Cosigning a loan with anybody is a big decision, one you cannot get out from so easily. Some people may not be able to qualify for a loan or credit on their own, the only condition might be to get a cosigner with good standing. In a cosigned loan, the cosigner will be held responsible for any default. You might even be responsible for paying back the loan, should the person die. I’m sure you went through the terms and conditions very well before cosigning. So, the question now is, Is there a way out of a cosigned loan?
As a general rule, the bank won’t remove your name from a cosigned debt unless the other person has demonstrated they can handle the loan on their own.
Removing Your Name From a Cosigned Loan
There may be a way out if the person you cosigned the loan with is still alive and have attained a better financial standing. You can consider any of these options if you need to remove your name from a cosigned loan.
Get a cosigner release. Some loans have a program that will release a cosigner’s obligation after a certain number of consecutive on-time payments have been made. Two years of on-time payments seem to be the norm. Read through your loan documents to see if there’s any type of program associated with your loan. Or, call the lender and ask if something like this applies to your loan.
Refinance or consolidate. Another option is to have the other borrower refinance the loan into their name. To qualify for a refinance, the borrower needs to have a good credit history and enough income to make the new loan’s monthly payments. Consolidation is common with student loans. If the borrower qualifies, they can use the consolidation loan to pay off the loan you cosigned. The original cosigned loan would still be listed on your credit report, but it should indicate the account is closed and paid in full. Payments – and non-payments – on the consolidation loan won’t affect you if your name is not listed on the loan.
Sell the asset and pay off the loan. If you co-signed on a home or car loan and the other person isn’t making the payments as necessary, you may be able to sell the asset (the car or the house) and use the money to pay off the loan. Your name must be on the title to sell the property to someone else.
Remove Your Name from a Credit Card. The credit card issuer may willingly remove your name from the credit card if there’s no balance on the card. However, if there is a balance, you’ll have to pay it off before you can make these types of changes to the account.
Transfer the balance. The other borrower may be able to transfer the balance to a credit card that’s in their name only. Once the balance is transferred, close the credit card so future charges can’t be made to the account. To keep future charges from being made, you can ask the credit card issuer to add a comment in their system indicating that the credit card account should not be reopened.
Pay off the balance yourself. Paying off the balance yourself is better than ruining your credit rating and having debt collectors pursue you. It’s what you signed for anyway. You can even close the account or have the credit card issuer freeze the credit limit so no future charges can be made to the card, especially while you’re trying to get rid of the balance.
Removing Your Name From a Forged Loan
Cosigning a loan is normally done with your consent but in a situation where someone forges your signature on a loan, it puts you in a tough spot. You have the option to report the action to legal authorities so the person will be arrested. You can decide not to follow that route if the person involved is a loved one you don’t want to see arrested. In this case, you can still follow the steps listed above to remove your name from the cosigned loan.
Have the person refinance or consolidate the loan or transfer the balance if it’s a credit card. You can also make an arrangement with that person to have them pay off the loan within a certain amount of time, sooner rather than later. You might have the forger sign an affidavit admitting to the forgery just in case they don’t pay off the loan and later try to claim that you did cosign.