No more foreclosure for widows and widowers whose spouses took out reverse mortgages (which allow home owners who are age 62 or older to borrow money against the home’s value and not have to pay it back unless they move).
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has contended that if only one spouse is named as the borrower on a reverse mortgage, the death of that spouse means that the survivor must either pay off the reverse mortgage or lose the home. But the US District Court for the District of Columbia recently ruled that federal laws protect surviving spouses from these foreclosures. That ruling will apply nationwide unless it’s successfully appealed in a higher court. Many married couples have listed only the older spouse as a borrower on the reverse mortgage because this netted them more money from the lender.
Bottom line: Surviving spouses who are not listed on reverse mortgages should be allowed to stay in their homes—pending a possible HUD appeal. But in light of the court decision, lenders are less likely to offer more money if only one spouse is listed as the borrower.