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How To Have the Reverse Mortgage Conversation with Your Children: A Guide for Seniors

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For many seniors, the decision to take out a reverse mortgage is not just a financial one; it's a family matter. Reverse mortgages can offer financial freedom and the ability to age in place, but they also have long-term implications for heirs and estate planning. Discussing this decision with your children or heirs can be challenging, yet it's a crucial step in ensuring transparency and aligning expectations. This blog post aims to provide seniors with helpful tips, questions to anticipate, and concerns to address when discussing a reverse mortgage with their children.

Understanding Reverse Mortgages

Before initiating the conversation, it's essential to have a solid understanding of what a reverse mortgage is, how it works, and its potential impact on your estate. A reverse mortgage allows homeowners aged 62 and older to convert part of their home equity into cash without having to sell their home or make monthly mortgage payments. Instead, the loan is repaid when the homeowner sells the house, moves out, or passes away.

Preparing for the Conversation

Educate Yourself

Ensure you're well-informed about the specifics of reverse mortgages, including the different types (e.g., HECM, proprietary reverse mortgages), the pros and cons, and how a reverse mortgage might affect your financial situation and estate planning.

Understand Your Motivation

Be clear about why you're considering a reverse mortgage. Is it to supplement your retirement income, pay for healthcare expenses, or make home improvements? Understanding your motivation will help you articulate the reasons behind your decision.

Anticipate Questions and Concerns

Your children may have concerns about how a reverse mortgage will affect their inheritance or what responsibilities they might have regarding the property in the future. Be prepared to address these concerns and explain how a reverse mortgage fits into your overall financial plan.

Tips for the Conversation

Choose the Right Time and Setting

Select a time when you and your children can have a calm, uninterrupted discussion. A comfortable, private setting can facilitate an open and honest conversation.

Present the Facts

Start by explaining what a reverse mortgage is, how it works, and why you're considering it. Highlight the key benefits, such as the ability to access home equity without monthly mortgage payments and the non-recourse feature that protects you and your heirs from owing more than the home's value.

Share Your Goals

Discuss your financial goals and how a reverse mortgage can help you achieve them. Whether it's financial independence, the ability to cover healthcare costs, or the desire to age in place, sharing your goals can help your children understand your perspective.

Address Their Concerns

Be open to questions and concerns. Common worries might include the impact on inheritance, the costs associated with a reverse mortgage, and the potential alternatives. Providing clear, honest answers can help alleviate their fears.

Discuss the Financial Implications

Talk about how a reverse mortgage might affect your estate and their potential inheritance. Explain that the loan will need to be repaid, usually through the sale of the home, after you pass away or decide to move.

Consider Their Involvement

Discuss how your children can be involved in the process, whether it's helping you with the application, attending counseling sessions with you, or simply being part of the decision-making process.

Portrait of an extended family with their pet dog sitting at the park

Questions to Expect

  • How will a reverse mortgage affect our inheritance?
  • What are the costs associated with a reverse mortgage?
  • Are there alternatives to a reverse mortgage we should consider?
  • What happens if you move out of the home or pass away?
  • How does a reverse mortgage fit into your overall financial plan?

Addressing Concerns

Impact on Inheritance

Explain that while a reverse mortgage may reduce their potential inheritance, it's a strategic decision to ensure your financial security and independence in retirement. Emphasize that any remaining equity after repaying the loan will still be part of the estate.

Costs and Fees

Discuss the upfront costs, ongoing fees, and interest rates associated with a reverse mortgage. Clarify that these costs are added to the loan balance and do not require out-of-pocket payment.


Be open to discussing alternatives, such as downsizing, refinancing, or other financial products. However, explain why a reverse mortgage might be the most suitable option for your situation.

Repayment and Estate Planning

Clarify that the loan is repaid from the proceeds of selling the home, and the non-recourse feature ensures no debt is passed to the heirs. Discuss how a reverse mortgage fits into your estate planning, including any plans for life insurance or other assets to balance the impact on inheritance.


Discussing a reverse mortgage with your children is an important step in making an informed and family-inclusive decision. By preparing for the conversation, addressing concerns openly, and focusing on the benefits and implications, you can help ensure that your family understands and supports your financial decisions in retirement. Remember, the goal is not just to secure your financial future but to do so in a way that maintains family harmony and respects everyone's concerns and wishes.

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