A veteran and widower has been forced out of his Maryland home. He said he doesn’t know where he’s going to live, and his neighbors are concerned about him and his future.
Robert Lawton, 86, served his country honorably for nearly a decade. He is proud of his service and was happy to still live on his own with a little help from his goddaughter.
But last Friday, things changed when the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office showed up at his Fort Washington, Maryland, home.
“He said we're foreclosing,” Lawton said. “He came in there and told me to get out the way.”
At that time, Lawton didn't know why he was being evicted. He had a reverse mortgage, which required him to have equity in his home, pay his homeowner’s insurance and property taxes and keep his property properly maintained.
“According to the reverse mortgage, I'm supposed to stay here until the day I die,” Lawton said.
Richard Wills, the owner of Retirement Life Funding, LLC, said if a person 62 or older qualifies, they can live in their home until their final days.
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“It can eliminate mortgage mandatory mortgage payments, which can allow you to stay in your home,” Wills said. “There has to be equity in the house.”
According to the county, Lawton paid his taxes, but he said his goddaughter didn't pay the homeowner’s insurance, and he was never notified about the missing insurance.
“I feel bad, but here's the question,” Lawton said. “I don't want to go to an old folks’ home and I don't want to be a burden to anybody.”
Lawton said he's not sure what's next. Neighbors said they have been in touch with a local church group, whose attorneys are going to get to the bottom of the issue.
The neighbors are also trying to find a senior living place for Lawton until it is all settled. And the church has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money to help him.
Wills said it's a good reminder to seniors of why it is important to be careful whom they trust.
“You really want to make sure you know the person has your best interest at heart,” Wills said.