What course of action is available when an older relative has been scammed of their property?

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What course of action is available when an older relative has been scammed of their property?

Another relative intervened and caused a real estate contract to be cancelled by my mother. The executed contract was for the selling of 50 acres with home, including full payment of 85%. He then talked her into entering into a lease to buy agreement with a third party. I am not being informed of the full details but less than 10% was required for a down payment. Separate of that agreement but in conjunction with it the relative will be living rent free on the property until the lease agreement is fullfilled.

Asked on January 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, you have to bear in mind that the law does NOT protect people from making bad, even disasterously bad, decisions. Therefore, the fact that this may be a bad deal for your mother doesn't make it illegal. You could potentially take action if any of the following occured, but not otherwise:

1) The relative or other parties made material misrepresentations--major lies--to your mother, to get her to enter into the transaction; however, if they disclosed the terms, even if the terms are bad, that would not apply.

2) The relative or other parties forged her signature, stole her id, accessed credit cards or accounts without permission, or otherwise did something inherently illegal.

3) Your mother is not mentally compentent to enter into transactions like this, though to pursue this route, you'd have to have her adjuged incompetent.

If you think one or more of these things may apply, you should consult with an attorney about the situation and your options.


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