DEAR BOB: How can I get my boyfriend’s name added to my home mortgage? We have been together about 30 years. He is 67. I am 57. Can you help me? – Gertrude C.
DEAR GERTRUDE: Your letter is very unusual. I often hear from ex-wives and ex-husbands who want to get their ex-spouse off the title to a property or off the mortgage obligation.
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Frankly, I can’t think of any valid reason why your boyfriend’s name should be added to your mortgage obligation to your lender (unless you have some ulterior motive).
If your boyfriend wants to be able to claim income-tax deductions for mortgage interest and property tax payments he pays, it’s easy for you to sign and record a quit claim deed giving him a partial interest in your home.
Then he can claim deductions for the interest and property taxes he pays. He doesn’t need to be legally on the mortgage obligation to claim such deductions if he is on the title. For more details, please consult a local real estate attorney.
QUIET TITLE LAWSUIT CAN CLEAR UP TITLE MESS
DEAR BOB: My father died last year. His affairs were quiet a mess. He owned two small lots in Hawaii. He shares the title with an ex-wife whom he divorced in 1964. I have the divorce agreement, which clearly says he was awarded sole ownership of the two lots. The kicker is he never transferred title into his name. I have no idea where the ex-wife is, or if she is even still alive. I spoke with a Hawaii probate attorney. She says I must clear up the title before the Hawaii court can probate the land to his heirs. How do I clear up this title mess? – Steven R.
DEAR STEVEN: I am surprised the Hawaii probate attorney didn’t suggest a quiet title lawsuit. That is a legal action against any claimants, such as the ex-wife, to clarify that your late father owned title to the two lots.
Process service is usually by publication of the lawsuit notice in a legal newspaper. Quiet title actions are quite routine and simple unless there is opposition, which shouldn’t occur in the situation you describe.
GREEDY SON DOESN’T WANT MOM TO GET A REVERSE MORTGAGE
DEAR BOB: I am writing for my 80-year-old neighbor. She is mentally sharp and owns a lovely home, all paid for. But she says she is running out of money. When I suggested a reverse mortgage, she said her son is opposed. He says that when she dies, the reverse mortgage lender then takes the whole house and nothing is left for him. Is this true? – Renay W.
DEAR RENAY: No. That son is either mistaken or greedy, maybe both. Your neighbor is a perfect reverse mortgage candidate so she will have plenty of money to enjoy her remaining years without cash worries.
When a senior citizen obtains a reverse mortgage, the lender receives a first mortgage lien on the residence. As the years go on, the reverse mortgage balance grows as the homeowner receives payments. No monthly payments to the lender are required during the homeowner’s lifetime.
At the time of the senior citizen homeowner’s death, or when she decides to permanently move out of the home, the reverse mortgage matures. That means its balance must be paid in full.
But the reverse mortgage lender doesn’t take the house. Any remaining equity goes to either the homeowner or the homeowner’s heirs.
To illustrate, suppose your neighbor’s house is worth $400,000 and at the time she permanently moves out or dies, she has received $150,000 from her reverse mortgage lender, including accrued interest.
Presuming the son is the only heir, if he wants to keep the house he can refinance with a new $150,000 mortgage to pay off the reverse mortgage balance. Or, if he wants to sell the house, he then pays off the $150,000 reverse mortgage from the sales proceeds and keeps the remaining $250,000 cash for the equity.
More details are in the Robert Bruss special report, “Secrets of Tax-Free Reverse Mortgage Income for Senior Citizen Homeowners,” available for $4 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet download at www.bobbruss.com. Questions for this column are welcome at either address.
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