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REVERSE MORTGAGE ISSUES OF CONCERN

CASE OF INTEREST FROM GEORGIA - Estate of Caldwell Jones, Jr. v. Live Well Financial (11th Cir., No. 17-14677, Sept. 5, 2018): A Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that federal law does not prevent an insurer from foreclosing on a reverse mortgage after the death of the borrower even though their widow still resides in the residence. In 2014, the decedent, who was married at the time, obtained a reverse mortgage on their Georgia home. The contract defined the "borrower" to be the decedent, a married man. After the borrower's death, the insurer asserted a right to immediate repayment of the mortgage. When the surviving spouse did not repay the loan, the insurer initiated foreclosure proceedings. The widow then filed a claim in federal court to prevent the foreclosure, arguing that federal law prohibited the insurer from foreclosing on the house while she lived in it. Under a provision in federal law, the federal government "may not insure" a reverse mortgage unless the "homeowner" does not have to repay the loan until the homeowner either dies or sells the mortgaged property and defines "homeowner" to include the borrower’s spouse. The district court granted the insurer's motion to dismiss and the matter was appealed. The U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, affirmed and held that the federal law in question only covers what the federal government can insure and does not govern the insurer's right to foreclose. Learn more by contacting Marc J. Soss, Esquire.