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Can I use reverse mortgage to pay expenses on a house that I cannot sell due to life estate?

Huntington, NY |

Parents' house is deeded to me with life estate for both of them. Mom has recently passed and Dad is in Nursing Home on Medicaid with Alzheimers. He has been there 4 years. I need advice on whether I can access the reverse mortgage to pay property taxes and maintenance expenses on their home since I am barred from selling it. I am Agent under Power of Attorney for Dad. Can I withdraw funds?

Attorney Answers 3


You probably can not withdraw any funds from the house on a reverse mortgage. First, you would have the same problem getting a reverse mortgage as with any other mortgage in that most lenders will not lend on a house with a life estate. You would also have to be over 62 years of age to qualify for a reverse mortgage. Best thing to do would be to have your father sign a new deed removing him from the life estate. If he is unable to do that then i suggest you consult with a real esate lawyer as the power of attorney may give you the power to remove him from the deed.

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You would be well-served to discuss your dilemma with a New York real estate attorney in a confidential forum as soon as possible.

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The interest you own here is a contingent one. As of present, you only have a future interest. Ignoring the age requirements on a reverse mortgage, you will simply have problems withdrawing equity from something you do not currently have possessory or present interest in.

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