Five years ago my 88-year-old mother’s credit card was stolen and $25,000 of merchandise was charged. Now my mother wanted to change her will and the bank says we owe this money. What can we do to resolve this issue?

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To make a long story shorter, she tried to clear this up with Chase directly to no avail. Chase sent the account to collections and they would call day and night, harrassing her and threatening her with a lawsuit which they did. There was a default judgment issued against both of us because my name was on the card as an authorized user. All of our bank accounts were closed including my husband and my checking account where his paycheck was being direct deposited. The only thing they couldn't take was my Mother's SS check and her house which is where we all live. Because of this my mother's health went downhill and I went into a deep depression. Six months after that my Husband lost his job. I'm still my Mother's caregiver and my Husband has a job. My Mother wanted to change her Will and the house to my name. And guess what? We got a letter from the Lawyers that brought the judgment against us and said we now owe over $32,090 and there is a lien on the house. Is there ANYTHING that we can do legally to somehow resolve this horrible situation?

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Yes, you need an attorney. This is awful. The law student idea may work, or else you can contact your State Bar Association and see is there's an attorney who will take on your case pro bono (without cost). Explore your options through your state legal system because you really need help.
Good luck,
You need to bite the bullet and get yourself a lawyer. There are law schools in our state that will take on cases for free with students that don't quite have their license yet. Just like dentist schools will do work for a fraction of the normal cost but they are supervised by professionals. Check it out.
That is a terrible thing to go through. it is true there are Attorneys that take on pro bono cases. I hope when the card was stolen you have all the necessary paper work and write everything down, of what happen. It helps you when you sit down with a lawyer, we sometimes forget to some the correct things, of how much we have been through due to someone else . I found out about lien's when a nursing home placed one on my moms house. I found out and the lawyers did not kknow until the closing day. myself. Elder law care may also be able to get you help.
OMG. Why wasn't this matter handled properly five years ago???
You did report the incident as "Stolen" fraudulent, didn't you?
You are not responsible for debt that is fraudently applied to a credit card. Chase knows this. You must seek counsel.
My father, with Alzheimer's, had run up his credit card account with interest over 5 year period to $25,000. He also had given all the rest of his money to the scammers (Nigeria and Caribbean and many others) and finally his checking account "pulled the plug" when his monthly over-draft fees were $2300.00/month (just fees!). This is when I became aware of the situation. We did have to make restitution to the credit card account; I guess I was grateful that at least they listened and only made us pay back half of the amount due (about $15,000.00) rather than the full $25,000. But, to get the "deal", we had to pay it back in three monthly installments. I had to use my savings for the first installment, and by then had gotten the other two payments from his reverse mortgage. Banks are banks; they are not forgiving all the way .....

Good luck with your situation!
As everyone has said, You Must Get an Attorney. This is a very bad commentary on how abusive the banks can be today. It may cost you some money to get this settled. However, you stand to lose much more if you don't. Courts take a very dim view of banks bullying the public in this manner.
Good Luck and Best Wishes
I don't quite understand. You say there was a "default judgement issued". I assume you went through some type of court proceeding at that time. Did you not have legal representation then? If you did, what were they doing, twiddling their thumbs? What was the $25,000 spent on? Was it spent in a place where video is taken of the shopper? Did a sales person identify one of you as the purchaser? Was it done online, and if so, what did the seller do to make sure the buyer was who they said they were? Did anyone ever prove you have anything that was purchased in your posession? I have never heard of anyone who was not eventually able to clear themselves of something like this, although it is a really big, time-consuming hassle. This kind of thing happens all the time, and they have standard procedures the victims follow to straighten it out. I don't get it!
As others have said, you need an attorney.

Whatever you do, everybody - you, DH, mom, anyone who lives at that address -
needs to have their own bank account. NO commingling of funds. Mom's SS is sacred and can't be touched as long as it is ONLY SS money (or any federal or RR retirement). Your $ can be attached as you were a co-owner on the CC account & you didn't prove to the court that wasn't the case at the hearing in which there was a default judgement. You want to make sure you keep the balance low. If that means every month getting a prepaid VISA or traveler's checks then do so.

Your DH could get a lein on his $$ if you are in a community property state. So the same for his $ as with yours.

About the house with a lien. Alot of this depends on how gutsy you are in waiting this out. 2 ways to approach: clear the lein now OR wait till she dies.

If you want to clear it now, you could then negotiate on the lein amount. If the house is crappy and not worth much let them know that and negotiate down. This you can work hard because the collection agency doesn't want the property, they are all about hard $.

Or wait until she dies and her estate goes to probate and to sell/transfer the house you need to have a clear title.(You have to have the judgement released to get the clear title). You do want to pay taxes & have insurance. Taxes are very important as the county assessor will sell a property that is delinquent with or without leins.

Now say mom passes in 5 years, house is still in her name and you are still living there. You can take just about forever to do probate and settle her estate which means clearing the lein and getting a clean title. So you could drag this out to forever. Now the probate judge may be one of those that require anyone making a claim to the estate to be present at the hearing. If their not there, then their claim is moot. So you could hope to have that happen. But that's not always the case.

Once it goes to probate you could then negotiate on the lein amount. Again,if the house is crappy and not worth much let them know that and negotiate down. This you can work hard because the collection agency doesn't want the property, they are all about hard $.

If the house isn't worth much - the collection agency or lein holder will know what it is based on the tax rolls -then you can say give me a figure. And work down from there. Real attorney's have to evaluate the whatever's of the probate hearing, prepare the lein release, etc.. The collection agencies don't want that as that costs them. They just want you to write them a check. Say the property is 100K on the tax rolls, but real estate agent says $ 88K based on comps. Then you should be able to negotiate to 10% - 20% of the value of the home to release the lien (whatever the amount is if there are no other real assets in probate), giving them somewhere between 8- 20K. Which can be a good deal to live somewhere for free for years. But you've got to ride it out if you take this approach.

Because of the default judgement, $$ is going to have to get paid. Whether it's paying an attorney now to clear this or paying off in probate.

If you lived in TX or FL, the CC companies can't put a lein on a homestead!

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