Do Heirs Have Any Recourse to a Reverse Mortgage?

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 25 December 2019 17:34

The Question: My mother passed, age 92. She and my stepfather, married for 14 years, obtained a reverse mortgage on the house she has owned for 50 years about 6 years ago. She left my brother and I the house upon her death. My brother is the executor. The house was in her name alone. She did not leave my stepfather anything as he mishandled her money in the worst way. There is a trust. She took the house out of the trust prior to her death. However, the reverse mortgage payments are going into an account that only he has access to in the trust. So, what we have here is we inherited a house and are paying my stepfather a reverse mortgage payment of $3,000.00 per month and he continues to run up credit card bills that are in the trust and in both of their names. He moved out of the house approximately 2 months ago while my mother was dying of cancer. We have tried to get a copy of the promissory note regarding the reverse mortgage but have not been successful. Do we have any recourse, or can you give any advice?


The Answer: Firstly, if the home was in your mother’s name only and she never added her spouse to the title, the loan became due and payable when she passed.

The loan payments she was receiving from the reverse mortgage would stop now if she is solely on the title and the lender became aware of her passing. You can pull the title information online to see how the title is currently vested since this is all public information.

If your mom did add her spouse to the title and included him on the reverse mortgage, those were her wishes and he is entitled to stay in the home now, even after her passing and continue to receive the payments.

However, you have mentioned another issue. Whether he was or was not added to the title, at least one original borrower must still be living in the home for the loan to continue to make the monthly payments.

If your mother’s spouse no longer lives in the home, then he would not be eligible for the monthly payments even if he was originally on the loan.

However, keep in mind that the terms of the loan allow for temporary absences from the property and so if he just decided to stay in another location while your mom was ill, he has not violated the terms of the loan.

If he changed his residence and the lender finds out about it, the payments will also stop, and the loan will be called due and payable.

You don’t really need a copy of the Promissory Note, it is a standard FHA instrument used for HECM reverse mortgages. What you can get and will tell you everything you need to know (e.g. who is on the title and the borrowers of the loan), is a copy of the Deed of Trust or Mortgage depending on the state in which the property is located.

This is a recorded instrument and can be obtained online, from the local county recorder or through any attorney or title company if you are unsure how to obtain it.

Again, it all depends on your mother’s wishes and how she set things up as to how much you can or can’t expect at this point. I wish you the best.

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Craig Lebrau

Assistant Director (Landed Property) for Mourne Property Co. (Sydney) from 2001-2015. Founded and led Lebrau Estate Agents from 2015 until now - a boutique real estate firm serving private buyers.  

I prefer not to disclose social profiles as they delve into my personal life, however please feel free to get in touch via email at

Agent Resource

Limited time offer - 50% off - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.