Name Forged On Home's Deed
Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A
REM #LAW 650
By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin
Summary: A reader has learned that her husband
refinanced their home by forging her name on a quit claim deed. Sam and Ilyce
explain the responsibility of the mortgage broker and what recourse the woman
Q: When we bought our house, our loan was in my name and my husband’s
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Later, I experienced credit problems, and in order to refinance our loan and
take advantage of lower interest rates, the loan was put in my husband’s
name alone. However, I was still on the title to the home.
In November 2003, my husband refinanced to take cash out. I told him that my
approval was also needed because I am also on title. He said the mortgage broker
did not need my approval or signature because I was not on the loan.
However, I recently found a quit claim deed that this mortgage broker used
to remove me from title by forging my name in order to proceed with the loan
to my husband. After the loan was completed, my name was put back on title.
What legal actions am I entitled to take against this broker and is there a
time limit to pursue to legal action?
A: When people refinance their home, each person that is on the title to the
home must sign some of the documents prepared by the lender. If one individual
or another refuses to sign the papers, the lender will not allow the refinancing
to go forward.
You may have bigger problems than you think. Whoever signed the quit claim
deed to transfer title from you to your husband alone forged your signature.
If your husband forged your signature, you have a much bigger problem with your
husband than the lender.
If the mortgage broker forged the signature on the deed, he should be reported
to the state agency that regulates mortgage brokers in the state in which you
Unfortunately, it would seem that your husband must have known what was going
on. You may have to face the fact that he forged your signature and then signed
his own signature to the deed that transferred title back to you.
You seem to have learned quite a bit of information on how title to your home
was changed to take your name off title and then place your name back on title.
Given these facts, you are going to have to have some frank discussions with
The mortgage broker may have had the deeds prepared and may have thought that
you would sign the quitclaim deed. The mortgage broker may have thought that
you were in agreement with the concept of a cash-out refinance and was thought
he was merely “assisting” you and your husband in the refinancing
of the home.
The real question you must answer now is who forged your name.
You will need to do some investigating and determine if the mortgage broker
did it without your husband’s knowledge, with your husband’s knowledge
or whether your husband did it alone. If your husband did it and the mortgage
broker knew about the forgery, the mortgage broker should have never refinanced
The bad news is that there isn’t going to be a happy ending to your story,
but it will be worse if you determine your husband was involved.
If it turns out that your husband forged your signature, you’ll need
to decide what actions you must take to protect your interests in your home
and other assets in the future.
You may want to consult with an attorney that practices family law to help
you examine your legal options.
Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce
R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your
Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for
them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022
or contact them through Ilyce’s website www.thinkglink.com