Let the record show: You have financial rights!

There was an interesting story on Bloomberg.com about a man living in Boca Raton, Florida who has had a bank unsuccessfully trying to foreclose on his home for 8 years! Joe Lentz hasn’t denied not paying his mortgage since 2002. All he did was request that the promissory note be provided to the Florida court that was conducting the foreclosure proceedings. Lentz wants the bank to prove that what they say he owes is true by showing the document verifying the banks position.

Your word versus mine.
While this article is not about how to make it tougher for some banks to foreclose on your home this story does provide a great reminder about filing and protecting your important documents. Neither of the two banks involved in the Lentz case have been able to win a favorable outcome because the Florida court agreed they should have to provide the promissory note as proof of their claim. With no promissory note, it became the banks’ word against Joe Lentz’s word, thus a stalemate.

The lesson to get from this story is to protect your financial well being by being prepared to prove your rights and ownerships with records. Think about your own situation. What possibilities could arise where you would need to prove something?

When you need records.
Some common areas that often require proof would be warranties, identity issues, and credit reports. With warranties a receipt of purchase is often required as it lists dates, prices, and other factors required for meeting warranty requirements. One extreme example of needing to prove identity was the fallout in January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. There were children being kept from their adoptive parents of the inability to prove identities with proper documentation. Another example is your credit report. These are very important because you are the only person who can correct the mistakes that may be on your reports. When you do find mistakes you will most likely need the right paperwork to prove your claims.

It isn't always about winning. Sometimes it is about not losing!
Simply keeping organized, accurate, and thorough records about your financial and family matters will prepare you for many of the challenges that could come your way. Also be sure to protect such records from damage or theft. There are many incentives to keep good records, but one of the best, as the banks in the Lentz case have been learning, is preventing financial loss.


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