Am I allowed to clean out my mother's house since it is in my name and she is in a nursing home, but has life use of it?


On Attorney's advice my mother signed her house over to me before entering nursing home. I am on disability so Attorney stated this would prevent the state from taking the house. She was given life use of house mainly for tax purposes. However she is now trying to file elder abuse charges against me saying it was illegal what we did and I stole her house and things because I am trying to clean out the house. It is a bit of a hoarder’s situation. Am I allowed to clean out my mother's house since it is in my name and she is in a nursing home but has life use of it? Should I be worried?

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Legally you say your mom has a life estate. I don’t suppose it says ....only if she is living in the house. I suppose if she wants to use the house as storage that’s perfectly legal as she has a life estate. But I’m not a lawyer. Just going by what you wrote. Do you live in the house now? I assume so. I can certainly understand you wanting your area clean and clutter free for your own health.

Who pays the property taxes and upkeep?

Even though I sympathize, It sounds hurtful to me what you are doing.
It’s very stressful to lose ones possessions in the now regardless of what might happen in the future.
Your mom is still alive and evidently very aware of what you are doing.

My wish for you is that you make peace with your mom and perhaps you can carefully store her belongings where they can be retrieved should she want them... some sort of compromise. Let us know how this works out because others have this very problem and might benefit from your story.
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Reply to 97yroldmom

Whose attorney? Yours, or your mother? Was the visit for the specific purpose of insuring your security in the house/home after your mother passes?
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Reply to GardenArtist

I thought the medicaid exemption was for an adult DEPENDENT child. Are you dependent on your mom?

The signing the house over before going on medicaid thing, I'm assuming your mom is on medicaid since you talked about preventing the state form taking it, seems funny. I'm not a lawyer but I think going with a transfer on death deed or setting up a trust is a better way to go. Isn't signing over the house considered a gift? Yes, there are exemptions to the medicaid gift rules such as the adult dependent child or adult caregiver exemptions. Does medicaid know the house was signed over?
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Reply to needtowashhair

I agree that you need to see a lawyer ASAP because people have a tendency to believe the elderly person who is accusing another person of elder abuse charges even if the person being charged has done everything in a legal manner (especially if that person is a child who helped put the adult in a LTC facility and is accused of "stealing" the elderly person's belongings and property). It is better to be prepared to prove that you are innocent then do nothing and be surprised a month or two down the road by being formally charged with elder abuse.

I would do nothing more to clean up the house. It might be helpful if you have proof of what the house looked like before you started cleaning such as photos and keep all receipts of items you sold or invoices for items you donated or threw away (if possible).

I have seen this happen before where an elderly person makes arrangements with their children (or heirs) regarding who gets the house and other stuff and then when the elderly person is admitted into the LTC facility/nursing home/assisted living facility, someone (don't know who) starts to ask routine questions about "What are you going to do with your house?" "What are you going to do with your furniture--now that you are in a nursing home?" AND THEN the elderly person starts to doubt themselves and their plans. "Did I do the right thing giving _________ to my daughter/son since all these other people at the nursing home are questioning me about my arrangements for the house &/or my belongings?" "Maybe my daughter/son are really stealing from me...How do I know what they are doing?" As a result of this doubting, the elderly person changes their mind about the previous arrangements and may contact a lawyer (with the help of someone else other than family).
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Reply to DeeAnna

Julmat, the way I remember "life use" is that the person who is entitled to life use has life use even if that person now resides in a nursing home. The "life use" doesn't go away until your Mom passes. Thus nothing can be removed from the home without Mom's permission.

I suggest you contact an "Elder Law Attorney" who specialized in everything regarding elders.
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Reply to freqflyer

Dear Julmat62,

I'm very sorry to hear what is happening. I would suggest talking to your attorney about this. I can imagine wanting to clean out the house due to a hoarding situation. But given the elder abuse charges it might be better to leave it well enough alone. I hope others can add more.
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Reply to cdnreader