My Elderly Father-In-Law is Screaming at Us for Money


Dear Steve,

Father in-law needed help getting his house fixed(roof,plumbing and furnace). He asked my husband and I to take out a personal loan and fix his house and for us to pay the personal loan. We told him we were unable to do that due to a personal loan and our auto loan we already had.

My father in-law received a settlement from a company he worked for and was hurt while working. This company set strict guidelines on how he used this money. They said it was to only be used for medical purposes related to his injury on the job. So he was unable to just pull cash out of this and use it to pay for the repairs to his house.

He decided to do a “Share Pledge” loan because it would still look like the money was in his account on the reports. He asked if he did this if my husband and I would pay for this loan. We again told him no, we have kids and a house to pay for as well as our other loans. He offered to pay off our car and our signature loan with this as well as the repairs on his house if we helped him pay this new loan.

After a month or so of him begging us to do this we (reluctantly) agreed. He got the loan in only his name against his own money and paid off what was left on our car and our signature loan. We then started making his loan payments for him ($450/month) He and my husband got in an argument over something silly and now my father in-law has tried filing elderly abuse charges against my husband, which we have NOTHING to do with his finances and they agreed we didn’t do anything wrong.

Now he is saying he wants all the money left from the loan NOW (he spent the other $20k he wasn’t supposed to touch and now he is broke.) He has never helped us nor been part of my husbands life until the last year and I honestly believe that he was only paying our loan off because it was his only option to get his house fixed.

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My question here is now that my father in-law is saying he is going to sue us, do we have any responsibility for this loan?

We are not on the loan or the account at all but he did use part of it to pay off our auto/signature loan. We have still continued to pay this loan for him even after all of these threats.

He is still continuing to harass us about it. If I decide to stop paying this loan can anything come back on us? We don’t have enough DTI range right now to take out the amount that would take care of our part. ( I accepted a better job with less pay) I feel bad because I know part of it was to pay off our debt but now he is coming into my work and causing a scene and saying he is going to sue us.

He has been placed in an assisted living facility due to his health and behavior because he has taken a turn for the worst in regards to his mental health in the last month. Thank you.



Dear Rachel,

I think you should go to a lawyer who is licensed in your state and get a legal opinion before you do anything.

The concern is that because he is elderly and requiring assisted care you might be thought to be guilty before innocent even though you have done nothing wrong.

If you father-in-law is dealing with mental health issues then he may be even more likely to understand exactly what is going on here with his loan. Who knows what his recollection is and it does not seem there is an written agreement between the two of you.

The price of getting help for a local attorney will be insignificant compared to the mess this could turn into.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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