Reverse mortgages were created as an option for older homeowners who have substantial equity in their houses. You basically sell your house and get to live in it.
It used to be that if you were age 62 or older, there were only two ways to get cash out of your home. You could sell it or you could borrow against your home equity. With reverse mortgages, seniors can tap into the home equity they've built up without moving or taking on extra debt.
Reverse mortgages and viatical settlements are similar in that they are options to tap assets that are normally not liquid. Many people are fortunate enough to be able to consider both.
There is no rule about which is a better option. The factors to consider and type of evaluations are pretty much the same for both.
Fannie Mae’s publications are valuable in helping you navigate through the world of reverse mortgages. Click here. (Fannie Mae does not lend money directly to consumers, but they back banks and other lenders.)