How to bring up the delicate topic leaving me the house in her will.

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Ok - I have been living with my 85 year old aunt for five years now. We get along, I have been helping her since she had her stroke and before that. A few months ago she asked me to see her attorney because she wanted to leave me the house, ( an old family home, long paid for.) I was touched, moved- it was so sweet. I met the attorney, discussed my life etc. and then - nothing. Now, I hear weekly " I can't leave you this house.." or " how are you going to pay for this house?" and more, about the house. I ran into the attorney, and asked and he said he can't discuss this. So, now I don't know. I wasn't fishing for this, I enjoy living in the family home, and care taking my aunt, ( I currently pay the bills, talk to doctors, hire help etc…) My question is how to bring up such a delicate subject. It leaves me with uncertainty about my own future. When the comments come about the house, I usually respond with, " you know I want to stay in this home, I love it here…I will make it work, don't worry about me." Am I wrong to ask to see some kind of documentation either way? Because I need to plan out my future…and I feel selfish…like most care takers.

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Has she forgotten that she said she wanted you to have the house? If there's dementia present, she may have said she wanted you to have it when during a clear time and then gotten paranoid about it afterward.

Is there no one else to contest your ownership of the home such as children (hers)?

You aren't wrong to want this taken care of with documentation since this is about your own future. I'm not sure how you can move forward except to continue to reassure her that you can take care of things and would love to continue living there. Let her know that if she wants you to have the house the transfer must be done legally.

Perhaps, over time, she'll get back to the frame of mind where she wants you to have it and then you can get papers signed.

We're wishing you the best. Please check in with us so that we know if you've made progress.
Carol
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I think tell your situation to her, and she will realize that don't worry all will be fine...!
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Carol wrote just what I was thinking. Does she have children that she might have considered after she said she wanted to leave the home to you? I wouldn't put much stock in her words until it is put down on paper. Who does her current will leave the house to? Could someone have talked to her and told her you wouldn't be able to afford it and would probably end up selling it? So much could have happened.

Her words don't mean anything unless she changes her will to the effect. She'll have to come to that decision on her own. You can only let her know the way you feel without pressuring her. (If anyone gets word that you pressured her, the will could be contested.)
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Carol's comments make me think of my own mother's actions and words. Because she is forgetful, she will promise the same thing to multiple people. Sometimes, she seems like she is rethinking things, and she kind of IS rethinking them, but it has a lot to do with her declining memory.

But I had just read a great book on how to have conversations with seniors and it stresses that we "younger" people are much more anxious about getting these things taken care of than the seniors we are dealing with who are eager to be cautious and deliberate in their decisions.

If I were to pass along the advice I think I got from the book, and what works with my own mother, here is what you might do:
* See if the topic comes up, naturally. If not, find ways to bring it up,but maybe in a more oblique manner, if you can.
* Let the person talk it out. Sit and listen and just let them talk it out. Make it clear you're interested in what they have to say. Sometimes, you'll come to an issue you didn't even realize existed.

One side-effect to this method I get with you own mom is that she remembers the conversations better than when I push on them. It won't work with everyone, but with my mom who has mild memory loss, it works pretty well so that she remembers things without me even bringing them up. She might mention she wants to do something I think is important but that she couldn't really grasp onto, but will mention she now thinks it's important and I'll say, "Well, I think we could get this done, today, if you want to get it over with," and, with that, we're done with the task.

I don't want to make this method sound easy or a good one for your situation, and will admit it is slow.
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Is the attorney that she is seeing a specialist in Medicaid planning? This type of attorney may have a different take on it then the one she is currently seeing. Just a guess, but her current attorney may be considering the 5-year look back if your aunt should have to go on Medicaid. House transfers are permitted (in some states) to child caregivers. Whether that would apply to a niece, I have no idea. You could check out the website AVVO to pose your questions and have attorneys respond at no charge.
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Her attorney is making sure the asset will not be counted against her should she need Medicaid. Nursing homes can cost $10K a month and eat up savings very quickly. Medicaid would then take over. A long-standing caregiver such as yourself could stay in the home. This is a fair way of doing things.
You should still plan for your future, especially old age and the possibility of needing care yourself. Life is uncertain, plan for the worst and hope for the best.
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This is such a delicate situation as she never married and has no children. We do have a large family however. My aunt and I have bonded over the fact that we are "two single people who know how to take care of ourselves." She was very successful during her life and money is her "thing". The situation with her attorney is delicate as he is the executor of her estate. When I met with him, it was to interview me about my life and her wishes to leave me the house, and if I was interested. A few weeks later I returned to him and said yes. at that time he told me I wasted too much time getting back to him, and he was not allowed to discuss it anymore. but he assured me that I would be "taken care of". kind of vague and kind of patronizing, because that is not what was discussed and I didn't ask for anything, they asked me. And now we have my aunt bringing up the house every other week. I get uncomfortable with all this talk, I have made my desire to stay here clear. I have thought of going to see my own attorney, just for advice. and yes, the original will states that the house will be sold and the money will be split between her sisters, and it is considerable. And her sisters are not around, they speak several times a year. Again, it is about planning for my future, and seeing how I am not complaining about being here for her, I have been planning on staying around here, job wise and as delicate as the question is it needs to be discussed, in my view. I am thinking that having my own attorney may be respected. She did after all say to me that her attorney is looking out for her interests. thanks all for the advice.
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