Ask Terry Questions Housing/Finances


By Terry Savage on March 12, 2024 | Housing / Real Estate

Terry, my husband I and I are both 70 , recently retired and recently married. My home, worth appx. $355,000, is in my name only. I have no heirs but my sister wants me to leave my home in the family. I owe appx. $97,000 on my mortgage and would like to spend time traveling. I don’t “need, need” the money, but not having a mortgage will add to my savings and allow us to travel a bit while we still can. This is too much house for my husband and he would not want to stay if I pass away first. I’ve considered getting a reserve mortgage rather than continuing to pay on a home that will be passed on to family when I die. Sis is financially secure but wants to leave a legacy for my nephew who is also doing well and to whom I am not particularly close….thus the request to leave my home in the family. Is a reverse mortgage a good idea??? Thanks!

Terry Says

Wait — this is TOO confusing! You’re only 70 years old. You may need your home equity at some point down the road in your own retirement. I assume you rely on joint income now but what happens if your husband predeceases you??

Tell your sister, you plan to take care of yourselves — and she should take care of her own son!
Then make a will, or create a Revocable Living Trust, and title the house in the name of your trust. Watch this video:

You need a competent estate planning attorney. You could set it up so that if you die first, he will have lifetime use of the house. And at his death, it can be sold or given to someone you name now.
Or you could leave the house to him directly, assuming you die first. Then he can use it for his “next wife” (!) or take the equity when he sells it to get into assisted living.

And if he dies first, then you’ll have all the equity in the house to fund your final years. You’ll probably sell it then and move into a smaller apartment or assisted living, which will be paid for with the equity in your home.

THEN, if anything is left over, you can leave the balance to your nephew — or a charity!

Unless you really need more cash to live on every month, a reverse mortgage is not the solution to any of these issues. I like RMs — but not in this case!



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