Dear Readers: For seniors, a reverse mortgage may seem like a great way to get extra cash to pay bills and expenses, but make sure you thoroughly understand what it is before you dive in.

A reverse mortgage allows you to access the equity of your home, in monthly payments to you, without selling it. This money is usually tax-free.

However, you are still responsible for property taxes, insurance, upkeep, utilities, etc., on the home. And a reverse mortgage can result in you leaving less to your heirs.

To find out all you need to know about a reverse mortgage, the Federal Trade Commission (www.consumer.ftc.gov) is a good place to start.

— Heloise