HECM from HELL — one that got away, or did it?

A true story by Warren Strycker.

This is the story of a HECM loan gone bad — to be more accurate, it was the HECM that got away after every thing imaginable was tried to keep it in.

It was a simple solution, I thought, or was it???

Gentleman called to ask me to come talk about Reverse Mortgage with he and his wife. They were both in their early 90’s (can it be that “early” can ever refer to the 90’s?? Probably not).

Anyway, I went and did my best presentation and they decided to get the required counseling, and so they did.

The home was a modest 3 bedroom, appraised well above a hundred thousand. The “fix” was in, more than $70,000 in cash would be placed in their accounts, well, until the discussion centered on which of the two would get the money in their account.

Life was about to be better for them (or so we thought).

The couple had a trust, only she wasn’t in it. It’s OK, she said, she just needed a place to live and they needed to pay  some bills. Lender wouldn’t stand for an unborrowering spouse living in the house without a trust adjustment which would say she had rights to live in the house after he passed, and in the process of writing the paragraph that gave her the rights, his family (and him) halted all discussion as he headed to the hospital for open heart surgery.

That’s when his family entered in. Hmmmm. All negotiations came to a halt while he had bypasses installed (at 92 years of age).

Mrs Stars waited in his hospital room for days on end to see him through the surgery and then she was invited to stay home because… well mostly it was about making sure she didn’t get any rights to the house. One story counted the time she had with him alone in the hospital to talk about all this. It wasn’t about the reverse mortgage that caused the ruckus. It was because she was left out of the proceedings altogether and I was invited to “cease and desist” by the lawyers now filing for divorce. Coming out of the hospital, he moved into the home of his son and daughter in law and she lived in the “big house”.

Oh yes, then she was served with divorce papers for “irreconcilable differences” and partially because she threw a pitcher full of water on the son in law who was staying in their house to protect his dad from his step mother who was still trying to work out an agreement with her husband to stay in the house which now had all locks changed to prevent unagreed entry.

The divorce is set for two days after Christmas.

I’m pretty sure this is a HECM that wasn’t supposed to close. The positive message here is that this not-always-nice lady is now threatened with divorce two days after Christmas when she will be legally invited to leave her home soon after the holidays is now inviting us to eat her chicken soup, and it’s good.

It’s the HECM from HELL that didn’t happen. I am thankful for bunches of others that did. Don’t let this happen to you.

After several months have passed, the nice lady lives in the big house and the husband of eight years lives with his son to protect him from his spouse. The divorce is apparently on hold. Happiness doesn’t live here even with three quarters of a hundred thousand in cash available.

No, it’s not just about the money but it did play a major role. People in their nineties have a sense of stubborn pride that they still play a major role in the family thing — and concession is not an easy thing.

If you live in Arizona and wish to consider a HECM to shore up your finances and take some pressure off, it will be OK to call me for help, but don’t wait until you’re 92 on the way to a heart bypass. See “Information tab” on the home page for particulars.