What is the Role of Children in the Reverse Mortgage Process?
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June 7, 2017
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What is the Role of Children in the Reverse Mortgage Process?

Including your children in the decision to get a reverse mortgage is a key part of the process. Laurie Goodman, co-director of the Housing Finance Policy Center at DC’s Urban Institute, emphasized the importance of what she describes as intergenerational communication and collaboration. While it’s nice to leave something to your children, Goodman suspects that many adult children would rather their parents enjoy the quality of life they’ve earned. Goodman states that “It’s so important to have these conversations so that everyone involved understands the tradeoffs. And very few families have those conversations.” Since aging in place impacts seniors and their children, having this discussion can be very beneficial for everyone involved. Furthermore, the decision to age in place is about more than just housing. It impacts healthcare, finances, retirement expectations and lifestyle, and family dynamics.1

In a recent article, the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) interviews the adult children of several reverse mortgage borrowers. NRMLA is a national agency that advocates commitment to the highest ethical standards for the reverse mortgage industry. In the interviews, the children talk about their relationships with their parents and explain their roles in the process. We’ve included one of the interviews below to illustrate how a reverse mortgage can make a difference and help seniors age with grace, dignity and independence.1  

Angela Zimmerman of Farmingdale, NY, has been honored for her 35 years in health and human services. She currently serves as coordinator of Family Support Long Island, an initiative at Molloy College in Rockville Center that aids and supports families with young children. And she is one of six children of Dorothy and the late Paul Zimmerman. Paul was an electrician and contractor, and Dorothy worked with Farmingdale Cares childcare program. “She always worked with kids,” says Angela.

She also cared for Paul when he was stricken with leukemia and was also on kidney dialysis.

“By the time Dad died, they had nothing left. We all wanted Mom to be able to stay in the house. We wanted her to live with grace, dignity and independence. We went to an attorney who worked with senior citizens and he recommended we look into a reverse mortgage. He sent us to Ed O’Connor at FirstBank.

Angela has nothing but superlatives to describe Ed’s involvement. “He was just amazing. The authenticity that this man brought to the relationship was real. He laid out the choices, implications and opportunities of a reverse mortgage for seniors to use their resources, and that was empowerment. He never pushed us; there was no pressure. He said, ‘These are your choices, and here’s what the costs are,’ so we went into this with our eyes open. He created the space for us to make informed decisions.”

Once her mother’s HECM was in place, Angela says, “It allowed her to get her footing to get on with a new chapter. It allowed her to recoup her life, to live independently and the space to make her own choices moving forward. I think this is just so important.”

Recently, Ed, who is a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional, worked with Angela to refinance Dorothy’s HECM.

She may not stay in the house indefinitely. As Angela explains, “I think we’d all like her to live with us, and at some point, she probably will move in with one of us. But the reverse mortgage has given her the space for the transition.

Putting on her social services professional cap, Angela reflects, “As we get older, there are so many things we can’t control. So to give people a sense of control and choice over significant parts of their lives really matters. The reverse mortgage gave my mother the choice to do what she wanted to.” Click here to read the complete article.1

If you’d like to learn more about a reverse mortgage and how it could help your family, please use our Reverse Mortgage Calculator or call us at 800.215.1415.


1 Reverse Legacy – The role of children in the reverse mortgage process – nrmlaonline.org, by Mark Olshaker, May-June 2017, http://services.nrmlaonline.org/NRMLA_Documents/MayJune17.pdf.

Author:  Meredith Manz

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