Saving to buy your first home is a daunting task. Finances are complicated and volatile; people sometimes get dirty to make it work. How much should I put down, what is affordable, and what's a reasonable interest rate are all questions new buyers will ask themselves.
My husband (m30) and I (f27) are preparing to buy our first home. We both work full time, making above minimum wage, but not enough that either of us can get a home with our single income.
Yesterday, in a conversation with the bank, we were informed that there are four collection accounts in my husband's name, all going back to 2018: power, internet, and two credit cards. After a few hours, we could link each of these accounts to his father's previous address. The bill is just shy of $6,000.
After multiple conversations, we have realized the only way to clear this debt from causing issues to his credit rating is to file a police report for fraud.
His father died suddenly last September, and my husband doesn't want to tarnish his father's name and is afraid his family will look down on him for doing this. He is unsure how this will look if it gets out.
I look at it; differently. We took a massive hit paying for the funeral (FIL had no money or life insurance). I know it's his dad, but we will be years recovering from the implications of this.
None of the recovery agencies are willing to give us a bill paid in full, and even if we do pay this debt, we will lose the down payment we have busted our behinds to rise again over the past seven months.
We aren't even close to having the buying power we had last September because we only saved about half of our original down payment. So, AITA for asking him to make the police report. It's not ideal, but how much more can I let his father's poor financial decision impact our future, especially now that he's gone?
OP added some extra context:
As some of you might have gathered, my husband has heritage reasons for trying to honor his father, even in death. He is also a Jr. He is an only child and was raised only by his mother. His father did not sign his birth certificate but was a large part of his life. His father's estate is gone to probate court to be settled.
Because of his accent and dislike for confrontation, my husband had me speak to everyone yesterday. Collection agencies did not have our address or his phone number, which is why we have not even hounded. Everyone I spoke to has told me they have had no success reaching him since they acquired the debt. So no, he wasn't hiding something. He didn't know.
We have had complications with the credit bureau for the last three years trying to access my husband's credit report. We have had to go to the police station, show several pieces of ID, and send letters to confirm his identity.
It took the banks to get us to do everything again to resolve the issue. Initially, we thought it was because there was no activity on his credit report. We know that at least one account used his father's SSN with my husband's DOB, creating issues.
Finally, for those who want to know the price of my bad feelings, I paid 18,000 out of pocket to ensure this man wasn't buried in a cardboard box. I loved my FIL, and he told us about his financial struggles. We would have helped him.
This isn't even about the money. Yesterday, I asked every agency if they would just put paid in full next to the bill, and I would pay it off. I'll save the money again. They wouldn't take the collections off his credit score.
It's not six months worth saving that I'm concerned about. It's 3-5 years that that record can stick to his account, stopping us from purchasing anytime soon. Finally, my husband needed a minute, but he called me today at lunch and said he has to do what is right for our future. He is going forward with the fraud report this evening.
The internet has some thoughts:
NTA (Not the A**hole). The person who committed fraud and has made your lives very difficult? Do they want to pay off the debts even if they find out about it?
NTA. He tarnished his reputation by committing identity theft and fraud. You're living and need your credit cleared. The dead guy doesn't care anymore. Don't bother telling the family. They likely will never even know about it unless you tell them.
NTA. The man in question is dead—nothing there to tarnish. You shouldn't be required at the expense of your finances to sweep their bad choices under the rug.
OP, in the famous words of Trevor Noah, 'be nicer to everyone when they're alive and then talk sh*t when they're dead.'