The elderly gentleman was my client.  He came in with his adult daughter who had Power of Attorney to help him with his affairs.  A few years ago, the man and his wife had taken out a reverse mortgage on their home.   He was legally blind.  His wife had died last year, but he still lived in the house. 

                With reverse mortgages, the loan company sells the house to repay its loan after the homeowners no longer live in the home.  To prove they still lived there, the residents had to fill out an occupancy certificate form each year.  The man being blind, couldn’t read it and sometimes didn’t give all of his mail to his daughter.  By the time his adult daughter realized there was a problem, there was a foreclosure notice from a lawyer. 

                The elderly gentleman had a cornea transplant surgery scheduled.  He and his daughter were both worried that the house wouldn’t be there for him after recovering from his surgery.  I explained that a chapter 13 bankruptcy could help protect the house from foreclosure, but perhaps we could solve the problem without having to file, depending on whether we could get cooperation from the lawyer and or the mortgage company.

                I knew the lawyer pretty well so called and explained the situation.  He agreed to hold off  temporarily and gave me some contact information for the mortgage company.  I had the client sign a copy of the occupancy certificate (even though it technically was late) and sent that along with recent utility bills (corroborating the fact that he still lived there), a copy of his daughter’s POA and a letter explaining the situation.

                A couple of weeks later, I received a letter from the mortgage company acknowledging receipt of my information and said they would talk to the federal government agency that was the mortgage loan underwriter.  In the meantime, they would hold off.

                Just the other day, a courteous and detailed letter of response came to me from Champion Mortgage Company, thanking me for the information and the Occupancy Certificate and the POA.  They said it was all approved, they would drop the foreclosure of this man’s house and that future correspondence would be sent to the daughter.  It was the most professional, compassionate and dignified letter I had ever received from a mortgage company on behalf of a client in 30 years of doing this.  Filing a bankruptcy would not be necessary after all.

                The client and his daughter were both thrilled.  The client’s cornea transplant surgery was a success.  He is coming home, he will be able to see,  and he will see the house that is still his.  It was a rewarding, feel good day for a bankruptcy lawyer who doesn’t often see this result.    

© David G. Hicks, Attorney at Law

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