Am I doing the right thing?


Hello, I have quite the situation here:

My father is 84, currently living in CA. No Assets, no savings, only $2200/mo SS. He is married but he and the wicked witch of the northeast are not in contact and haven't been in over 7 years.

He has been living in the house of his cousin, who passed away in Jan 2016, as my father was the executor of the estate and is one of the named beneficiaries (~20%) but the other 4 beneficiaries have forced the sale of the house that he has been living in rent free (go figure) since my father moved to CA in Jan 2016. So there's some expectation of money but there's yet another wrinkle.

See a long time ago, my father had a failed investment in commercial real estate and the construction loan never was closed out and eventually he declared bankruptcy and the outstanding balance was 'forgiven', but sadly was not forgiven as part of the bankruptcy proceedings and now that is treated as income by the IRS. So my father has a $400k+ lien from the IRS against him for back taxes on the forgiven loan amount and State is also trying to get $130k for the same reason. He has been trying to get the IRS to expunge that debt due to insolvency but so far, it hasn't happened.

So now, he has no money in the bank but may (who knows based upon the tax situation) receive approximately $70k from the estate and no place to live in CA.

So I'm currently out here getting him ready to vacate the house and the only option for a place to live is to move him in with me in Maryland. Oh, yeah, my situation is also a dumpster fire as I'm currently going thru a divorce.

I love my father and I do not want to see him homeless so this appears to be the only way.

He has some health challenges but is there mentally and has decent mobility but not great due to issues with a hip replacement.

My current house does not have any bedrooms on the ground floor and no way to put one if there was money to do a renovation.

It's just me in the house as my daughter is in her 2nd year of college.

Am I biting off way more than I can chew?

The more I get into this process, the more I'm filled with fear and doubt but I don't see any other option. SSI isn't feasible because he's still married, the estate money is suspect due to the marriage and tax situation, gifting any of the money to me is suspect due to my divorce situation and there aren't any other family members as my sister passed away several years ago.

Filled with doubt

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing


Never received a notice of responses before this. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts. This has been a tough road but I'm moving him in this week but the goal here is short term as I need to get him settled close by and then start looking at options. Getting any response from Elder Services/ Senior Services in CA or MD has been nothing short of frustrating. Also interesting how many thought that I am female which is not the case (even tho I hate power tools and will ask for directions 😋 )

If there is a lean against your father he may not be able to keep anything he gets from the house.

He can't get SSI if he has income, which he does. In my area each town has senior appts managed by HUD. They charge rent on scale. Here its 30percent of income total. So he would pay $660 a month. Heat included. Some have set amt for electric and basic cable is free. If not can get help based on income. Food stamps maybe. The IRS may as well forget the lean. At 84 your Dad can't work to pay it off. And you r not responsible.

Try to locate an Adult Foster Care home in his area. My mom has about as much income as your dad - so I know these places can be found - my mom is in one now that's reasonable. She's safe, clean and meals and med management are included. It's under $1000 a month. They do the laundry as well, change the peed on sheets and encourage her to pick up her room, etc. She's still adjusting to the change, but AFC can be more affordable, it's a smaller setting with fewer residents than Assisted Living or Nursing Homes. I wish I'd gotten her into one of these years ago - when I though the only option was AL - it wasn't. But everyone (A place for mom, website) Social Workers at hospital, etc. - steered me toward AL...It wasn't a good fit for mom who thought everyone was having an affair - and she was on her own for a lot of things - meals (she didn't like the dining room); laundry (she didn't like their soap); med management - she was able to sort out her medications...but hated it generally.

I'm hoping this arrangement works for her and if you look into it, perhaps you can find a good fit for dad...somewhere that has other individuals who are in the same boat perhaps. Best of luck to you!

The father and his wife are still married? But separated?
Your Dad still is financially obligated and intertwined with his spouse, she may even be his POA or something. She may be handling the marital income.

Stay out of that hot mess.

Dear w8lifter,

I know its hard. Its only natural you would want to help your dad. He is your dad after all, but at the same time there is so much on your plate. We women always want to be the superheroes and do it all, but sometimes we can't. We have to look out for number one if possible. I would have your dad talk to a social worker or elder law attorney and make sure he has all his options. There are resources in the community and through church, so hopefully he will be able to get the help he needs. In the end, you have to do what you feel is right, but just make sure you get all the information first.

Do NOT move him in with you.

Does he have a lawyer? That's what he needs right now. Legal advice on IRS, divorce, housing assistance, probate.

Can you identify low income senior housing in your county? that would be accessible AND rent would be a percentage of HIS income. Is his wife in the picture or are they getting divorced?

Great suggestions above. You can't be responsible for his bad choices.
Call SS in his area to get them involved. He made his choices. He can't "bob and weave" himself out of this. Time to pay the piper.
Help him, yes, but don't let him move in. You don't need the extra stress.

You're going through divorce. That's plenty to be going on with.
Your daughter is in her second year at college. That's a) quite expensive enough, and b) puts her at the stage where although she's nearly independent she's not quite and she still needs you as a functioning parent.
Your dad, Lord love him and bless him, is a train wreck in a whole different league from anything you already have to deal with.

You can love him dearly, you can care about him, you can help him assess his options and be there in his corner; but his problems are not your doing and not your responsibility.

I can always feel a quizzical expression coming over my face when I read of people (usually men, not always) who seem to be beset and persecuted by misfortune, malice and bureaucratic disapprobation. Wicked stepmother, seven year separation and no divorce. Cousin's estate not sorted despite his having been executor, with beneficiaries on his tail. Bankruptcy and liabilities unresolved. Yes, quite the situation. Actually - quite a number of quite the situations, over what must have been quite a number of decades. And the one factor they have in common? Daddy Dearest.

Seriously. Do not invite him over your threshold.

Where does he belong? Where was he before he moved to CA, for example? Is anywhere "home" for him?

I know he's 84. I know you love him. I expect lots of people have loved him. But you want to go on loving him - you don't want to add yourself to the (long?) list of people who have loved and trusted him until they broke. I am glad you have already come to your own conclusion that his diverting his legacy via you to avoid losing it is a non-starter as a plan. The fact that he put the idea on the table at all is not a good sign. Still hunting loopholes, hm?

Get on to social services and get information from them about resources he can access. He needs his whole life sorted out, professionally, and it is beyond the skills of even the most dedicated daughter.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.