borrower or to obtain a higher loan amount than would have been available keeping the younger spouse on title (if for example that would not have given them enough proceeds to meet their needs).

HUD has changed the rules now and so there is no longer any benefit to taking a younger married borrower off title just to try to get a bigger loan amount.  And if the younger spouse is under age 62, the younger spouse can now stay in the home for life as well, but the loan proceeds are also determined by the age of the younger non-borrowing spouse.  

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Question From Bailey on 12/17/2016

I am 68 years old. My spouse is 55 and has been disabled since 2005. I am the sole breadwinner and pay all of the bills. We owe approximately 30,000.00 on our home. Since my spouse is NOT 62 or older, would be possibly qualify due to his diability?

Expert Answer

Good Morning,

There are no disability provisos in the reverse mortgage program, all borrowers must be 62 years of age or older to be eligible.  However, as the spouse of a qualifying individual, your spouse can be an eligible non-borrowing spouse that allows him to remain in the home for life as well, even if something should happen to you.  Since he is not a borrower on the loan, if you should pass and there is still money left on the line of credit, he would not have access to the remaining funds though so you need to keep this in mind when you determine whether or not the program is right for you.

There are requirements he has to meet - he has to live in the home, he has to obtain title within a short time after you pass (and we suggest that you do this as soon as the loan closes so that there is no delay later) and he is bound by the same requirements under the loan that you are (the taxes and insurance must be paid in a timely manner and he must reasonably maintain the property).  Other than that though, he can live in the home for the rest of his life as well without having to make a mortgage payment.

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Question From Elke L. on 12/01/2016

My parents did a reverse mortgage on their home in 2008 and both were listed on the original loan, my mother as a co-borrower. A few years later, the loan was "purchased" by another lender and my mother's name was dropped as a co-borrower. My stepfather has now passed away and the new lender is now saying even though they have my mother shown as a co-borrower on the original reverse mortgage, they don't have her name on their paperwork. When the new lender took over the loan, no documentation was sent to my parents indicating anything but they had a new lender. How is this possible as my mother's name and signature are on the original reverse mortgage documents and she is in fact listed as a "co-borrower". Is it possible for a lender to just drop someone's name from a loan when they "purchase" the loan for another lender?

Expert Answer

Hi Elke,

They cannot just drop a borrower.  You need to get a copy of the legal documents and those documents will tell you everything.  There were documents that spouses had to sign when husbands and wives chose not to put both on the reverse mortgage (such as when one spouse was not yet 62 or if one spouse was much older and they wanted to receive the higher benefit that dropping the younger spouse from title and from the loan at that time allowed them to do).  You need to either get mom's copy of the loan documents or have the lender send you a complete copy of the documents to see what they did at the time. 

But the lender cannot just drop a borrower from a loan.  The loan is a contract between all the parties involved and the legal documents spell out the terms of the contract.  Once you review those documents, you can see what they did and did not do and if you are not sure, an attorney will be able to tell you.

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Question From William N. on 11/27/2016

How do I protect my wife if I get married after I have taken out a reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi William,

The only way to be 100% sure the loan is not called if something happens to you is to have your new wife on the loan and the only way to do that is to refinance the loan.

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Question From Robert S. on 10/29/2016

Does only person on the title have to be over 62, is ok for wife not on title to be under 62 ?

Expert Answer

Hello Robert,

Is now okay to take a reverse mortgage with a spouse under the age of 62 and have her protected. Several years ago AARP won a lawsuit against HUD to allow for non-borrowing spouses to remain in their homes. We will base the available reverse mortgage proceeds on your wife's age and should you pass before her she can stay in the home for her lifetime.

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Question From Steven on 9/29/2016

Do I understand correctly that pursuant to HUD 15-5 the Mortgagee is now allowed to employ an MOE as an alternative to calling the loan at the death of the borrower? http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=15-15ml.pdf

Expert Answer

Because this is an option that HUD is extending to Mortgagees (lenders) who hold the paper at that time, but it is not required.  I haven't read the ML for a while but as I remember it, it states right in it that the ML does not interfere with the Mortgagee's original rights as outlined in the loan documents.  Yes, there is a chance that the Mortgagee might use this alternative but the Mortgagee may not even have this choice if for instance they sold the loan into a mortgage backed security and are required to do certain things under the terms of the security (based on the fact that investors bought the security based on the legal terms of the security documents among other things).

These is always the chance that the loan holder may use this option because it is allowed by HUD, but I certainly would not want to bet the farm on the fact that it will happen because that is not the terms that are laid out in the security documents and the chances are better that the loan is part of the pool of mortgages that form a security and the terms of that MBS won't allow it.  

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Question From Connie on 9/20/2016

When my live in partner and I both on title he did a reverse mortgage the lender made him take me off sense I was two months away from being 62 the lender said he could add me back on when I turned 62 and then they would add me to the reverse mortgage. So he did put me solely back on the title. When we contacted the mortgage company they wanted another 15,000 to add me on the loan. We never received any monthly payment from them they said originally we would receive 750.00 a month. But then when they went to close the loan they had fees of over 20,000 added onto the loan. So said there would be no monthly payment. He went and signed the loan papers without my full knowledge. Our house was valued at 490,000.00 but the loan was only 287,000.00 the amount paid off our original loan only. We have kept up with taxes and insurance I personally have paid them all myself. However, my name has not been added on to the reverse mortgage. What happens when he dies sense I'm now 68 and the mortgage company will not add me on without now more than requesting an additional $44,000.00 more from me. Can they remove me from the home, what rights do I have?

Expert Answer

Hi Connie,

We never recommend someone come off title with only 2 months until their 62nd birthday as it just does not make any sense.  Now that the damage is done though, the only way for you to get a Reverse Mortgage of your own or with both of you on it now is to qualify under current program parameters.

The lender did you a huge disservice by advising you to come off title with only 2 months remaining until your 62nd birthday and telling you that they would allow you to be added on to the Reverse Mortgage once you turn 62 because it simply cannot be done that way and it never has been the case.

As far as your assertion that the fees went up $20,000 more than were originally disclosed to you, that also is not allowed by law.  So my advice to you is to find your original paperwork, emails, notes, etc. from the time of the original Reverse Mortgage and see if you have the lenders original disclosures to you or assertions that they would be able to add you to the loan upon turning 62.

Remember, you can be added to title at any time after a Reverse Mortgage is done, but being added to the loan is something entirely different and simply being added to title does not give you any rights under the loan.

You need to find out what it is that they did and didn’t tell you because there is a big difference between title and added to the loan.  If the numbers, you were quoted initially are in fact $20,000 lower than what you ultimately paid at time of closing you probably want to obtain legal counsel.

There are a number of factors that can affect your loan proceeds such as an appraisal coming in at a lower value than initially estimated.  I recommend that you double check all your numbers and paperwork because the fees cannot go up $20,000 after disclosure.

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Question From Samuel W. on 9/18/2016

I purchased my home when I was single. Subsequently I got married and I'm the only name on the outstanding home mortgage loan. However, after marriage I had my wife name put on the property and my property tax statements shows both our names. My question is for "Reverse Mortgage" considerations would my wife be considered as a owner of the home?

Expert Answer

Hi Sam,

You are the only reverse mortgage borrower and I caution you that you may be the only legal owner as well but let's start with the reverse mortgage.  As the only borrower on the original loan, if something were to happen to you, the loan would become due and payable at that time.  If you want to be sure that the loan will also stay on the home for as long as your new spouse also lives in the property, then you must refinance the loan at this time in both of your names.

The second issue that I alluded to was the title to the property.  You said that you had your wife "included on the property tax files as owner".  I don't know how this was done but you may want to check with an attorney I have seen some county tax assessors that will allow you to change a name on the tax rolls or add a responsible party so that an additional individual may inquire about or pay taxes, but that does not change legal ownership of the property.  I believe it would take Deed from you to you and your new spouse for the ownership of the property to pass to both of you at this time.  I would suggest that you contact a real estate attorney in your area to make sure that your wishes are carried out in the event anything happens to you.  Whether that will require a change in ownership, a will or a trust is something about which the attorney can best advise you.

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Question From Jeff on 9/12/2016

Can my non borrowing spouse take out a reverse mortgage on a home in their name while I have one on a home in my name?

Expert Answer

Hello Jeff,

Reverse mortgage loans are for your primary residence only. It is possible that your non-borrowing spouse could take a reverse mortgage in her own name on another property that she is living in as her primary residence providing that she can fully document

proof of occupancy. Typically we will ask for a full month cycle of utility bills, bank statements and check that the driver’s license addresses pointed to the subject property. You certainly don't want to get in a situation where occupancy becomes an issue later on as this is a mature event of the loan agreement. 

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Question From Eugene H. on 7/01/2016

My previous wife who was above the age of 62 died within the first year of our purchase of the reverse mortgage. I remarried prior to my current wife becoming age 62. My current wife is now above the age of 62 and I would like to add her to my reverse mortgage so she can stay in the house when I pass. What can I do to add her to our reverse mortgage.

Expert Answer

Hello Eugene,

We have answered many different versions of this question but the bottom line is that your new spouse cannot be added to the existing loan, you would have to refinance the loan adding her to the title and loan at this time.  

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Question From COLETTE R. on 6/17/2016

I about to be 66 and my wife is 50 would I qualify for a reverse mortage?

Expert Answer

Good Morning,

As long as you live in a state that allows for non-borrowing spouses, HUD will allow you to get the reverse mortgage and will even protect the non-borrowing spouse now provided she meets the requirements.  I would urge you to read the previous blogs we've written about non-borrowing spouses though because there are conditions and still some concerns you need to be sure are acceptable to you and your wife's circumstances.  You can find that information here (link to one of the blogs we've written about NBS)

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Question From Diane L. on 5/26/2016

If I am 62 and my husband is younger can I get reverse?

Expert Answer

Hello Liz,

You are now able to do a reverse mortgage at age 62 with a younger spouse and we are required by the FHA to protect both you and your younger spouse for both of your lifetimes in the home.  If you were to pass away before your spouse, your spouse can stay in the home for the rest of their life as well. 

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Question From Esta B. on 5/20/2016

I have a reverse mortgage now, but my wife is not on the loan. Is there anything You might be able to help us?

Expert Answer

Good Afternoon, To add your wife now would require a refinance of the loan. You can find out quickly and easily if you can qualify for a new reverse mortgage and usually all we need is a copy of your current statement and both of your birthdates to run the numbers. If you meet HUD's requirements, more often than not, we can do the loan with very little expense (usually $500 or less) so if you can, please send us your current statement and ages and let us see what we can do for you.

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Question From Dennis H on 4/14/2016

Is it possible to obtain a reverse mortgage in Texas when one of the spouse's age is 60?

Expert Answer

Hi Dennis,

At this time we cannot do a loan in Texas with a non-borrowing spouse under the age of 62. The reverse mortgage requires all borrowers to be age 62 and above and in other states the non-borrowing spouse is removed from title in order to complete the transaction. This used to be a very risky proposition but HUD now has protections for the non-borrowing spouse that keep them from having to be removed from the property upon the death of the borrowing spouse.

Texas property rights laws don't allow for this at this time. There has been a lot of discussion and I understand that this is a topic in the Texas state legislature at this time. There is a possible there may be some changes to the current laws at some point in the future so that property owners with spouses under the age of 62 can take advantage of the reverse mortgage program but this has not been approved yet. Keep watching blogs as this could change in the near future.

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Question From Richard R on 4/11/2016

I live in Texas and am about to sell my home which is mortgage free & get married to a lady whose home (in Texas also) is paid for but she took out a reverse Mortgage on her home several years ago in two installments, one installment already received the other coming this month. OTHER than the Reverse Mortgage on her home, her home is paid for also. Question; when we get married can I be added to the existing Reverse Mortgage? I ask this because as it stands now IF she were to die first, the Reverse Mortgage note would be due in 12 months from the date of her passing, which I could not pay, so I'd be homeless. I just was given some information that the Reverse Mortgage would NOT be due in twelve months after her passing IF I were on the note also as her husband, is this true? In essence, the home would still be being occupied by one of the two note holders, myself, so that would keep the Reverse Mortgage intact and the note would NOT be due when she passed as long as I occupy the house. Is this correct information? Best regards Richard

Expert Answer

Hi Richard,

In order for you to be protected as the spouse on a reverse mortgage, you have to have been included in that original reverse mortgage. You cannot simply be added to the existing reverse mortgage at this time. At this point you basically have two options. You can both do a refinance of her existing reverse mortgage adding your name to title and to the new loan and then the reverse mortgage would have both your names on it and you would be protected in the event something happened to either one of you. This would require you to qualify under the current guidelines, to pay the costs of a new loan, and you would receive reverse mortgage benefits based on today's program parameters.

The second option would be to make other arrangements with the proceeds from the sale of your home now so that if and when you passed before her, you would still have the funds available along with the sale of her home to arrange for other housing. You just have to remember that if you keep the existing loan you will have to do something if she passes before you. Whether do you do it now or later is up to you but at least you recognize that you have to keep this in mind and if there are other heirs involved it could get sticky later if you both are there at the time to make sure that all of her wishes are not communicated. Dealing with family can be very trying at times and it's best if everybody knows in advance exactly what your plans and wishes are.

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Question From Dolores H on 4/07/2016

If a veteran has a reverse Mortgage and has a minor child and a wife under age to qualify, upon his death are they required to vacate the house?

Expert Answer

Hi Dolores,

Unfortunately there are so many variables that pertain to this situation that I cannot answer your question fully without knowing more information.  HUD now protects Non Borrowing Spouses that were part of the equation at the time the loan was obtained but that wasn’t always the case and I don’t know when your loan was obtained.  But even knowing that, HUD has a provision for Loan Servicers to follow and that depends on what type of security the loan has been sold into.

Regardless of when the loan was taken out, the borrower and the borrowers heir(s) always own the property and it is the payoff of the loan that needs to be resolved, not necessarily them automatically moving out.  If they don’t have the protection for a Non Borrowing Spouse under the current revised guidelines, then they still have the option to refinance the loan with another loan and keep the property or sell the property and keep the proceeds.  The Veteran status doesn’t impact any of these options.  The loan also allows for payoff of the balance for less than the amount owed if there is no equity in the property and if you would like to discuss that or anything else please give us a call at 800-565-1722

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Question From Marc C on 4/06/2016

I'm considering refinancing my reverse mortgage. My question is.....I got the reverse mortgage in 2011 when I was single. I'm now married and want to know if my wife could be included on the refinance documents? I know a person must be at least age 62 to get a reverse mortgage and my wife is now age 50. If she were allowed to be included in the refinance and I died before she turned 62 would she not be able to stay in our house or would she be required to obtain a regular mortgage?

Expert Answer

Hi Marc,

HUD does now allow the qualified spouses of reverse mortgage borrowers who are not yet 62 to be considered "non-borrowing spouses" which grants them protection when you pass allowing them to stay in the home for as long as they live as well.  To be a qualifying spouse, they have to be over 18, live in the home at the time the loan is obtained and stay there continuously and then they have to change the title to their name shortly after you pass (if you do not add them before which is what we recommend since as long as you remain on title with her, adding a spouse does not create a call event for the Note and Deed).

The only other things you have to remember is that HUD is going to consider her age in the calculator results and with an age of 50 in the calculation, the benefit amount will be less than it was before so the program will not give you as much money as it did for a borrower over 62.  Also, if you opted for the line of credit and still had money available remaining in the loan and something happened to you, as the non-borrowing spouse she would be able to stay in the home but would not have access to any remaining funds.

You would have to refinance your existing Reverse Mortgage loan in order to accomplish adding your Spouse as an Eligible Non Borrowing Spouse.  HUD has specific requirements for a HECM to HECM refinance which we would need to discuss in detail with you in order to determine your eligibility.  Please feel free to give us a call at your convenience if you would like to discuss this further.

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Question From Debbie C. on 3/20/2016

My father and mother took out a reverse mortgage 10 years ago. At that time, the house was appraised at $175,000. Today appraisal is $140,000. My mother passed away and my father remarried & together they live in the house. Does she have to move out when he passes? As an heir, what are my rights to the house if there is still equity in the house? Can he will her the house - or will she have to buy my portion as an heir?

Expert Answer

Hi Debbie,

I'm not an attorney and can't answer this. The full answer will depend on what state you live in and the property rights of heirs in that state, Then it will depend on whether your mom and dad put the home into a non-revocable trust because if they held title as joint tenants  in most states,  dad had right of survivorship  and can do whatever he wants with the home as the sole owner. 

My suggestion is to talk to an attorney  in the state where the property  is  located  to determine your rights as an heir. With regard to the loan, she would not be able  to  continue to live in the property after your father passed and the loan would become due and payable at that time.

Who the property would go to as the rightful  heir would depend on state laws, steps your mom and dad took before her passing and subsequent  steps your dad took afterward but before his passing and I simply can't give you an answer. 

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Question From Mary Jean on 2/29/2016

My husband is 64yrs old and presently the only borrower in the mortgage. I am 60 yrs. old (wife), self employed approx. $1800-2250/month as a Mobile Notary Agent. Do we qualify in this reverse mortgage program as joint borrower? or just him as a single borrower? his income at present $2500/month.

Expert Answer

Hello Mary Jean, 

Great question and I've gone ahead and answered you in a new blog post: Reverse Mortgages w/Spouse Under 62 Now Carry Protections

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Question From Lynn A on 1/17/2016

I want to get a reverse mortgage on my home which is paid for. My x-husband is living with me. Must I re-marry him to protect him if I pass away first so he can continue living in my home until he passes? We are both the same age. He is not on title. I didn't know if there was any other way around it?

Expert Answer

Hi Lynn, You do not have to remarry your ex-husband, but to be eligible to be able to remain in the home even after you pass, he would have to also be on the title to the property and on the loan. To be eligible to do that, he would have to be living in the property and be at least 62 years of age. If he is living in the property with you, is on title and on the loan, then if you pass before him, he can remain in the property even after your passing.

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Question From jon coover on 12/23/2015

I am 77. Can my surviving spouse stay in house if she is currently 47?

Expert Answer

Hi Jon,

As long as she is your non-borrowing spouse at the time you take out the reverse mortgage and meets the HUD requirements at the time of your passing (resides in the home and has continuously, transfers the title to include her name if you do not do so before then, continues to pay the taxes and insurance), then yes, she can also stay in the home for the rest of her life as well.

HUD now takes the non-borrowing spouse's age into consideration when determining benefits for the reverse mortgage loan.  Non-borrowing spouses cannot access additional funds since they are not borrowers on the loan so if there are still funds available in the line of credit, she would not have access to those funds so that is something that you need to consider if you have a large line of credit but she can remain in the home.

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Question From Richard C Furman on 12/15/2015

There is a reverse mortgage on my home; what happens if my wife and I separate or divorce?

Expert Answer

Hi Richard,

I have to make sure I answer this specifically so that I don't lead you astray so let me set up the parameters of my response.  If both of you are on the reverse mortgage now and one of you leaves the home, it does not affect the loan at all.  As long as one of the original borrowers still lives in the home, then the loan remains valid.  This would also be true if one spouse was a non-borrowing spouse at the time the loan was taken out, and the non-borrowing spouse was the one who left the home because the borrower on the loan would still be occupying the home.

On the other hand, if the loan was done with a non-borrowing spouse but the borrower left the home, that is, it was no longer the borrower's primary residence, then under the terms of the reverse mortgage, the loan would become due and payable.  The loan is only valid as long as one of the original borrowers on the loan continues to occupy the property or if the loan was originated with an eligible non-borrowing spouse and the original borrower passes, but not just if he/she leaves the home for other reasons.  

Also See: How to use a Reverse Mortgage in a Divorce

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Question From Wayne M on 11/27/2014

Hi,I will be 62 in June but my wife is 59 we own our home worth $75,000. I would like to get a reverse mortgage to do some improvement $15 to $20,000

Expert Answer

Hi Wayne,

You can apply for a reverse mortgage 60 days prior to your 62nd birthday but you cannot close it until your 62nd birthday.  Your wife would be a non-borrowing spouse which means she would not be on title to the property and not on the loan, but you can add her back on title later and under HUD's new guidelines, your wife would be able to stay in the home for as long as she lives in it, even if something were to happen to you.

However, HUD is changing their program guidelines on March 2, 2015 so that loans started after that date will have qualification guidelines borrowers will have to meet.  Since you do not turn 62 until June, your application cannot begin until April and therefore, you will fall under the new parameters.  We would be happy to contact you nearer the end of March to update you on current program rates, etc. if you would like but until then, you cannot begin your loan at this time.

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Question From nick on 8/10/2014

My name is nick 77yrs old had to do a reverse mortgage a few yrs back my wife was of age at the time but was not on the rev morgtgage. but she was asked questions and signed some papers but they say she is not on it if I die will she out in the street we have no money I will most likely call you thank you nick

Expert Answer

Hi Nick,

Firstly, I would never allow you to do the loan without your wife, especially if she was of age, unless that was something for which you made provisions and decided to proceed that way even after my counsel against it.  I would also suggest that you find out if you can do a refinance now to add her, although you stated that you have no money, if there is enough equity, you may be able to do a no cost loan and get her on title.  This is important because if she is not on title and did not do the loan prior to August 4th of this year when her age was considered in the loan, then yes, she is at risk. 

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Question From tom on 3/12/2014

If you have a reverse mortgage and your wife dies and you remarry then you move out and rent the place what could the penalty be

Expert Answer

Hi Tom,

No "penalty", but the terms of the reverse mortgage require you to live in the home as your primary residence.  If you move out of the property, whether you rent it or not, the loan would become due and payable requiring you to pay off the loan by either refinancing the loan with a new loan or selling the property.  If you did not do this and the lender discovered that the home is not owner occupied, they would be within their right to begin foreclosure proceedings.

Because the typical foreclosure takes many months to complete, lenders have to consider when is the "right time" to initiate the process if they feel they must resort to foreclosure.  If it appears to the lender that the borrower has violated the terms of the reverse mortgage agreement (and worse if the lender feels that the borrower has taken additional steps to conceal those facts from the lender), the lender would be much less likely to delay the start of the process.  

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Question From Lorraine on 2/07/2014

I was told in march 2014 the reverse mortgage would include putting non borrowing spouse on loans down to ages starting 35 years and up my husband is 51 years old I would like to get a reverse mortgage I have no mortgage on home. but I need him to be on the loan also can this be done bow or in march

Expert Answer
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Question From Maria Elena on 9/12/2012

If one of the title holders of the home dies, and the other remarries someone who also qualifies by age, can he/she add that new person on the title and reverse mortgage deal?

Expert Answer

Hello Maria,

You cannot just "add" a new borrower to title and to the existing mortgage, it would require a refinance of the loan.  This may or may not be an easy task at the time you wish to do it based on a number of factors.  Firstly, keep in mind that when you refinance a HUD Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM or "Heck-um") with another HECM, you do not have to pay the portion of the Up-Front Mortgage Insurance Premium that you have already paid so that is a good thing.  But what is important to remember is that your benefits are determined by factors such as the age of the younger borrower on the loan, interest rates at the time, the program you first borrowed under and property value or HUD Lending Limit, whichever is less. 

So if the new spouse is younger than the deceased borrower and they are younger than the existing borrower, that would automatically take the eligible amount to a lower level.  Even though HUD has strict guidelines for refinancing reverse mortgages so that borrowers are not targeted for churning refinances, most often exceptions can be made when adding a spouse to allow borrowers to refinance who would not normally have met the HUD guidelines - but it might still require the borrowers to bring money in to close if the eligible benefits are lower.  This can also be true if all the funds are used and interest accrues or if HUD changes the Lending Limits. 

The bottom line is that you can refinance to add a spouse, but you need to contact a reverse mortgage specialist to see if it works in your case or if it is feasible for your circumstances.

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Question From Sue on 5/15/2012

I will be 66 in June, and my significant other will be 63 in July-since we are a couple & have been for almost 8 years-how would/could/should we both be included on a reverse mortgage? He is disabled due to a drunk hit & run so our finances are limited until his SS disability comes through. Right now I have about $45K to use as a down payment. I saw information on spouses but any others that might be able to be included.

Expert Answer

Hi Sue, 

Since you are both over the age of 62 and you would both be living in the property, you both qualify for the reverse mortgage.  There is no requirement that you be married.

The eligible benefits are determined from the younger borrower's age, interest rates and costs, so if you would like to either go onto our website and run the purchase calculator to determine benefits for your circumstances based on the costs in your area, or contact us so we can get this information, we can give you a better idea of the purchase price you should be considering with $45,000 available to you.  But you do not have to worry, the fact that you are not married will not prevent you from getting the loan and the eligible benefits will not be affected in any way.

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Question From Joseph on 5/14/2012

I am 63 but my spouse is 59 Can I still get a reverse mortgage?

Expert Answer

Yes you can, but your spouse would have to be removed from title and this is not something we recommend lightly.  Because the loan becomes due and payable when the last borrower on the loan permanently leaves the home or passes, if the younger borrower who would not be on title or on the loan is not ready to move when this event occurs and you do not have other provisions in place beforehand to provide for this, it could create extreme hardships on the remaining spouse. 

Some provisions borrowers have informed us of that worked for them is an insurance policy that paid the mortgage off when the older borrower passed; a second property that the borrowers owned that the spouse intended to occupy after the passing of the older borrower anyway; and also the plans that the younger spouse fully intended to move to another state to be with family if and when the older spouse was no longer living anyway.  Absent a clear alternative such as one of these, it would be very sad for the spouse of a reverse mortgage borrower to be uprooted from his/her home at the worst possible time if that was not in the plans simply because the loan was now being called due and payable with the passing of the borrower and the remaining borrower did not have the means to refinance the loan in his or her own name at that time. Please be sure to read our blog post "Spouse Under 62 Leaves Vulnerability"

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Question From Jeri on 5/07/2012

Can I have a co-signer/co-borrower on loan, who is NOT a spouse an who does not live in property?

Expert Answer

Hi Jeri,

All borrowers on a reverse mortgage transaction must be at least 62 years of age, must be on title to the property and must occupy the home.  Borrowers do not need to be spouses, but reverse mortgages require that the property is the primary residence of the borrower and therefore they must live in the home.

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Question From Jim on 8/31/2011

Thank you for your prompt response to my inquiry. I already have a reverse mortgage (since 208), but I am trying any way that I can to find answers to questions relative to it. My primary concern is this scenario:I secured a Reverse Mortgage loan in March, 2008 at age 82 at a time when I was widowed. Later that year (September) I remarried a lady who was 78 years old. She is not a party to the mortgage agreement. Now, three years later, we have become concerned with what happens to her home if I predecease her? More to the point; may I, and by what process, can I add her to the document in order to prevent her from becoming homeless? We live in a community property state? The bank that holds the mortgage has been vague and inconsistent concerning my requests for answers.That is the reason that I contacted you. If you can help me, I would appreciate it. If not, perhaps you would point me in the right direction. Thank you for your time. - Jim

Expert Answer

Hi Jim, Great question. If you want to have a reverse mortgage with your spouse now included on it, you would have to do a new loan and the benefits would be based on the current value and the youngest spouse's age (your wife). If you took a line of credit before and have not used all your funds, this may not be a tough thing to do (depending on property values and how much money you did use). If however you took the maximum amount of cash available and your property has gone down in value during this time as most of the country has continued to drop in value, then it may require you to come in with cash to close a reverse mortgage at this time in both your names. She can always be your heir and receive the home by will if you do predecease her even if you do not get a new reverse mortgage, but that may not be of any comfort if the values have gone down and she has no way to retire the existing reverse mortgage at the time. Your best bet is to find out what your property is worth, the benefit you both can now receive under current rates and programs at your current value and determine if it makes sense to do a new loan in both your names at this time. The thing you do have going for you are today's low interest rates so its worth giving it a try.

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Question From Lucius Carr on 7/05/2011

I am 73 years old and my wife is 52. We only owe 62,000.00 on my house. Do we as husband and wife qualify for a reverse mortgage. I have heard that if I do that and I die, they will take the house away from my wife just because she is not yet 62. We had our house built from the ground up on a canal in cape coral fl.

Expert Answer

You can't both be on the loan because all borrowers must be a minimum of 62 years old at the time of the loan. We don't recommend dropping one borrower to qualify because while they "can't take the house away from your wife" as you put it, they can call the Note due and payable and if she has no means to pay off the loan, she would be forced to sell the home and move and who knows what the sales environment would be like at that time. She may do very well on a sale and be able to go purchase somewhere else, she may be forced to sell the home for very little and may not have enough proceeds at that time to purchase another property.

We advise borrowers to think long and hard before getting a reverse mortgage where one borrower has to come off the loan for qualification. Some justifying reasons borrowers have given us in the past which makes sense include adequate insurance on the older spouse to completely pay the reverse mortgage loan in full; the fact that the borrowers owned a second home that the younger spouse intended to sell the primary home to move into on the passing of the older spouse anyway; and imminent foreclosure which would mean that the couple would lose their home without the reverse mortgage and the younger spouse intended to move to be nearer to family upon the passing of the older spouse.

There may be other reasons which would make this action right for you, but you do need to understand that the loan will be due and payable as soon as the borrower on the loan stops living in the property as their primary residence due to moving out or passing. Without a good alternative plan in place, you do not want to have the remaining spouse have to face foreclosure if she is not able to refinance the loan or sell the property with adequate proceeds to live comfortably elsewhere at that time.

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