Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Parent's death leaves severely handicapped son holding mortgage

DEAR HARRY: I have a number of questions regarding reverse mortgages at the time the homeowner dies. The family must handle the situation as soon as possible after the death, usually within 90 days. Agreements call for vacating the house so the lender can sell the house and recoup the loan. The lenders are very often uncaring and even ruthless. Is this provision of the mortgage binding on heirs? I am in the middle of a situation with a parent who died leaving a severely handicapped son who has never lived anywhere else. He has no place to go, and he has no one to help him. To make matters worse, the house is not worth the amount of the debt. Isn't there something that can be done, except to make this young man homeless?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: The mortgage agreement is binding on the estate of the decedent. This leads to some very unfortunate situations. However, just as some banks can be ruthless, some can be understanding and compassionate. That would be my first move: Visit the bank's chief loan officer and acquaint him with the situation. For someone who is severely handicapped, there are organizations for almost all handicaps that can and will help. He probably will have to leave the home, and that's very unfortunate, but he will not be homeless. Has he no family to help?

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Harry Gross Daily News Personal Finance Columnist
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