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It's my understanding that if a physician determines your parent totally disabled because of a mental or physical disability, and they are unable to engage in any gainful employment, they are allowed to take penalty-free distributions from their IRA. Also, the disability must be expected to result in your death or determined to last for an indefinite period. These distributions can be taken for any purpose. Check with your IRA custodian/trustee regarding their policy for handling distributions due to disability, as some require proof of disability in the form of a physician's certification.
According to this website, if it is you that is totally disabled, it may apply to you as well.
My mother will lose a place to live if we place my father in a nursing home, because although they have divorced, he has allowed her to live in his home, due the subsequent death of step-father and her home burning down two months later. A lien will most certainly be placed against the home once the money from the IRA is used up, as there is not that much there.
She will need a place to live and after living with me several times over my lifetime, we realize that we cannot live with each other!
I'm trying to do the best I can for all concerned.

Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/02/111202.asp#ixzz2IYkxgwgH

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Please don't think I'm trying to take financial advantage of my father. He wants to live with us, has left the money in the IRA to me and I'd rather use his money to make him as comfortable as possible now, rather than him not see any benefit from it all.
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