Was it a scam? I really can't tell!

Okay, here's the situation:

My MIL (who passed a couple of weeks ago) and my BIL lived together in her house. My BIL is deaf. My MIL was 78 years old and the house was in her name. As far as everybody knows, there was only $5,000 worth of house payments left, and the house would've been paid for.

My BIL still lives there. He's about 37 and works. He has his own vehicle and job, but he more or less has no knowledge of living on his own. He has lived with my MIL and required her assistance with life matters, all his life up until the time she passed.

At some point this past year, my MIL presented him with a set of papers that she insisted he sign. He did not know what they were and was hesitant, but my MIL was very forceful and all but bullied him into signing the papers. (I'd like to add that this is extremely uncharacteristic of my very tranquil, mild-mannered MIL.)

So.....he signed them. No further explanation from my MIL or anybody else regarding the papers.

Fast-forward to when his car dies. My SIL (his sister) takes him to several car dealerships, where credit checks reveal a mysterious debt for about $130,000 (I forget the exact amount, possibly more) . They have no clue what's going on, wonder if maybe it's identity theft, etc. Because both of them have really good credit, he ends up getting a truck, but I don't think he was able to get the interest rate he wanted.

All I know is that now it's as if he is buying a house all over again (?) He now owes monthly payments upwards of $800 to some entity (?) This in addition to a car payment. My MIL refused to discuss the matter from the time it happened until the time she passed. My SIL has been trying to get to the bottom of it all but she's really not getting anywhere.

My other BIL says it's not legal for a deaf person to sign papers without an interpreter? He does not make much money, and he and my MIL were combining his $$$ and her Social Security checks to make this monthly payment. We don't know how he'll be able to do it alone now.

I know my account is not much to go on, but any thoughts on this are very much welcomed.

P.S. I don't even know where the documents in question are at this time. I don't know if my SIL has contacted the entity that they're paying this monthly payment to. I'm thinking she has because she's been working at this for awhile. As far as I know, the amount is financed over about 30 years. I'm stumped.


  • MunchyMunchy Posts: 5,206Registered Users Curl Novice
    Not true. Deaf people are entirely capable of reading. As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) I am very offended by that implication.
  • ScrappyTamScrappyTam Posts: 470Registered Users
    Some things to consider...

    - Who is the executor of the estate? maybe they can help find out info.

    - Is there an agency that you can talk to that helps out the deaf? They may be able to clue you in to the legal aspects of what MIL did.

    - Talk to an estate lawyer. You should be able to go in and get a consultation and maybe they could point you in the right direction to get some answers.

    Don't know if this helps or not. good luck.

    ETA: If your BIL signed this form for $$$, wouldn't it have had to had been done in front of a notary or some other witness? Otherwise, MIL could have forged his signature.
    I almost threw my ovaries at him. - Trenell

  • BohemianRenegadeBohemianRenegade Posts: 1,078Registered Users
    Being deaf doesn't affect your intelligence. He should have read the papers before signing them. Sounds like she used her house as collateral against something.
    Trying to find some sanity as I work on my master's in nursing...
  • MunchyMunchy Posts: 5,206Registered Users Curl Novice
    Another thing, is he DSN (Deaf special needs?). If you look at the state website where they live, you will be able to find the branch that offers Deaf assistance (ours is under the Department of Mental Retardation thanks to a Governer that really didn't understand/care to understand Deafness).

    Or you can contact NAD http://www.nad.org/site/pp.asp?c=foINKQMBF&b=91587
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    My BIL was extremely, EXTREMELY sheltered by my MIL, bless her heart. He does pay some bills, but when it comes to just about all matters outside of his physically going to his job, someone has to go with him to help him out. For example, things like going to a store to contest an overcharge or to return defective merchandise, things of that nature. When I say he has little knowledge of how things operate outside his home, I mean it. I'm not sure if he has a bank account, if he does I believe a sibling helps him with matters like that.

    It has always been this way in this family. I have my own thoughts about the extreme sheltering, but for the sake of family peace, I just keep them to myself. The situation predates me by many decades.

    I am just relating to you what has been related to me, sketchy as it is (unfortunately). I'm not understanding the insinuation that *I'm* somehow dissing the intelligence levels of hearing-impaired/deaf individuals. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    ETA: If your BIL signed this form for $$$, wouldn't it have had to had been done in front of a notary or some other witness? Otherwise, MIL could have forged his signature.

    See, I was wondering the exact same thing (?) From what I understand, the documents were signed at their home with just him and MIL present. I have no idea where she got them from. She certainly refused to speak of it, to anybody.

    I'm definitely going to ask my SIL if she has talked to an estate lawyer. As a matter of fact, I had suggested the same to hubby. Like I said, I don't even know where the documents are. I don't know if SIL knows, but I can ask her. I do remember that I actually asked hubby if they could get an estate lawyer to actually read them.
  • rainshowerrainshower Posts: 4,420Registered Users
    Munchy wrote: »
    Not true. Deaf people are entirely capable of reading. As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) I am very offended by that implication.

    i don't think she nor her BIL meant that to be a slight against deaf people. it sounds like they are unsure of his legal rights and limitations due to his disability. there may be no limitations because of his deafness, but i don't think it was insulting of them to wonder. i think they are just trying to help him out of a financial situation that they don't think he was aware existed.

    i would follow up with the SIL who has been trying to make contact with the mortgager.

    was the MIL in her sound mind? was the BIL in charge of any of her finances? because if she wasn't in her sound mind and if he was not the one in charge of financial decisions and you all can prove it, then it doesn't matter if the deaf BIL signed anything if you can prove that her mental or medical state compromised her sound judgment.

    good luck.
    "Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
  • Nappy_curly_crownNappy_curly_crown Posts: 4,162Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    If your SIL has access to an attorney, I suggest that they go that route. It does sound like maybe your MIL refinanced the house? But even if that was the case, where is the equity that was taken out?

    I've read cases where fraudulant companies pray on elderly and handicapped people and they draw up bogus paperwork making them think that they are about to loose thier house and then force then to refiance without ever seeing any of the equity. It kinda sounds like that may have happened here.

    Seek legal advice NOW!
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  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    If he has to make payments to some person or company, then there must be an address and contact information. I'd start there. If your BIL cosigned something (legally or illegally) he should be able to obtain the information on what the debt is for and what the circumstances are. The contact would probably need to be done in writing. (If his sister phoned, they would probably not be willing to give information unless he gave his permission, which I guess he couldn't do verbally.)
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    was the MIL in her sound mind? was the BIL in charge of any of her finances?

    Yes, she was at the time as far as I know. Although I'm not sure she fully understood the situation/circumstances/mechanisms leading up to her even getting these documents in the first place.

    Do you mean my deaf BIL? No, he was not in charge of any of her finances...only a small bill or two like cable/internet. Not actual household finances, though--at the time, MIL was in charge of them. My SIL became her power of attorney, but that was after this particular situation happened.
    it sounds like they are unsure of his legal rights and limitations due to his disability.

    Yes, this is what my other BIL meant. He was stating that he possibly had legal rights as stated above. Sorry if I phrased it wrong.
  • ScrappyTamScrappyTam Posts: 470Registered Users
    Talk to an attorney! You should be able to go see an estate attorney just for a consultation. Tell them the situation and see what they tell you. if they give you the run around and want to charge you a lot of money....don't. You may have to eventually get one, but you should know what your BIL's rights are without signing any kind of contract.

    (I used to work for an estate attorney and can't imagine that this has changed since I left there)
    I almost threw my ovaries at him. - Trenell

  • KeeweeKeewee Posts: 1,376Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Sounds like your MIL took out a home equity loan. Is he a co owner on the house?? I would try to find out where the loan is from... I am familiar with this because my ex and I took out a home equity loan, I had to sign some papers but the loan was in his name so he was able to take out money from this equity line ( but not me) SO YES i HAVE BEEN SCREWED. And this is why I am selling my house the frigin home equity loan is more then the mortgage so yes I have been screwed....
    3A some 3b Total Product Junkie

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