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Home / Questions / Husband passed with Reverse Mortgage, what are my rights?

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?

By Barbara on 11.07.2018

Hello Barbara,

I cannot give you legal advice; I am not licensed.  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 your husband can force a sale later.  Let me explain.

I am concerned about something else you said when you submitted your question.  Suppose 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 originated after 2014. In that case, your statement about being on the reverse mortgage at this time is not accurate. 

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 title change. Now that it is no longer in your husband’s name and he no longer occupies 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 limited time to procure the title in your name.  From what you are telling me, you cannot do this, as the title was passed to someone else.  If you were not on the original loan as an eligible non-borrowing spouse, the loan would 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 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 seek legal counsel, take your loan documents with you so that the attorney may advise you of your rights to remain in the home under the mortgage terms or notify 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.