I'm so worried right now...

cathie54March 9, 2007

I have enjoyed reading many of the threads and posts. Everytime I read them, it gets me mentally motivated to do something to improve our financial situation. Always - while reading, I think I want to sell everything I own, pay off ALL debts, live on the slim, and put $$$ away! LOL! I was reading late last night (Wednesday) - all night, about LTC. - Very confusing...but something has been bugging me for years now - "shouldn't we have life insurance or ???"

I have CC debt which I've been concentrating on paying off, and I've stuck to my pay plan.

My "SO" and I bot house almost 3-1/2 years ago. We have joint ownership with right of survival.

"Hubby" - (SO) - just got his new office set up last month. It's a small space and nothing fancy. He has a one year lease on it.

I wanted to at least start a discussion with SO this (last evening - Thursday) about LTC or??? you know? Just to plant some seeds to start thinking seriously about it...toss some thoughts around, etc.

Well, yesterday he came home from work with news that he might be - (probably is) getting sued! Thru the ongoings of where he was last employed. Hubby has always tried his best to be honest/professional - (on the "straight & narrow"). He just ended up working with the wrong jerk.

What this means is, depending on what happened, he may lose his license. Which means his NEW company which he just started might be in jeopardy - and he has a lease & lot's of money invested in that. Which means no income.

PLUS, NOW I'm worried about our HOUSE and being homeless!

I'm on Perm Disability and cannot work.

He's going to call an attorney today (Friday).

I am so worried and scared. I'm sure this happens a lot? But this is a first for us!

I tried to assure hubby that everything will work out OK, but darn! I'm in panic mode. I do NOT want to lose the house over this. This last move just about did me in, and we had help! NO WAY I can handle another move! I HOPE it doesn't come to that...I really don't know anything anymore.

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I fear that too...
That's why DH has malpractice insurance (it's not just for doctors!) and why the house is in my name.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 8:25AM
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cathie, worry only works if you can do something about it. Otherwise....

A couple of things which may help you: how did your husband set up his business -- as a sole proprietorship, limited-liability corporation, something else? The way this was done can limit the liability which extends into one's personal life.

Though it may be too late now, he or collective you also should have malpractice insurance or E&O (errors and omissions) insurance or at least an umbrella liability policy. I'm not an insurance expert, so I can't speak to which would be available or applicable, but being prepared to handle just such a situation is a cost of doing business, and if you can't handle that cost yourself, insurance is the way to go.

Take deep breaths, have DH talk with the attorney, find out what your options are, work toward what you can, and don't worry about the rest because it won't make anything different.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 9:29AM
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Worry is not productive, so go take a walk around the block and then come back and call an attorney. Or--you could just wait until SO finds out if he really is being sued. The former employer will most likely have insurance of some kind. States vary in their laws, and not all states allow a primary residence to be taken for a lawsuit like this. My state doesn't recognize common law marriage, so your stake in the house wouldn't be touched.

In regards to life insurance, we have large term policies because we have small children. We have smaller universal policies so if one of us dies after the term policies are no longer in place, the remaining spouse can easily cover any bills and maintain our standard of living. While you jointly own your house, could you afford to pay for it if he dies? If not, then you should have some life insurance or you will have to sell the house.

If your SO is going to be self-employed, he needs to have the appropriate things in place. Overhead is expensive, but necessary. Like luann says, malpractice is not just for dr.s. We pay for a million dollar policy and still feel like that might not be enough, but will have to do. We also have a personal liability policy through our homeowner's policy for a million, so if we really make someone mad, we have some coverage.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 1:58PM
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I feel a bit calmer today - at least for now.
Hubby has E&O Insurance. The former "employer" had the business set up as Corp. We just learned last week that he sold the business, sold off some of his properties, has other ones up for sale, and supposedly moved to Texas.

This "problem" is something that took place last November, and DH quit working there first week of December.

Speaking of Personal Liability and homeowner's insurance, I need to review our policy. I'm not sure if we even have personal liability, and I know that is a MUST! And I'm pretty sure our homeowners' needs to be updated, as our house has at least doubled in value since we bot.

I didn't even KNOW about malpractice insurance! (Except for Drs. lol!) I'll have to look into that.

No, I cannot pay for this house myself. I could make the house pymt and taxes/insurance, but I'd have NOTHING left for utilities, maint, food, Medical, etc.
I'd have to either get someone to move in with me (hate that idea, unless it's family).
This has been weighing heavy on my mind for a few months now. That's exactly why I wanted to discuss this seriously with hubby.
I've looked at insurance in past thru my credit union, and get so confused. I don't know which kind is right for us. DH cannot get insurance thru credit union, as they wont let him join unless we got married.
I'm clueless about Insurance. There are so many products out there.

Well, I won't know anything until DH comes home from work. Then, I still may know nothing until sometime next week.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 4:52PM
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steve and gloria offered some good advice. Collect as much info as you can, take a deep breath, and when it's a good time, talk to SO...

Insurance is a very personal, "it depends" kind of issue. Life ins, HO ins, car ins, malpractice ins, ltc ins. There's no one kind that works for everyone. That's why you have to analyze your own situation before making decisions.

This board (I've found) is a great place to get feedback, advice, and simply moral support.

Please do keep us updated - we care.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 10:05PM
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You've gotten good advise, but I want to add, your HO policy, does have third party liability coverage, it does not coverage his business, think of slip and fall on your property, that is the most common.
But your limit of liability of property coverage is based on the cost to replace, not the market value, you may already have an adequate limit on your property coverage.
Don't obsess over every detail of your life, that sounds like what I do about 10pm when I'm stressed. and I know, easier said than done!
Keep coming back we can give you free therapy and some decent advise.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2007 at 11:32AM
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Thx to all for input. It ia very much appreciated.
Hubby called the attorney on Friday. Well, attorney hours are Mon thru Thurs (and regular business hours, of course!) So he has to wait now till next week to call.

On Friday, he told his business partners about it. They sat together and analyzed/picked apart the letter. They determined the person who wrote it was really angry (lol), and, as they discussed each point, realized DH is NOT responsible for this and that... There "might" be one little minor point in the whole thing that may effect DH, but probably not a big deal. (DH offered me to read it, but I was busy with other things at the time - so didn't read it yet).
From what DH told me, looks like the company that is threatening suit is the "responsible party", and trying to shift responsibility onto DH and others.

So, I won't know much until maybe sometime next week - after he talks to that attorney.

I've been online for last couple nites and days looking at different insurance options. (like ALL nite long!).
Even if DH comes out OK on this one, I still feel "naked & vulnerable".

I DID manage to "plant some seeds" regarding various insurance products, etc., on Saturday. That's about ALL I managed to do - but at least the "plant" & concerns have been put into place. (It will likely take some time for him to "absorb" anything I've expressed concern about.)

I've even looked at the "disability insurance" products. WOW! "UnumProvident" has been in bad trouble!

I have NOT been able to find anything on "malpractice insurance" - other than for medical or social related. (My "search" skills are weak, to say the least! lol.)

I know that worry and obsessing over things is non-productive. But, it's my nature. (Probably a big part of why I'm in the personal situation I'm in today.) I can't help it - I don't know how to NOT worry & obsess. When it gets too great, I "shut down". But, that's a discussion for another forum - like "health" or something!

Thanks for all the support! I certainly need and appreciate it! Even if this "problem" ends up to be nothing that affects DH, it is STILL valuable info to know - to hopefully avoid some other kind of potential suit in future!

Good to know about the slip and fall. I know that was a BIG thing years ago - STILL happening that bad today?

Well, I have a huge pile of bills to pay, and I need to stick to my pay-plan!

Thx again to all, and, I do need some support and direction, so keep it coming please! (off to pay bills!)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 4:41AM
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I just remembered from your first posting that you really don't even know if he will be sued. Depending on the case, you may never hear about it again. You got an angry letter or demand, it costs a lot of money to sue, an attorney may not take the case without lots of money upfront if the case is iffy. Once reality sets in, it may not be worth the risk to sue.
Look up "errors and omission" insurance, that may be better suited for you than malpractice.
Best wishes.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 4:12PM
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You mentioned CC debt that you are trying to pay off. You should get out from under that before you start taking on an insurance policy that will take up more of your income. Sure, it can be a gamble when you don't have proper insurance, but being in debt is a certain thing that can easily get worse. This is a case of first things first. Get that CC debt paid off. THEN think about what you need in insurance.

And remember, you are not LEGALLY his wife, therefore you have no LEGAL obilgation towards him if things go badly for him. You may feel a moral one, but that's a different story.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 5:35PM
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You don't wait for the car loan to be paid off before you get insurance, right? So, get some insurance now even though you still owe on credit cards. You'll probably always owe something to credit cards.

(Brings to mind that X-files episode with Peter Boyle as an insurance salesman who could foresee the death of people he met. His customers were more interested in that new boat or TV than paying for insurance. Not that that is your situation. It was just a good episode about planning for the unforeseen.)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 6:01PM
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Posted by cmarlin20 (My Page) on Sun, Mar 11, 07 at 16:12
"I just remembered from your first posting that you really don't even know if he will be sued. Depending on the case, you may never hear about it again. You got an angry letter or demand, it costs a lot of money to sue, an attorney may not take the case without lots of money upfront if the case is iffy. Once reality sets in, it may not be worth the risk to sue.
Look up "errors and omission" insurance, that may be better suited for you than malpractice.
Best wishes."

"DH" has "errors and omission" insurance.
I donno...the company threatening to sue is either rich or going broke! (lol)
And likely - THEY have means to sue.

Yes, DH got "Certified Mail" both at his new business and at home. I STILL haven't read it, altho one of the letters is sitting right there on "hubby's" desk! (been busy with MY stuff) The day DH rec'd, was same day the "other party" was supposedly meeting with "their attorney".

DH called attorney on Monday, and they areb't taking any "new" clients. They gave him a referal - (no free consultations). One of his partners in his new business also gave him a referal (his partner actually used the guy & was very pleased). DH has appt late Wednesday (tomorrow), and FREE CONSULT. (If he doesn't like the attorney, he'll try the other one.)

Yes, it was a lot of anger and threat in the letters, but nothing "official" so far. At this point, we don't even know if the "threat" will come to fruition. (I hope not)

I'm sure this will take some time to find out exactly what is going on. Either way, WAS an eye opener! (I've remained pretty calm since first post - we'll see whar next few weeks bring...)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 9:46AM
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Could you help us out by just stating generally what line of business your SO is in? I'm guessing he is maybe an insurance agent or something else financial? A bail bondsman? Or a car dealer? Was he individually a named insured under the E&O and/or GL policies of the former business, or was he simply an employee? Does the threating letter simply concern a squabble among the principals of the former business, or is there actually an innocent third party bringing the claims?

He needs to take the threatening letter and put any potential insurance carrier on notice of the claim. That means the E&O carrier, or even the general liability carrier for the former business. If a suit is filed, put the carrier on notice ASAP. Any delay in putting the carrier(s) on notice can compromise the coverage. Also, even if it is unclear if any of the allegations in the suit/claim are covered, the carrier may still have a "duty to defend" your SO, which means the carrier provides an attorney for him.

Whether now is the time to get life insurance or not . . . I don't know. Life insurance, in my opinion, is designed to replace the income of the person lost. So coverage of 10X the person's annual income is a good figure -- particularly since you are on a fixed income. However, 10x may be expensive right now. Consider enough insurance on your SO to pay off the house, all debts and provide something of a cushion to keep you going.

That is what we have done. There is 325K on me for DH and 290 on DH for me. This would pay off the house and provide 200K to start over. We feel this is enough for us because each of us earns a good living on our own. In your case, your SO's income would be more sorely missed. Just as an FYI, DH's 20-year term policy (taken out when he was about 51, and anon-smoker) costs us about $58 per month.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 10:41PM
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cathie - you've got plenty of good advice here. I just want to add that if you want to improve your online research skills, your local library is a great place to start. Call and ask for the research librarian. Our library recently ran classes on the subject that I would have loved to attend.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 1:19PM
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Another good reason to put your home in trust and not in either person's name!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 7:41PM
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"Could you help us out by just stating generally what line of business your SO is in?..."

Financial related. DH carries his OWN E&O Insurance (it's required) I don't know what the Corp or the other guy had.

(It's a long story -lol!) He has maintained his RE Brokers' license for years, but wanted a change. Became a Notary Public for a few years and made lots of money - for awhile.
Decided he wanted to get into loans. This is where he got mixed up with the wrong person. He started working with this guy with intent to learn the lending business. DH was only there for a couple weeks when the guy found DH had a RE Broker's License. The guy dumped the other broker and started using DH. So, DH was working for the Corp., but also under his own License.
This "threat to sue" is from the company that funded the loan on a home purchase. I guess the "buyer" has not made any payments on the house, and used the $$$$$ somewhere else. (At least, that's how I understand it from the threat letter he rec'd.) This was the last transaction before DH left. DH left, because he 'felt' like some "funny stuff" might be going on, and he didn't want any part of it if that were the case. (The guy kept everything locked up, and was very secretive & evasive.)

Oops! Gotta go! I'll post update later about the attorney appt. Thx all.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 7:22PM
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How on earth does a Notary Public make "lots of money"????

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 7:32PM
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"How on earth does a Notary Public make "lots of money"????"

LOL! They DON'T - not anymore. That's why DH quit doing that.

There was a guy who kept calling DH to do Notary Signings for him - he landed a very large account. He offered to pay him well - much better than the standard $50.00 per signing. DH told him he would try it for a limited time - see how it goes. (This was a few years ago).

The guy gave him so much business that I had to help full time and we were only getting 5 hours sleep/night there for about 3 months.
The guy would fax the assignments over, I'd collect them and start mapping them out and printing out maps for DH. (DH covered a wide area), Then I'd call to schedule the appt's according to his "route". I'd also list his appts for the day in order on a "master list".
DH would do prelim filling out of info in the book, review the Docs, and run all over the country! LOL!

But...that was when all the Docs were shipped to our door, and there was always some flex time for the signing. (They would only ship the docs AFTER an app't was scheduled.) That was also before gas prices were out of control.

When the guy's business grew larger, he enlisted the help of his son and a couple other people. The son took over, and the assignments started decreasing - as well as the pay!

DH did do a few signings for them - if they were in a jam, but demanded his price.
DH also had some other companies he was signing for.

Increasingly, the companies started asking DH to print out the Docs from his own computer (rather than shipping them to him), and they only wanted to pay $50.00. DH finally bailed out!

When he was making lots of money (for us, anyway), he was doing anywhere from 8 to 12 signings per day. So, even at $50.00 each (and he was getting more than that) - at 8 per day was $400.00/day.

It was good while it lasted...haha.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 8:50PM
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In some states notaries were making a killing on mortgages and refininancing when the RE market was so, so hot. I think it may have been a way to circumvent the cost of a real estate attorney in those jurisdictions.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 12:23PM
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cathie, it sounds like your DH was doing very different work than notaries in Texas. Here they basically check ID and witness signatures. Most banks do this free, at least for their customers. Many offices have a few Notaries Public among their clerical staff as well. Just out of curiosity, do you mind sharing where you live?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 9:37PM
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I never had to pay more than $8 for a notary... and usually it is less than that.

$50 sounds odd to me.....

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 8:05AM
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Sounds odd to me is, posting on the 9th and still posting on the 13th that she hasn't had time to read the letter. Too busy. Okay so you are totally obsessed over a possible lawsuit, already have it in your mind that you can lose the house, BUT, you can't be bothered to read the letter.

Give me a break.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 2:12PM
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So should I advertise the fact that I am a notary? I have been a notary for over 8 yrs and have never charged anyone to notarize something. I did have a gentlmen try to get me to notarize something when it wasn't really him. I want to know where to sign up to make money to support my family being a notary!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 7:33PM
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In southern California (at least in Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside Counties) notaries oversee the loan documents signings for real estate. It can be quite a lucrative career, if you can keep your big accounts. A notary who goes through the extra training (just a day) and gets hooked up with the right people can earn $150-200 per loan signing, which takes less than an hour, and so can make some fast money. At least, it used to be that much.

As more people got into the field, however, the amounts paid out decreased and now it's not as good, unless you have a lot of big accounts (banks, mortgage companies, etc.) who send you out on a lot of jobs.

Real estate is still big business in southern California, even in a down market, simply due to the large number of people living there.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 1:08AM
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Oh My! I am so behind...

liz_h post.

YES, I either saw on TV or read on Internet within last few months ... about Notaries in TX. I even made a (half-joking) comment to DH about it - like we should move there, because they don't have the stringent requirements as they do here in Calif. to do Notary Signings. Requirements in Calif are a WHOLE lot different.

And, you are correct - MANY places are available for Notary Sevices. DH was a "Traveling Notary" - he would go to the peeps homes when convenient for THEM. (Sometimes even as late at 10 pm or on weekends - when "regular" places - such as banks, etc, weren't open.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 5:45AM
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cathie54, I didn't realize you're in SoCal. I just moved away from there, after 9 years in OC.
Regular notary work down there is $10 per signature, available at banks, the mailbox stores, etc. I was a licensed notary but never did anything with it at all. I took the extra class to do the loan signing docs but decided it wasn't for me, although I did know people who were making some good money even part-time. But you do have to travel, sometimes quite far, and you are entirely dependent on keeping your big accounts. I know an older, retired guy who was doing well at this and then lost his biggest account because someone else would do it cheaper, and it was tough for him after that.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 12:52PM
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I'm not a lawyer, so honestly don't know the answer to this--does it make any difference legally that although OP keeps referring to 'hubby', they are not in fact married?

I'm not quite sure why she keeps referring to him as her husband but maybe some of the people reading this topic missed that at the outset she referred to him as her SO and uses hubby as a euphemism for that...which it isn't legally for many situations. Wonder if this is one of them. OTOH buying houses might not be impacted by marital status. I do suspect lawsuits are. I'm truly curious.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 3:03PM
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minet - You are correct. Regular Notaries are only allowed to charge $10 per signature. DH was doing the Loan Doc Signings. Since you lved in OC, you're somewhat familiar with the area. DH covered a wide area - parts of north OC, parts of LA county, all the Inland Empire, Parts of Riverside and San Brdo. Counties. He also made occasional trips to the Victor Valley-(High Desert) and Big Bear. It was a lot of driving!
Advertising popped up everywhere "Make Big Money - Become a Notary Public!"
What happened to that retired guy you knew is also what happened to DH - they were finding people who would do it cheaper. I don't know how anyone made money doing signings for only $50.00. The only way is if one had a few per day and close together - like, in their own neighborhood! Plus, like I mentioned, more and more companies were requiring the Notary to print out the Loan Docs on their own - which took a lot more time and cost. OH, and another thing this one company did...they would just put the assignments up on computer - leaving it "up for grabs" for anyone. So, DH had to sit at computer all day long everyday and refresh every couple of minutes to see if something "popped up". (If he was out on a signing, he'd miss out on any new assignments) It got to the point it wasn't worth it anymore.

runninginplace - Yes, we are not married. Been together for over 20 years. I refer to him as "hubby" most times. "Significant Other" or "boyfriend" or "life partner" just sound odd to me. I sometimes refer to him as my housemate also. "Hubby" is just easy.

Someone in a previous post mentioned my 1/2 should be protected. Not sure what that means...should I get out the chainsaw and cut the house in half? haha j/k!

"DH" saw the attorney. (hubby also was able to get most of the file on this specific trx from the lender) Attorney told him to just keep all the info for now, but to NOT respond to the letters...and just wait to see if anything happens. DH hasn't heard anything since. I don't know what the statute of limitations would be on something like this. (Maybe the other guy's attorney told him he didn't have a case? I donno)

And, yes, I was too busy to read the letter when he first presented it to me. DH had already told me most of the highlights in the letter. By the time I was mentally prepared & calm enough to read the letter, it was gone. He had taken it to attorney. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with things. I guess my way is different.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 6:52PM
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In many states unless designated otherwise, property is held differently for Two unmarried people (even if relate, eg siblings) as opposed to Two married people. For example on things like survivorship. When he speaks to the lawyer he should ask about that

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 2:46AM
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