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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.

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Would he understand it has to be sold to pay for his care - and it is better to sell now than when he needs higher cost care because being empty it runs the risk of squatters or people causing damage which you would hate as you have happy memories. It may be that he will be more willing and amenable to selling if he feels the house is going to suffer and it has been a happy place and should go to someone else it can make happy in case something negative happens, rather than just "it has to be sold". I don't know, we get used to making up these stories to get round difficult situations with our elderly - its always a case of finding the switch that works the solution.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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I think there's a slight misunderstanding here: the OP has no choice about whether or not her father is informed about the house sale. She as Guardian and Conservator has to apply to the court for permission to proceed, and her father will as a matter of course be sent copies of the documentation.

What he makes of that documentation is open to question: it's not impossible that he won't make head or tail of it and will never get round to asking about it; but if he does, the answers should be truthful. It will help that the specifics will be down on paper, because that will make it easier to keep to the factual points rather than the emotional background. This is what is going to happen, these are the arrangements, these are the justifications, this is what will be done with the proceeds. The imponderables and impracticalities won't get a look-in on the application. Stick to it like glue and it should be possible to keep a tight grip on the conversation - and not get dragged off into "you promised me" "that's my life" territory.

And even if Dad is still fully in possession of the facts and perfectly well able to understand the meaning of the documents, and therefore he does throw a wobbly, well. He hasn't lost his right to have an opinion about his life and his possessions. But that storm too will pass, and while it's passing the house will be sold.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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1. Your attorney is smart. Listen to him
2. There is NO point in keeping his house. It serves no one. You know that already. Plus it's just one more house you have to deal with.
3. There are many cleaners who can spiff up the house. Often real estate agents have their go-tos in that area. There are many house estate people who will do a 'garage' sale for you.
4. Just get rid of it. Don't fuss on the selling price --or the rats in the shed-- take whatever money you receive ---and walk away.
5. Now, about your father. Why does he need to add one more burden to his life? He's already shown signs of memory issues; the facility already knows this. Let the dear man live and die thinking about his house --and the many memories.
6. Taking your father for a drive-by is not good either. Find reasons why he can't visit---if he even wants to.
7. There is a reason that you are his guardian: to guard him in this difficult times and make good decisions on his behalf. You know what to do.
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Reply to Bethanycares
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There are things you must do and not tell him...
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Reply to DiamondAngel14
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If the vehicles haven't been driven in the whole 1.5 years, it might be best to donate them. Tax write off might be possible, but get some kind of appraisal first. Even just driving limited amounts can result in serious degradation - sitting for that long, you don't want the responsibility!

The only car I ever donated was damaged, undrivable, but at that time we could estimate the value. I took a reasonable Blue Book value and subtracted a good amount for the damages. They've since changed the rules, so it would be best to have an appraisal, if you want to try for a tax deduction (if they even allow those anymore!)

Selling the home:
Be sure to have copies and receipts for any work done. Repairs. Paint. Tools. Traps. Materials. These can help offset the cap gains.

"If you owned and lived in the place for two of the five years before the sale, then up to $250,000 of profit is tax-free." (Source: Turbotax)

IF the value/net from sale might more than that, there are ways to reduce gains. There's the original price paid. There can be other dates/values deducted if there are certain life changes (dad's death resulted in one.) You should be able to get the "assessed" values from the town for those years. These all add up to reduce the "gains." We could have eliminated all gains if we'd held onto it until she passed, but WHO needs that aggravation? As it was, the condo fees, RE taxes alone were sucking down about 14k/year, the heating system died and then all the glass was losing seals, so more $$$ out the window, literally and figuratively!!!

IF there were any substantial improvements and IF he/you have receipts, those might help as well (mom had hardwood laid to replace carpet - I was able to get that receipt, but couldn't do anything about the tile for kitchen and baths, plus the countertop. No clue who did the work or what it cost.)

One caveat: Whatever proceeds do come from the sale of the house could impact Medicare. They have a 2 year look back. Because mom's condo was a Life Estate, she only got a small portion from the sale (based on IRS rules), but it was enough to push her over the limit:

"If your MAGI for 2019 was less than or equal to the “higher-income” threshold — $88,000 for an individual taxpayer, $176,000 for a married couple filing jointly — you pay the “standard” Medicare Part B rate for 2021, which is $148.50 a month. At higher incomes, premiums rise, to a maximum of $504.90 a month if your MAGI exceeded $500,000 for an individual, $750,000 for a couple."

THIS was a surprise to me when it happened - it was 2 years after the sale, and only impacted that one year (confirmed when the 2021 rates were set, but sadly mom never got the reduced amount as she passed in December. Also note, even though SS is paid a month behind, they do NOT pay for the month of death, bastards! Equivalent to working a job that pays monthly, work any part of the month, but get denied the pay! You still have expenses too.)

Hopefully you have a competent tax person who can handle all this. If not, I highly recommend Enrolled Agents. They have to pass IRS test and stay up to date to maintain this status. I used one to do the trust taxes and then mom's as well, when we had to feed some of those funds into her care. Once she moved into MC (condo wasn't sold until 2 years later) she was no-tax status, as MC is fully deductible. This guy was very good and gave me all the pointers about the condo values, etc. Even though the bulk of the net went to us 3, we put it all back into the trust for her care, taking only what was needed to cover the cap gains we were assessed, which was a LOT less than if we hadn't had all these pointers!! He even estimated our cap gains, very close without doing our taxes! Cost was no more than going to the blockheads, who messed up mom's return BIG time years ago!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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For several reasons, I would recommend not bringing up the subject. 1) avoids upsetting/angering him, 2) he likely won't remember, so you'd have to go through this over and over and 3) your comment about his references to "home" indicates he may be in the process of forgetting this place.

Although you say the attorney is required to send a copy of the letter to where he lives, can you ask the facility to hold his mail? Since he is moving to MC next week, which place would get the letter? Would both be amenable to holding his mail for you? When my mother first moved to MC, the facility ordered medication (NOT NEEDED, she was delivered with a 3+ month supply!) through their usual place. I had requested before signing paperwork for the move that I be the one to get her medications, as she had a GREAT medical plan and it was MUCH less expensive. Long story to say the place sent the bill to mom (they didn't have my info) and mom went ballistic over it! From that point on, unless something was obviously a card or personal mail, they held ALL her mail and gave it to me. I did NOT ask them to do this, but they knew it was best not to go there!

So, the SS letter regarding my application for Rep Payee never went to her. They send these so the person has an opportunity to refuse it. By this point mom probably wouldn't even understand what it was! In your case, the attorney would fulfill his obligation! Nothing says dad has to get it (unless they send it needing some kind of signature - that would be stupid, given no one is allowed into facilities and he's living in one!)

For the first 9 months in MC, mom hounded YB any time he visited about going back to the condo. Magically, about that time, she forgot about the condo. I had no warning! First she asks if I can drop her off at her mother's on my way home. Ummm, say what? Her mother had been gone for about 40 years at that point! I managed to fluff my way past that for her to then ask if I had a key to their previous house. That had been sold at least 25 years prior to the discussion!

Clearly she had "stepped back" in time, which often happens with vascular dementia. Fluffed my way around that too! She didn't ask these questions again. Periodically she would ask about her mother, ponder what she might be doing for this holiday or that, often asked staff to call her mother (tagging that previous house to her mother too), but that was it.

So, when I finally had the place clear, clean and fixed, ready for sale, the EC attorney told me I could sign all other documents, including online, as POA, EXCEPT for the deed. It may be that her signature was required because it was a Life Estate, and it needed to be notarized. I was worried about this, as I didn't want to "jog her memory" of the condo. Turns out the notary only needed to witness her sign it, she didn't need to confirm mom knew what she was signing! Seems rather stupid when you think about that, but it served my need at the time. I passed it off as insurance paperwork, or something. She didn't really look at it or ask any questions.

Anyway, basically she was never told the condo was sold. There was no point - she might recall the place and get angry, but she wouldn't remember it later anyway. No harm, no foul.

If there's any way to avoid the discussion, esp if you can snag the mail, I wouldn't bring it up. Sure, honesty and being up front is a nice thing, but when dealing with dementia, there are better ways to be "nice" to our LOs!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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If you believe the sale might be fairly quick, then maybe no worries about the insurance, BUT, I *would* ask to speak to someone else at the insurance agency though. Vacation homes are usually unoccupied for shorter periods of time than your dad's place.

Mom's stuff was still in the place (took me about 1 3/4 years to get it clear, clean and repaired before we could sell it), and I was there several times/week for all that time, but I was told if no one is living there (unoccupied), we needed different insurance.

Vacant is when the house is empty with no one living there. BUT, unoccupied can also be uninsured, without you being aware. An agent (esp those who just answer the phones) may not be aware of all the rules. The underwriters of the policy make the rules, and it is likely a different company. Mom's condo was attached to another unit AND close to others. not really a concern for break ins, but unoccupied means no one is living there. It has nothing to do with "stuff" being there. My parents actually had a place in FL as well, so one or the other place was "unoccupied" for about 1/2 the year. 6 months is a lot different that 1 1/2 years, with more to go!

I would recommend having a more in-depth discussion with the agent. Don't know where you are located, but one good storm could result in some serious damage (look at TX!) You don't need to find out after the fact that the policy won't cover anything.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Does he really need to know? if he has dementia I wouldn't bother telling him. If he can't be taken out to go anywhere he won't need to go back to see it, which by the way is not good for people with dementia because once you take them back to "see the house" you might be in for a big hassle trying to get them back to the memory care place. Get the court approval, contact elder attorney and get things moving. when no one lives in a house, the house actually begins to "die" because there is nothing active going on inside it. Wishing you luck.
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Reply to wolflover451
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Imho, although he may come unhinged, proceeding with the sale is in the best of interests.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I know this doesn't really answer the question but really wanted to share this. I was blessed in a way with my mom. My dad had passed away several years and the big house was getting to be too much for her. Her brother had moved in and it just wasn't working out. Meanwhile my brother passed away. He was a minister and he and my sister in law lived in a house provided by the church. They told her she could stay for at least a year and more if she needed to. At the time I was married with a nice house of my own. Mom approached me with the idea of her signing her house over to my sister in law. Number one, it wasn't my house, it was my mother's and her's to do with as she wanted. Number two, my brother was the one who used all his vacation to come into to town and take care of all that needed doing to keep the house in good repair for my mom. We lived in Florida and my husband had no interest in helping take care of my mom's place. So in my mind if my mother wanted to gift her house to my sister in law I was pleased. It would get my mom to move into an apartment she could handle and give my sister in law a place to live. It worked out well. My sister in law, now living in the same town as my mom was able to keep an eye on her for me. I told my sister in law that the house wasn't a shrine (My father had built it) and to make it her own. After getting rid of the carpenter ants she did just that. She had a lot of work on her own (I've never seen a person work so hard) to bring it up to where it needed to be and it really looks great. She and my special needs niece have been very happy there, I get to see them and mom was in an apartment she loved. We were lucky.....
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Reply to whaleyf
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The skilled nursing facility told dad today that he is moving to memory care next week. He is sad but he doesn't need that level of care anymore at the very high cost that we pay. He has begged me and begged me for months to move him but now he has second thoughts. But we're going ahead anyway. The one thing he told her several times was that he was sad he was not included in the decision. (the reason I am his guardian is because he became unable to make his own decisions years ago). When I talk to him about it, I will explain to him that because of Covid, there are no personal visits. I haven't even seen him in person, except through a window a few times, for a year now. I have only been in the new facility once and that was just inside the door but I did get a video tour. By the time he is settled, we should have approval from the court for the house sale and then I will begin that process.
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Reply to Babs75
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cxmoody Feb 26, 2021
Thanks did the update. I am praying right now that all goes well with the move.
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you have reached the point where you need/have to sell. Your dad is 94. He doesn't need to know. He's had a good life let him remember it as it was
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Reply to Twithdogs
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Honestly, if you have power of attorney just go ahead and sell it. I had to do this with my mom as she was never gonna be able to go back to her own home again. I know it’s hard to tell them it’s hard for them to except that they’re losing their independence but you can just say that the doctors have decided it would be better that he not be alone
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Reply to Dlscroggins
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My mother was in her second assisted living facility by the time I discussed selling her mobile home. It had been a mess, as for years she did not want help cleaning it and was also a pretty good hoarder. It took me and my husband, both of whom were working, many, many months to clean it out and make it somewhat marketable. Finally, when it was clear she had become more comfortable in the ALF, I advised her (as POA and daughter!) that we could no longer keep the mobile home going. She asked me, didn't she have enough money to pay the lot rent, etc.? She thought that "someday" she would be able to return to her home. She didn't understand that all her money was going to ALF costs. In fact, by that time she qualified for and was on Medicaid. I quietly explained to Mom that it was I who was paying the lot rent, fees, home insurances, etc., as there was no money remaining each month from her Social Security and small pension. Once she heard that, she "got it." She really did not have an understanding of the real financial situation, even though I had explained some of it before. As soon as she heard that I was paying for all of that out of my own savings (plus buying her special things like certain food items and pads the ALF didn't provide), she agreed that selling it was a good idea. As it was, we had to sell it for basically the cost of one month's lot rent! What has to be, must be. It's hard when your parent is not happy about such a thing, but if "unhinged" it is, well...! That is not your fault and you cannot control his reaction. Just be loving in the whirlwind! I wish you good luck.
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Reply to bpositive3
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Just do it. Tell him that the lawyer or court made you do it. Then, don't mention it again.
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Reply to Taarna
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If he is never going to know, sell it and don't tell him. If the sale is inevitable and it will only upset him, don't tell him.
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Reply to Puma1953
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If you can sell his house without him knowing, it really will be better. Why upset him over something that he can’t change? He can’t go home and it can’t sit empty.

So don’t tell him and don’t show him any paperwork, if you can intercept it.
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Reply to BeckyT
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Aafter I moved my Mom physically from her house to mine, Her not knowing she would never go back again. We left all of her belongings except for her clothes at her house. This way she believed she was only coming for a visit. I spoke with her to allow me to be her power of attorney, She did. I am. As her Altzheimers became worse, I than sold her house Till this day, she still asks when she can go home. It's been 6 years now. I've learned to be quiet to the things that must be done for her own good. If she has a Dr appointment, I tell her were going out. If u have control to sell it, just do it and say nothing.
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Reply to waverun4
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Does your father accept that he will not be going back to live in that house? That he is soon to be moved to memory care suggests he is not entirely competent to conduct his own financial affairs. If he can contribute to the decision, maybe you can approach it by discussing with him how the value of his assets (the house, cars, etc) can be better used in providing for his care.

When we used to say we were "saving something for a rainy day," my husband would often say, "It is raining!" At a certain age and level of care needed, it is raining.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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Your dad has dementia and is in a facility. Why on earth would you tell him this? Do what you have to do. Don't discuss it and if it comes up, distract him or make up some line about seeing it later, etc. Sell it now - quietly. Do not upset the apple cart.
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Reply to Rusty2166
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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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Reply to Tothill
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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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We are in the process of selling my FIL’s house and car and he hasn’t asked about it so we don’t mention it. I don’t know if that is wrong or not. But it has to happen no matter what, and no need to stress him. His neurologist told us 4 years ago he must stop driving. He badly failed the “driving” assessment at her office.

Everything nostalgic to him is here, not that he is interested in any of it. He is when we bring it up, but will forget by the next day.

Anytime, his older home comes up, he is thinking his home he lived in ten years ago so...

I will say it is much easier to do all this now than after they pass. Having lost two parents and an in law, the stress of dealing with assets on top of grieving is very hard.
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Reply to Lilfarmer67
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People don't really think about this, but a house is a 'living, breathing entity' and if it's not occupied and cared for, begins to immediately go downhill. The yard becomes choked with weeds, a small water leak left unattended can cause thousands upon thousands of dollars to fix. Windows get broken, stuff goes 'missing'. Mice and rats get in.

Cars are the same way. We just barely talked MIL into selling her 1997 Taurus. It literally had only been driven to church, the beauty parlor and to the grocery store. Had a total of >60K miles on it.

MIL thought she would ask about $6K for it. She ended up GETTING $1K and was lucky to have that. Even not being driven and housed in a garage, the tires were rotted, some rust had ruined the heater box--we spent $1000 fixing it up to sell it for $1000. At least it's out of her mind and garage. If a lot more time had passed we would have sold it for scrap.

My mom talks about going back 'home' but she doesn't mean the big house that daddy built: she means the tiny postwar 1600 sf house that they brought 4 babies home to. No way can we take her back there -- she'd be so depressed.

Moving mom and dad from the 'big house' took us 3 years. It was horrible. They had made no plans for retirement, and so it was a mess.

I just hope I don't do this to my kids.
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Reply to Midkid58
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Babs75 Feb 26, 2021
Lol.. my dad has 2 cars. One of them is a 1998 pickup truck with less than 60,000 miles. Hasn't been driven for a few years and has a flat tire but always garaged. It would need a full going through plus tires and brakes. I'm not sure it would be worth it for what I could get for it. We may end up donating the vehicles. His are older cars and they are easier to work on than the new stuff so someone might want to get them both running properly.
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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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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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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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Some good resolutions to your problem on this site. Bring your Elder Care attorney into the situation. be up front with your Dad. Sice he appears not to be able to drive you could just start off with selling the cars. Then go to the house. Any household memorabilia could go into a small storage site. I lked the other idea of a photo album of cherished items. Tough decision but get it over with. Prayer always helps.
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Reply to Majinf1
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Babs75 Feb 26, 2021
Yes, we've already decided to get a mini storage for some of the personal stuff that we haven't decided what to do with yet. We did that with my mom (my parents are divorced) before she passed away and it made for a LOT LESS to go through after the fact.
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Boy, your situation brings back memories. I knew it was time to sell my mom’s home. She had been independent for years and she did not like my recommendations to help as she was declining. She would get agitated and defensive. It was emotionally draining! I dreaded the conversation. What I did, was pray! I ask God to prepare me to know when mom was ready to hear and understand my concerns for her safety. And honestly, God worked it ALL out. Trust Him, rely on Him and He will direct your path. Seriously, pray!
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Reply to PattiDK4
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You could also throw the attorney under the bus to deflect some of the anger. AND I wouldn't tell him until after it's a done deal. In the meantime put anything thing he might think is a treasure--family pictures, etc. in a safe place--and then proceed with the sale. Maybe you could make him a picture album of the house--with some pictures of happy times in the house over the years, maybe pictures when it was brand new, and now that it is older. When you tell him have the book ready and say "Dad, I have some news I need to tell you. The guardianship attorney strongly recommended that we go ahead and sell the house and cars. Since you haven't used them in a couple of years they were really starting to deteriorate. The house already had a lot of big maintance and repair issues before you moved out and they were only getting worse. He was concerned it might invite rats and other pests and then it would be totally worthless. We didn't want to see all your investment, hard work and care go to waste. So we decided to go ahead and sell it so another family could enjoy the the house and create memories there for the house to live on and bless others. Look here, I made you a picture book so that you will always have that to look at and remember all the great times we had there as a family. Shall we look together and you can tell me about it." That gives a positive spin on selling it, and gives him something concrete to look at
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Reply to DILKimba
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Hello. I had to sell moms home and rent another. Mom is a hoarder. One house was empty for four years due to much needed repairs. Mom’s in a Memory Care facility with Vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s .
She is always asking about her houses, how many she owns, and get the house ready for her to live in. Not ever happening.
i’m POA and Trustee. I cleared out one house, cleaned it and sold it. Money put into her trust account. The other house took 7 months to clear, repair, replace, paint and so much more! It’s now being rented and monies goes into her trust account.
When she asks, I say she has one house and being rented. She doesn't remember, so she asks repeatedly. One thing to remember, you can only use the Capitol Gain Exemption on the house he lived in the last two of the five years owned. So it is a financial consideration.
Hope this helps.
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Reply to Eaglet333
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Babs75 Feb 26, 2021
Yes, and thanks for reminding me about the capitol gains rule. He lived there until September of 2019.
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I have POA for my mom and after she went to memory care I sold her house and her car. I’ve never told her about this and she has never asked. She now has more funds to pay for her care and I do not have the burden of keeping up either of them. If he even understands the paperwork when he receives it, he’ll likely forget about it quickly.
If he insists on seeing it, I would just as directly insist that he cannot see it.
I retained the attorney who set up my mom’s POA for the home sale (I did the car sale on my own) and highly recommend that anyone going through the same process do the same.
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Reply to Doggomom
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Many good answers here . I also recommend speaking to your attorney (elder ) and get tax advice from his CPA. There are real estate agents that specialize in senior transactions. Both buying snd selling . My experience has been they typically are compassionate and knowledgeable about these type sales. Having a good SRES can help in some tough situations.
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Reply to Joyelanahan
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