Mom (82) has dementia getting sued from creditor from 10 years ago that she doesn't even remember. What can I do? -

Mom (82) has dementia getting sued from creditor from 10 years ago that she doesn't even remember. What can I do?


Today they came to my mom apt to hand deliver court papers. My mom is 82 she has severe dementia I just started to handle her stuff and paying her bills none of us knew she had this so-call debt from about 10 years ago we gotta go to court in August my mom says she don't remember taking a mom is on Medicare. She don't even have 2 penny's to rub together. What can i do? We don't know nothing that went on 10 years ago.

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Judy215, if in fact this loan is legit, wonder if your Mom might had co-signed 10 years ago for a relative or a friend? Co-signed on a credit card.... co-signed on a car [yet a car would be reposed if not paid].... co-signed for a relative/friend to rent an apartment.... co-signed on a bank loan.... co-signed on a student loan for a child or grandchild.... etc.
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Send, interesting comment to verify the legitimacy of the lawsuit.

Judy, you could also do that by calling the clerk's office of the court in which the pleadings were filed. The Summons and Complaint should both have wording to the effect of "State of Michigan", "County of __________ ", or "District Court for the ___ Division", centered on the Summons and first page of the Complaint.

To the right should be the Case no., and below that the name of the judge to which the case is assigned. To the left would be the name of the creditor, as Plaintiff, and your mother's name as Defendant.

You can verify all that with the Clerk, especially the case number, Plaintiff, Defendant and assigned Judge.

Good suggestion, Send. I never even thought of that. Your insight makes me wonder if this would be yet another variation in the way scumbags scam people - frightening them with a fake lawsuit.
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Take the papers she received to the courthouse listed to confirm they are real and not a scam.

Do not confirm the debt.

Find any paperwork indicating when and if she had made payments towards the debt.

Report to police the possibility of identity theft.
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Another thought...if your mother's dementia has been diagnosed by physicians, she may be able to use that to challenge the validity of being sued. I don't recall the specifics right now and would have to do some research, but I believe that people with dementia (or mental illness and similar mental compromises) have some protection from being sued.

If you have trouble finding an attorney or have difficulty with paying for one, contact your community's senior center and ask if they have weekly or biweekly free legal counseling. If they don't, contact other senior centers in the area.

You might be able to get some advice for free through these limited counseling centers.

Also call your state's government offices and find out if they have elder law services for income qualified elderly. They may not provide services for defense of a suit, but they might provide a one time free consultation. (Michigan has this)
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Judy, there are a few things you can do:

1. Your mother should have been served with a Summons and Complaint, assuming this is a lawsuit and not judgment or attachment orders. If it is a suit, read the Summons; your mother has a limited amount of time in which to file an answer, which should be done by an attorney. I'm not sure what the August court date is; what kind of hearing is it?

2. The suit should specify details of the original debt, dates of incurrence, sale to a debt collector, etc. This should give you more information to figure out whether or not the debt is legitimate, but you will need to get backup information from your mother's files.

3. If you retain an attorney, which you absolutely should, ask the attorney what the statute of limitations is on debt collection in your state.

4. The attorney can initiate discovery to get copies of data relating to the debt, but the facts and details of the debt should be in the Complaint.

5. Order a credit report for your mother; if you do it by phone you can enter the data on your mother's behalf. Check to see if anything in the report relates to the alleged debt.

6. Talk with the attorney about your mother's financial status. What assets, if any, does she has? If she's living in an apartment I assume she doesn't have a house.

Does she have any financial assets? Stocks, bonds, CDs, annuities, etc.? A judgment creditor can attach these financial assets (after a judgment is entered).

However, she may in fact be judgment proof, in which case the plaintiff (creditor) may get a judgment entered but will have no way to collect. An attorney who represents your mother can move for dismissal based on the fact that your mother is judgment proof.
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Thank you!
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One would think that the statute of limitations would have run out on a debt from 10 years ago. I even wonder if this so-called debt is even legit. If your area has a Legal Aid division, contact them for advice as they work for free.
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