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Widow’s Reverse Mortgage ‘Nightmare’ Underscores Lifeline’s Risks

Arlene Hill. an 82-year-old widow is fighting to keep the home she has lived in for 45 years due to being misled by a broker into signing documents to remove her name from title in order to qualify for a larger reverse mortgage.

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Arlene Hill needed a financial lifeline. She thought a reverse mortgage would provide it.

Now the 82-year-old widow is fighting to keep the home she has lived in for 45 years.

Regulators have long been concerned that reverse mortgages — a type of home loan that allows older homeowners to access the equity in their homes and defer payment until they die, sell or move out – can put homeowners like Hill in financial peril. All too frequently, they say, brokers don’t clearly outline the potential risks of such an arrangement and homeowners don’t understand what they are buying.

Hill says that she was both confused about the terms of the reverse mortgage she took out on her Simi Valley, Calif., home and misled by a broker who was eager to close a sale.

In 2009, with her husband, Herb, unable to work after suffering a stroke and the onset…

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