Grandma’s real estate partner may be a fraud

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Q: Our grandmother is 90 years old and lives alone in her house. The property is free and clear of any mortgage, and is worth approximately $300,000. We believe Grandma is financially well-off. However, a recent credit report indicates that she has a partner in a mortgage that to our knowledge she never took. This secret partner has been an "advisor" to her for some years. When we asked about this, our grandmother adamantly refused to discuss this, but reaffirmed her trust in the advisor. Our family is concerned about this situation. When she dies, we suspect that there will be financial consequences and that the house -- and perhaps her entire estate -- will be tied up in lengthy and expensive litigation. What should we do? A: The house belongs to your grandmother, and how she decides to dispose of it during her lifetime or upon her death is her absolute right. It is not uncommon for elderly people to seek companions for comfort and safety, and want to gift a portion of ...