Act quickly to avert foreclosure threat
Question: We refinanced a home to get a lower rate and some needed cash, but the mortgage was resold several times and payments were not forwarded. The current mortgage company is now threatening foreclosure -- even though there is proof of payment -- but they will not even give an amount supposedly owed so we can send it and get the mess straightened out later. They seem to want to force a foreclosure so they can get the property. What recourse do we have? Can they really force us out within a month?
Answer: According to Ryker Wada, Legal Aid consumer attorney, you should immediately contact the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Regulated Industries Complaint Office at 586-2653. You can also file a complaint at www.hawaii.gov/dcca/areas/rico/forms. Depending on the type of mortgage and how far along in the default/foreclosure process it is, there is a possibility that the property can be foreclosed on quickly.
Q: Social Security sent me a letter saying I need a representative payee. What is that and how do I get one?
A: From Stacia Silva, Legal Aid managing attorney: If someone is legally incompetent or physically or mentally unable to manage his/her money, then SSA will require a representative payee. Most children under 18 are also required to have representative payees. When deciding if someone needs one, SSA will consider court determinations, medical evidence and statements of relatives, friends, etc., who know the recipient. The representative payee will receive the Social Security benefits and use them for the recipient's current and future needs. The payee can be a family member, friend, legal guardian, lawyer or social service agency. Your payee should be someone who sees you often and knows your needs. When choosing a payee, SSA considers: 1) the person's relationship to you; 2) the amount of interest they show in you; 3) any legal authority they have to act on your behalf; and 4) whether they are in a position to look after your needs. If there is someone who you want as a payee, SSA will consider your request.
Legal Aid Society of Hawaii operates statewide. Practice areas include housing, public benefits, consumer and family law but not criminal law. For information, call 536-4302. Submit questions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by U.S. mail to Legal Aid Q&A, 924 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813.