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Elderly parent – Reverse Mortgage and Credit Card Debt

By Terry Savage on August 09, 2018 | Housing / Real Estate

Hi Terry,
My 86 year old mother took out a Reverse Mortgage, now held by Champion, 13 years ago. Her reverse mortgage has chipped away at her equity and now she is in the hole for over $200,000. She lives in a modest home and has maintained her home. What happens to this negative value of her home should she have to leave her home and move in with family, move to a nursing home, or pass away? Are her heirs, such as myself liable for this? Also, she has extensive credit card debt. What can we do to get this under control with more manageable monthly payments or otherwise? What about debt consolidation. Can you please help advise me, I’m very concerned.

Terry Says

Well, first of all relax about the reverse mortgage. This is exactly how it was intended to work. If she dies, or moves out of the house, the mortgage lender takes over the house. BUT, neither she, nor members of her family, are obligated to repay the difference! This is exactly what happened to my father with his reverse mortgage. They never figured he would live to age 96! And when he died, the loan on the home was worth far more than the lender ever imagined! Her only obligation is to pay the property taxes and insurance while she lives there — and keep the home in good condition.

As for the credit card debt, contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 00-388-2227. They will help, even contacting her creditors. But debt consolidation is never the answer — and it only makes the debt companies rich! You probably need to step in and figure out how she is handling her money. The NFCC will help create a budget, but you should sit in on the sessions.

If you really want to take care of her, you will make sure she is ok in her home, and might want to start paying some of her expenses — after you work with NFCC. But once she leaves her home, the bank will take it. So make sure that if she stays, she pays all those bills.

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