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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 for 30 years now and want to continue to live together for 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) too many times. How embarrassing. I hope you're happy, forcing it out of me. Looking forward to hearing some good news.

By Ray M. on 11.14.2018

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 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 were 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 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 does not have to be added to the loan; you need to add her to the title, which you can do at any time. 

If the loan were closed before 2014, when the eligible non-borrowing spouse designation was developed, then the only way to be sure 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 the title now.  This will ensure she has a 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 home (if you pass or 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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