What happens to reverse mortgage when you die?

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When it comes to reverse mortgages, many people wonder what happens to the loan when the borrower passes away. A reverse mortgage is a type of loan that allows homeowners aged 62 or older to convert a portion of their home equity into cash. The loan is repaid when the borrower no longer lives in the home as their primary residence. In this article, we will explore what happens to a reverse mortgage when the borrower dies and provide a comprehensive understanding of the process.

Loan Repayment Options

Loan Repayment Options: There are several options for repaying a reverse mortgage after the borrower’s death. The most common option is for the borrower’s heirs or estate to sell the home to repay the loan. The proceeds from the sale are used to pay off the outstanding balance, and any remaining funds are distributed to the heirs.

Refinancing the Loan: Another option is for the heirs to refinance the reverse mortgage into a traditional mortgage. This allows them to keep the home and continue making mortgage payments. However, it’s important to note that the heirs must meet the lender’s qualifications for refinancing.

Paying off the Loan with Other Assets: If the heirs have sufficient assets, they can choose to pay off the reverse mortgage using other funds. This could include using savings, investments, or other real estate properties to settle the debt.

Timeline for Loan Repayment

Timeframe for Loan Repayment: The loan repayment process typically begins within a few months after the borrower’s death. The lender will contact the borrower’s heirs or estate to initiate the repayment process. The exact timeline may vary depending on the lender and the specific circumstances.

Grace Period: Some lenders offer a grace period, usually around six months, during which the heirs can decide how to repay the loan. This grace period allows them to make necessary arrangements and explore various repayment options.

Responsibilities of Heirs

Notification: When the borrower passes away, it is essential for the heirs to notify the reverse mortgage lender as soon as possible. This notification triggers the loan repayment process and ensures that the lender is aware of the borrower’s death.

Cooperation: The heirs must cooperate with the lender throughout the loan repayment process. This includes providing necessary documentation, such as death certificates and proof of ownership, as well as responding to any inquiries from the lender.

Home Maintenance: Until the loan is repaid, the heirs are responsible for maintaining the property. This includes paying property taxes, homeowners insurance, and any necessary repairs or maintenance.

Protecting Heirs’ Interests

Independent Legal Advice: It is recommended that the heirs seek independent legal advice to understand their rights and responsibilities regarding the reverse mortgage. An attorney specializing in estate planning or real estate law can provide valuable guidance throughout the process.

Communication with Lender: Open and regular communication with the lender is crucial to ensure a smooth loan repayment process. The heirs should keep the lender informed of their plans and any changes in circumstances.


In conclusion, when a borrower with a reverse mortgage passes away, there are several options for loan repayment. The most common option is to sell the home and use the proceeds to repay the loan. Refinancing the loan or using other assets to settle the debt are also viable alternatives. It is important for the heirs to notify the lender promptly, cooperate throughout the repayment process, and seek independent legal advice to protect their interests. Understanding the process and available options can help ease the burden for the heirs during an already challenging time.


– National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association: www.nrmla.org
– U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: www.hud.gov
– Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: www.consumerfinance.gov