Dear Annie: My wife and I are in our mid-70s, are retired and have been living in our lovely home for 10 years. In 2011, because of the loss of our incomes, we took out a reverse mortgage. The lender has lost its Better Business Bureau accreditation and employs unscrupulous thieves who have stolen homes from countless other unsuspecting seniors. There are numerous complaints against the lender. It paid our property taxes for two years before we had a chance to pay them, so we owe $5,000 for that. It promised to roll the $5,000 into the principal amount of the reverse mortgage.
The lender took us to court in 2016 to foreclose on our home. Our attorney was very knowledgeable about our type of case, and the judge vacated the foreclosure. But the lender is at it again, and this time we cannot afford to defend ourselves. Last year, we filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and succeeded. The bankruptcy was granted six months ago. We have only enough funds to go from month to month for necessities and have been rebuilding our credit slowly. I am working part time to help with some of our necessary expenses, such as medical copays.
Is there any way we could find a pro bono attorney in the state of Florida to fight these crooks? Could you help us with this dilemma? — JLRL In Florida
Dear JLRL: For Florida residents who are 60 or older and dealing with civil legal problems, the Senior Legal Helpline (888-895-7873) provides free advice by telephone appointment. The people there should be able to tell you what pro bono options might be available to you.
Dear Annie: About the recent note from "I Am No. 1 Again," which concerned the ninth step of Alcoholics Anonymous (making amends):
In 1987, my brother joined AA and religiously went to meetings (he still does) and followed the 12-step program. When he got to the ninth step, he personally apologized to me for having had a many-months-long affair with my wife. He then told me how much better he felt after having apologized to me for this, even though I had no idea whatsoever of this affair and felt devastated and eventually got divorced the following year.
I would have felt a lot better not ever knowing about this, but he fulfilled his mission and is satisfied.
Maybe AA should stipulate that nobody apologize for something that the person he wronged has no knowledge of. — No Name, Please
Dear No Name: The ninth step does include the sort of stipulation you're talking about. It reads: "(Make) direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." Your brother missed the point if he thought it was all about selfishly unloading his guilt.
If you've never tried Al-Anon, consider attending a meeting. It might help unpack some of the baggage that you're most likely still carrying from having a loved one with alcoholism.
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