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Name Forged On Home's Deed

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM #LAW 650

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A reader has learned that her husband refinanced their home by forging her name on a quit claim deed. Sam and Ilyce explain the responsibility of the mortgage broker and what recourse the woman may have.

Q: When we bought our house, our loan was in my name and my husband’s name.
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Later, I experienced credit problems, and in order to refinance our loan and take advantage of lower interest rates, the loan was put in my husband’s name alone. However, I was still on the title to the home.

In November 2003, my husband refinanced to take cash out. I told him that my approval was also needed because I am also on title. He said the mortgage broker did not need my approval or signature because I was not on the loan.

However, I recently found a quit claim deed that this mortgage broker used to remove me from title by forging my name in order to proceed with the loan to my husband. After the loan was completed, my name was put back on title.

What legal actions am I entitled to take against this broker and is there a time limit to pursue to legal action?

A: When people refinance their home, each person that is on the title to the home must sign some of the documents prepared by the lender. If one individual or another refuses to sign the papers, the lender will not allow the refinancing to go forward.

You may have bigger problems than you think. Whoever signed the quit claim deed to transfer title from you to your husband alone forged your signature. If your husband forged your signature, you have a much bigger problem with your husband than the lender.

If the mortgage broker forged the signature on the deed, he should be reported to the state agency that regulates mortgage brokers in the state in which you are located.

Unfortunately, it would seem that your husband must have known what was going on. You may have to face the fact that he forged your signature and then signed his own signature to the deed that transferred title back to you.

You seem to have learned quite a bit of information on how title to your home was changed to take your name off title and then place your name back on title. Given these facts, you are going to have to have some frank discussions with your husband.

The mortgage broker may have had the deeds prepared and may have thought that you would sign the quitclaim deed. The mortgage broker may have thought that you were in agreement with the concept of a cash-out refinance and was thought he was merely “assisting” you and your husband in the refinancing of the home.

The real question you must answer now is who forged your name.

You will need to do some investigating and determine if the mortgage broker did it without your husband’s knowledge, with your husband’s knowledge or whether your husband did it alone. If your husband did it and the mortgage broker knew about the forgery, the mortgage broker should have never refinanced the property.

The bad news is that there isn’t going to be a happy ending to your story, but it will be worse if you determine your husband was involved.

If it turns out that your husband forged your signature, you’ll need to decide what actions you must take to protect your interests in your home and other assets in the future.

You may want to consult with an attorney that practices family law to help you examine your legal options.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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