I need some guidance please

mistopheles52August 19, 2010

Hello: I've got a difficult financial problem to try and solve and am not sure how to go about this. My husband and I are Canadian and we live on his retirement income of $3400.00 mthly clear income. My credit has no problems but his credit is terrible. He has amassed debt on two credit cards (one card I didn't even know he had) to the tune of approx. $17000.00. I am a spendthrift by nature and only have had a credit card myself for approx 10 years and have only spent about 4500.00 in those ten years. He financed a car in 2007 without my knowledge (said he had leased it), owes about $7000.00 in back taxes on the home. We need a new roof, a new furnace and he needs to have dental work which he left too long. He had (and still has) a dental plan but never bothered to use for regular oral maintenance. Now the teeth damage is rediculous. His money management skills are not there and he will not allow me access to the bank account. The mortgage is in both our names and is up for renewal in June 2011. There are numerous financial obligations which have to be paid (of which all he incurred) and now he wants to consolidate a mortgage loan. I do not want to do this as this will mess up my credit. Frankly, I do not want to sign my name beside his for anything dealing with a debt he incurred. What I am thinking of doing is renegotiating the mortgage for next June 2011 and him setting up a debt repayment loan on his own. I literally do not want my name signed by his on anything (besides the mortgage) as he has proven to be unreliable with finances. I am tired of trying to talk with him about this and just want my own peace of mind. I cannot stress myself out any more with this as I have heart issues and several other medical problems. They do not impact my life where I am not able to do anything but stress for me is not good. Some thoughts would be appreciated as I really don't know what to do. Thanks.

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I don't know anything about Canadian law but his problems may already be yours. I think you should consult an attorney that specializes in these kinds of financial matters so see what your liability might be.

I would also suggest that your husband get some credit counseling. The same attorney should be able to make some recommendations. Your husband might also consider some mental health counseling. Severe financial problems lead to mental health issues and some of his behavior might be indicative of larger issue.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 11:27PM
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Financial mismanagement in seniors (I realize that I am falling into the senior category) can be an early indicator of Alzheimer's disease or a silent stroke. Try and get hubby to see his doctor for an assessment.
If he is declared incompetent I suspect that no contract that he signs can be legally enforced.
Does anyone have power of attorney for him? I made certain that my daughter has a power of attorney for me. There is a history of Alzheimer's and of stroke in my family.

As hubby is not being honest with you about family finances you should see a lawyer specializing in senior's issues. When I went through my divorce 20 years ago the first consultation with the lawyer was free. Check around and see what is available.

If it appears that your hubby is not mentally fit be a bit cautious about getting him declared legally unfit. When my sister passed away my brother living in Ontario found that she was the only one who was a legal guardian for my mother. That brother being the good civil servant that he is went by the book and had my mother assessed as unfit. My mother's estate then got caught up in government bureaucracy and red tape. If the brother living in Ontario had got my mother to give him power of attorney things could have been much simpler for the family.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 2:34AM
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I am Canadian - Ontario. I think you should immediately contact a lawyer who specializes in family law/debt restructurings. You personally may already be in financial difficulty due to your husband's financial dealings - and I would be extremely concerned about the $7,000 in back taxes on your home - you definitely do not want your home being sold by the tax department. When your mortgage comes up for renewal you will most definitely have to deal with this with your mortgage company/bank. Frankly I am surprised that you have not already been contacted by your mortgagee - unless of course you have. Certainly I would also have him evaluated by his doctor - he is showing signs of possible dementia or other medical issues - hence letting his teeth go when he in fact does have coverage. I could see if he didn't have coverage. But don't let it go on any longer. You are already aware of the debt your husband has incurred so please deal with it now before the situation gets worse.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 2:30PM
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Thank you all for your help.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 9:26AM
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"His money management skills are not there and he will not allow me access to the bank account. "

You are the one with prudent money management skills yet, he want doesn't want you to be privvy to what is going on with your joint bank account?

Not good.

If it were me I wouldn't sign anything either. I'd also be tucking some cash away outside of the bank just in case the IRS/tax authority freezes your account for those back taxes.

Lots of good suggestions here. I hope some of them are helpful.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 12:00PM
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Dreamgarden it's the real estate taxes which have gone unpaid. It's the house that's at risk not hopefully the bank account. Heaven only knows what he has done with the income taxes, though they are usually deducted at source.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 2:59PM
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If I were you I would seriously consider taking your husband's name off of your checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, etc and cutting off his ability to use a debit or credit card altogether. He will not become more responsible with age. Give him a cash allowance. You might need to use a professional debt counselor to show him the truth, it may be easier for him to hear this from a third party. He may well drain all of your liquid assets if he continues down this path. One day you might wake up and have nothing in the bank. he should have a physical as well. If something is wrong with him, you may have some leverage with his creditors.

Do you have any trustworthy children to support you in this matter?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 10:33AM
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