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As I've posted here, my 94 year old dad is currently in skilled nursing but will be moving soon to memory care. He still owns a house and 2 cars and I, as guardian and conservator, am responsible for keeping the house maintained, paying utilities, property taxes, yard maintenance and insurance. He has not lived there for 1-1/2 years. There are rats living in the back shed (I think my husband is on a mission to get rid of them. He has baited 3 times and they keep coming back). I was there this weekend and the back fence between his house and 2 neighbors has blown down so that's another thing to deal with. I have to have approval from the court to sell the house and he will receive a copy of the paperwork. The guardianship attorney has urged me to do this as the house is becoming a money pit. How do I tell him? He is going to come unhinged and he will insist on seeing it again but it is not wheelchair accessible. I'm not really sure how to approach this.

He will receive a copy of the paperwork. When he does, and he asks you questions about it, you answer his questions truthfully.

You are dreading this because you anticipate - and I can't put it better myself! - that he is going to come unhinged. He may, briefly. And that will make no difference either to the fact that the house must be sold and you have the legal authority to do it, or to the reality that the process will by then be under way.

It isn't quite the same situation, but I have just come from a family who dread similar things. They thought they couldn't get Dad vaccinated because they'd never get him to his GP. The wife had cancelled two CT scans because she couldn't get him to agree beforehand to the appointments and didn't know how she'd get him there if he refused to get in the car. This morning, she is fearful that her long, long overdue respite break won't happen because she can't explain it to him. Well - he has been vaccinated, he did attend the CT scan, and I am hopeful that by getting her to focus on the next goal - booking and implementing the respite plan - we can stop her from sabotaging this too.

Here is a useful mantra: "nothing is EVER as bad as you think it's going to be." What's key here is that you don't need your father's co-operation to sell the house, and you mustn't let your fear of his being upset about it stop you doing what you need to do in his best interests. Don't anticipate problems that won't make a material difference to anything. Eyes on the prize.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I have read this before where a guardian has to get permission to do certain things. I understand the logic in it, the state is protecting Dad, but just seems your hands are tied.

I had my Mom assign me POA thru a lawyer. I wanted all the Ts crossed and Is dotted. Mom gave me the ability to sell her house. So, I put it up for sale. I never told her I did it. I never took her back to it once she moved out and I definitely didn't show her pictures. It just gives them the impression they could go back. And their minds no longer can reason that they r where they are because its safer.

Most people who suffer from Dementia want to go home. My Aunt would tell a friend she would be home as soon as they let her out of this place. But the "home" she was talking about was where she grew up. You just have to make up little white lies. Its a shame the courts feel they need to keep a person suffering from Dementia informed. I mean, you received guardianship because Dad had a Dementia. Dad may get the letter and have no idea what it means. If he does, just be honest and say that he could no longer afford to keep it up. Yes, he may get upset but then he hopefully will forget. I would make sure I took the letter, once he read it, and not mention the house again. Eventually as the desease progresses, he will forget he had a home and except where he is.
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Isabelsdaughter Feb 26, 2021
Totally agree
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I went through this with my parents. As soon as they moved into assisted living I went to work getting the house ready to sell. It was a mess. I cleaned out personal belongings and hired a guy to haul several truckloads to the dump then sold it as is.

I had a perfunctory hearing with the guardianship judge and got permission.

I had already gone through guardianship Conservatorship process, mom and dad had been served legal paperwork during that process but didn’t understand or even ask me. They also got paperwork on the house sale but never brought it up with me. Dad had very little short term memory at this point but mom still functioned fairly well.

If they had confronted me I would have fibbed a bit (Or maybe a lot) as I had to do a lot of fibbing the last few years to take care of them.

I think we sometimes become a slave to our parents dementia, putting of what has to be done because we don’t want the hissy fits. But this is a case of doing what has to be done.
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If he is in Memory Care, there is no reason to tell him.

He's not in charge of his finances, if you are the guardian. Plus, if he is in Memory Care, he is not competent to take care of such things. There is a good chance he will forget what you told him, and still believe that he owns a home. Why upset that thought?

Have you changed his address for the post office? Perhaps change it to your home so that he doesn't need to receive court papers and become agitated. You can then deliver only "pleasant" mail.

The house must be sold to pay for his care. Simple as that.
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Babs75 Feb 24, 2021
His mail has been coming to my house for 1-1/2 years.
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When my father entered assisted living I sold his house. He didn't want to do it because he kept saying he was only trying out the assisted living situation and would come back home if he didn't like it. I wanted to assure that wasn't an option, plus one of the reasons for assisted living was that the house needed repairs and upkeep that I didn't want to take on. It wasn't easy but I just didn't dwell on the house sale. We discussed that it had to be sold, he got angry, I ignored him, we sold it. Now, he will ask me if the house has been sold, or he'll say "You sold the house, didn't you?" but it's not really an accusation anymore. Don't try to get him to understand or even agree since it's something that just has to be done. Be matter-of-fact in your presentation and discussion and don't allow any doubt to creep in. He won't like it but he'll eventually get over it. I wouldn't tell him any more than absolutely necessary. Unless he needs to sign paperwork, which since you are the guardian/conservator I doubt will be necessary, you can just let it come up in conversation and then move on from the topic.
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Reply to jkm999
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He will receive a copy of the paperwork. When he does, and he asks you questions about it, you answer his questions truthfully.

You are dreading this because you anticipate - and I can't put it better myself! - that he is going to come unhinged. He may, briefly. And that will make no difference either to the fact that the house must be sold and you have the legal authority to do it, or to the reality that the process will by then be under way.

It isn't quite the same situation, but I have just come from a family who dread similar things. They thought they couldn't get Dad vaccinated because they'd never get him to his GP. The wife had cancelled two CT scans because she couldn't get him to agree beforehand to the appointments and didn't know how she'd get him there if he refused to get in the car. This morning, she is fearful that her long, long overdue respite break won't happen because she can't explain it to him. Well - he has been vaccinated, he did attend the CT scan, and I am hopeful that by getting her to focus on the next goal - booking and implementing the respite plan - we can stop her from sabotaging this too.

Here is a useful mantra: "nothing is EVER as bad as you think it's going to be." What's key here is that you don't need your father's co-operation to sell the house, and you mustn't let your fear of his being upset about it stop you doing what you need to do in his best interests. Don't anticipate problems that won't make a material difference to anything. Eyes on the prize.
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jacobsonbob Feb 26, 2021
"nothing is EVER as bad as you think it's going to be." That's quite true. However, what often happens is that something entirely unexpected pops up that turns out to be worse than the thing one was dreading!! (But at least in the latter case, one is less likely to waste time worrying about it--or perhaps not even have the opportunity to do so--before it actually happens!)
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I never told my Mother anything that I thought would upset her. She forgot things soon enough anyway. It is your decision to make.
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Sell the house, do not involve Dad if at all possible. Do not attempt to bring him to it one more time.

Please do not use rat poison, where I live eagles and owls are being poisoned by eating dying and dead rats that were poisoned. If possible find a company that uses terriers to kill rats. They are remarkable effective.

But unless the shed is completely sealed up, rats will continue to get in. We have a family story. My Dad was living on the other side of the country, there was a mouse in my grandfather's shed. Grandpa wrote a letter telling Dad he had killed the mouse, the following week another letter arrived, telling Dad the mouse had been killed. Over the course of that summer my grandpa trapped over 100 mice.
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NYDaughterInLaw Feb 26, 2021
Great point about the horrible unintended consequences of using rat poison. If the shed needs to be torn down, so be it. Rats destroy everything and spread disease. No shed no rats.
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If he is moving to memory care, I suspect he is pretty far along with dementia and not mentally sound enough to be discussing financial decisions with you.  Nor does he need the stress of all of that.  I would sell the house and cars so that he has plenty of funds to support his care and there will be one less thing for you to manage.  Those assets are of no value to anyone while sitting there deteriorating and becoming over run with rats.  Should your father have a lucid moment and ask about his home, just reassure him that you are taking care of it for him and then change the subject.
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You are his guardian and conservator. You wrote that "he will receive a copy of the paperwork" and you also wrote that his mail comes to your house. How would he see the paperwork unless you showed it to him? As his guardian and conservator, you can sign the court papers and sale documents. I see no need to tell him anything. What good is going to come from telling him?
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Babs75 Feb 26, 2021
The attorney is required to send a copy of the letter to where he lives now which is skilled nursing.
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