Skip to content

#126 Using a Reverse Mortgage to Prepay Funeral and Burial Expenses



The extended illnesses of several close friends have made you conscious of the burden their adult children are shouldering. You have estate planning documents; those were updated after you were widowed seven years ago, directing the disposition of your assets.  However, you’ve come to realize that more preparation is needed to prevent your becoming a financial and time burden on your own sons while you are still alive. You have executed powers of attorney, etc. but observing the many decisions hassles, and financial worries your friends’ children are shouldering, you are determined to take your own planning a step further, easing the load on your own children. Particularly since they both live at a distance and have work and family obligations of their own.

You would like, to the extent possible, to age in your own home, and have already begun making certain adaptations to the physical space to make it safer and accommodate possible infirmity. You are going to need a new heating/cooling system and, within a year or two, a new roof; you want to prefund these things so your sons won’t need to contribute anything. What has also become part of your thinking is prepaying your own funeral and burial expenses.

While you have resources sufficient to cover most, if not all, these expenditures. you would be substantially reducing your investment portfolio, which has already lost more than a fourth of its market value. Also under consideration for raising the necessary capital is selling a summer cottage you own in New England. With your wife gone, you have used this property less frequently. Neither of your sons has shown interest in owning that property, but you had hoped to continue hosting summer family gatherings there, health permitting.

As an alternative for tapping investments or letting go of the summer home, consider tapping the resources you’ve built up in your own home in the form of a reverse mortgage home equity line of credit. Initial withdrawals would go towards prepaying the funeral and burial costs; future withdrawals would be made as needed to cover the different stages of home improvement. 

It does not sound as if either of your sons would someday want to live in your home and, using that portion of your wealth to avoid burdening them might truly be a gift of love.