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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34236
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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In Aug 2009 I discovered my wife had got into serious debt

Customer Question

In Aug 2009 I discovered my wife had got into serious debt problems and sold our house without my knowledge to a company that buys houses at a knock down price and rents them back to you. The company's solicitors left her the forms to sign while I was at work and she forged my signature and those of two witnesses then took the forms back. My wife has been diagnosed as having borderline personality disorder and depression, and has been having ongoing mental health treatment. Shortly after the sale she was hospitalized after taking three separate overdoses. I have approached solicitors over the years but they have all said they can't help me. I lost my job recently and as we are behind with the rent now I am worried the landlord will evict my family. The landlord paid roughly half the value of the house and his solicitors surely should have not have left my wife the forms without witnessing me signing them? What is our best way forward?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What did you do when you discovered what your wife had done?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I went to see three solicitors but they couldn't help me. II found out the same day that besides losing the house I was being made bankrupt four weeks from then and I think I was in shock as I had always been very careful with money. My wife had been having the mail sent to a post office box number so I hadn't known about all this. I knew she had some debts but I thought that as the mortgage should have been nearly finished and I was working hard we could clear those once the house was paid for, I didn't realise how bad things were. When I was made bankrupt the insolvency service at Reading investigated the sale of the house and said they were getting a handwriting expert to check the signatures and they were satisfied they had been forged. My eldest eldest daughter went to the police about my wife fraudulently obtaining credit and loans in my daughter's name which has led to her having a poor credit history but they wouldn't take action as they said with her mental health state they couldn't do anything, so I didn't go to the police. My main concern at the time was for my children, as with my wife's overdoses it affected them, so we had a high social services involvement with the children. I didn't know what I could do about the house, but I am desperate to try and get something sorted out.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Are you willing to report the fraud to the police now?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi


 


Yes I am willing to go to the police now, is that the best way forward?


 


James

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
What action did the bankruptcy service take.?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They interviewed me for over three hours, they seemed to think I had hidden the money from the house sale somewhere and said they would investigate and get hand writing experts in to check the documents. Apart from a letter saying they would not take my pension and car into account I never heard anything else from them until I was discharged twelve months later

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
To do anything now would certainly involve reporting the matter to the police.
Even then the lengthy delay in taking action would make it unlikely that you would be able to set the transaction aside - and of course.you would need to raise the funds to repay the monies received.
In any event the matter is academic sincenifnyou did recover any funds they would then have to be paid to your trustee in bankruptcy.
I am sorry to give such bad news - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, sorry I am a bit confused about what you said regarding my bankruptcy. I was discharged Sept 2010 so if I received any money now could the insolvency service still take it?


As for the house I know I wouldn't get it back outright, but surely as the house was sold illegally I must have some sort of case? The landlords legal team should not have just dealt with my wife, they just left her to sign the forms.


Thank you, Jim

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I am afraid that the fact that you are now discharged does not mean that the Trustee no longer has any claim on assets that date back to the period prior to the discharge - I am afraid any money recovered from the house would still belong to the Trustee
Had you acted immediately you discovered the fraud then the transaction could have been set aside - as things stand your lack of action could be seen as accepting the position.
Clare