New Reverse Mortgage Rules Protect Younger Spouses

If the older spouse dies, the younger spouse can stay in the home, but there is a cost.

Wayne Caudill took a reverse mortgage on the house he owns with his wife, Lynn, in 2012, after a job loss threatened the ability of the couple to keep their Roanoke, Va., home. Wayne, who was 62 then, met the minimum age to qualify, but Lynn, 55, was too young to be named a co-borrower; if he died or left the home permanently, she'd have to pay off the loan, most likely by selling the house. "It would be like being evicted from my own home," says Lynn.

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Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.