Online resource center to help you explore these key issues, and others, regarding your estate.

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Mr. Miller has many years of experience in designing and implementing a comprehensive variety of Trusts, Wills, and other estate planning documents, as well as settling estates in the most expedient and appropriate method. Further, he counsels and assists clients on becoming eligible for VA benefits and Medi-Cal.

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VA Pension/Aid & Attendance/Medi-Cal

Mr. Miller has been active in the area of VA Pension and Medi-Cal for well over a decade. He uses various specialized types of Trusts as well as non-trust strategies to gain eligibility for his clients and save the family money.

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Probate & Estate Administration

Mr. Miller has been settling estates (both simple and complex) for well over 40 years. The starting point is always to create a strategy to settle the estate in the most efficient manner possible with a minimum of taxes. Often times the strategy created allows the family to bypass Probate Court proceedings.

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What Can a Home Equity Loan Do for You?

By merv,

  Filed under: Elder Law

What Can a Home Equity Loan Do for You?


Long Term Care Use

Features of Reverse Mortgages

Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages

Qualifications and Amounts

FTC Requirements

What A Reverse Mortgage Specialist Can Do For You

Introduction: For many seniors the equity in their home is their largest single asset, yet it is unavailable to use unless they use a home equity loan. But a conventional loan really doesn’t free up the equity because the money has to be paid back with interest.

A reverse mortgage is a risk-free way of tapping into home equity without creating monthly payments and without requiring the money to be paid back during a person’s lifetime. Instead of making payments the cash flow is reversed and the senior receives payments from the bank. Thus the title “reverse mortgage”.

Many seniors are finding they can use a reverse mortgage to pay off an existing conventional mortgage, to create money to pay off debt, make home repairs, or for remodeling.

Long Term Care Use: For those seniors who are in need of long term care and want to stay in their home, a reverse mortgage can create the money needed to pay for in-home personal and medical care. They can also pay for needed medical equipment and handicap adaptation to their home.

Features of Reverse Mortgages: There are no income, asset or credit requirements. It is the easiest loan to qualify for.

A reverse mortgage is similar to a conventional mortgage. As an example:

The bank does not own the home but owns a lien on the property just as with any other mortgage
You continue to hold title to the property as with any other mortgage
The bank has no recourse to demand payment from any family member if there is not enough equity to cover paying off the loan
There is no penalty to pay off the mortgage early
The proceeds from a reverse mortgage are tax-free and can be used for any legal purpose you wish

Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages:
“The lender could take my house.” The homeowner retains full ownership. The Reverse Mortgage is just like any other mortgage; you own the title and the bank holds a lien. You can pay it off anytime you like.
“I can be thrown out of my own home.” Homeowners can stay in the home as long as they live, with no payment requirement.
“I could end up owing more than my house is worth.” The homeowner can never owe more than the value of the home at the time the loan is due.
“My heirs will be against it.” Experience demonstrates heirs are in favor of Reverse Mortgages.

Qualifications and Amounts: Virtually anyone can qualify. You must be at least 62, own and live in, as a primary residence, a home [1-4 family residence, condominium, co-op, permanent mobile home, or manufactured home] in order to qualify for a reverse mortgage.

The amount of reverse mortgage benefit for which you may qualify, will depend on

your age at the time you apply for the loan
the reverse mortgage program you choose
the value of your home
current interest rates
and for some products, where you live

As a general rule, the older you are and the greater your equity, the larger the reverse mortgage benefit will be (up to certain limits, in some cases). The reverse mortgage must pay off any outstanding liens against your property before you can withdraw additional funds.

The loan is not due and payable until the borrower or borrowers no longer occupy the home as a principal residence (i.e. the borrower sells, moves out permanently or passes away). At that time, the balance of borrowed funds is due and payable, all additional equity in the property belongs to the owners or their beneficiaries.

The most popular reverse mortgages are the so-called HECM loans. HECM loans require that the applicant meet with a government approved counseling agency to be sure the applicant understands the reverse mortgage process.

FTC Requirements: The Federal Trade Commission states:

Before applying for a HECM, you must meet with a counselor from an independent government-approved housing counseling agency. Some lenders offering proprietary reverse mortgages also require counseling. The counselor is required to explain the loan’s costs and financial implications, and possible alternatives to a HECM, like government and nonprofit programs or a single-purpose or proprietary reverse mortgage. The counselor also should be able to help you compare the costs of different types of reverse mortgages and tell you how different payment options, fees, and other costs affect the total cost of the loan over time. Most counseling agencies charge around $125 for their services. The fee can be paid from the loan proceeds, but you cannot be turned away if you can’t afford the fee.

What A Reverse Mortgage Specialist Can Do For You: Reverse Mortgage Specialists in your area can answer your questions, calculate the amount of loan you can receive and advise the type of loan for your needs. You can call us for a referral or a list of Reverse Mortgage Specialists can be accessed at the National Care Planning Council website. That website is not ours and we have no control over it. So please note that, as always, we make no representations, guarantees, or warranties about anyone or anything that appears on anyone else’s website. Here is their link  Long Term Care Link

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About Living Trusts

About Living Trusts is hosted by the Law Offices of Merwyn J. Miller, as your online resource center to help you explore these key issues, and others, regarding your estate.

Merwyn J. Miller, J.D.

  • Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
  • Co-Author of legal text book and of “Don’t Go Broke in a Nursing Home
  • Teacher of law courses at public and private colleges
  • Continuing Education Instructor for attorneys
  • Columnist for largest regional newspaper in San Diego County and professional journals for 15 years, Contributing author to the book “In Your Service: The Veteran’s Friend”
  • Masters Degree in Financial Services - Estate Planning

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