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One of our siblings has been living with our very elderly mother for several years due to personal/financial issues, with some health and job issues added recently. Sibling does not pay rent or contribute financially, there is no lease, has no rights to the house. We are trying to find out if s/he has legally changed his/her address to the house as that may mean s/he has some more standing to be there. Our mother would like sibling to move out in the near-term, but at a minimum, she wants sibling to vacate when she is no longer in the home and she does not want sibling to buy or rent the home from the siblings. We are not clear how much she has communicated any of this to sibling.


Our collective relationships are fine, and while sibling doesn't assist as much as s/he should, it's somewhat positive that there is an able-bodied person in her home given her age, so we are not pressuring sibling to leave. Sibling is a difficult person to speak to, however, and gets very defensive/annoyed if anyone mentions the very favorable terms of occupancy (free) and/or sibling is ever asked about plans to move out, so discussions on the matter have been very limited and uncomfortable. As POA and executor, however, another sibling and I would like there to be clear instructions relative to his occupancy once our mother leaves the house and/or passes, and at present, there are not.


I approached our mother suggesting amending the will to address this issue as well as drawing up a document which governs the situation prior to the will being in effect given she may want or need to sell the house and move and his occupancy could prevent this from happening. We tried to convey without some directive in place, it could hamper her ability to sell the house and use the funds to move, and/or it could lead to a family member having to evict him from the house. Our mother understands our concerns and agrees it could be a problem given his lack of clear plans or motivation, but hesitates to go down this road even though she knows she may be leaving a mess for other children to rectify.


And full disclosure, another sibling is special needs and I will be the guardian once my mother is no longer able/passes, so that is another driving force in wanting to button down this issue as I will have other responsibilities to address. I spoke with a lawyer and she indicated we could draw up a document outside of the will (for the period before she passes) and also amend the will related to giving notice to vacate the house, inheritance being held back or lost if s/he didn't comply, etc., but the lawyer did not seem overly familiar with this type of situation. We are not looking to do any of this behind sibling's back, and understand some of these docs may require his/her signature or acknowledgement-- which could open a can of worms -- but would at least advise sibling of future expectations and hopefully limit other siblings angst. Wondering if anyone has any similar experiences or suggestions as to how to address. Thanks

MEP1965, in light of your additional information I have a few suggestions, assuming Mom is wanting to remain in her house at this time.

First, I suggest a bed-n-board agreement that allows your brother to occupy one bedroom and store his personal processions in that bedroom or in a storage building located on the property in consideration for assisting your mother as needed in routine household tasks and errands to maintain a clean and orderly household.

Second, I suggest you purchase a storage building and move everything he owns that is not located in his bedroom into the storage building. The self contained storage buildings that can be relocated on a rollback wrecker with the contents is a best choice. Invite him to make this move first but announce a date you and the other siblings will be by to clean Mom's house so she can enjoy visits from her grandchildren again.

Third, confirm with your attorney but here in Tennessee, the POA or executor can ask your brother to leave the house within a reasonable time-frame (60-90 days) with a certified letter without any previous agreement on his vacating the house. If your sibling doesn't leave in that time-frame, eviction is very easy, usually with one trip to the court house to file the papers and one hearing.

It may not be fair to your mother and other siblings to need to purchase the storage building and clean up the live-in sibling's mess, but this is more about resolving your problems (Mom getting her house back, setting expectations for your brother's behavior and setting the stage for an easy out the door later) than seeing justice done. I would try to get your live-in brother to agree to make monthly payments on the storage building. I recommend this approach because it presents fewer contentious issues in the present. When your mother downsizes or after her death, you will have to deal with your sibling but you will have an relatively easy path available,
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MEP1965 Jan 19, 2019
Does a bed and board agreement give him more rights as a tenant compared to no agreement at all? We have certainly considered putting something like that in writing recently, however, don't want him to become a tenant, have more rights and have eviction proceedings more difficult...if it unfortunately ever comes to that. Funny you mention a storage unit...part of his issue is he has many units already with various collections he says are investments that he will sell (never does) and the monthly cost is something he cannot afford and a reason he isn't saving and able to leave. The stuff at my mothers is manageable if he would do some organizing, consolidation and culling. She is used to nothing being in the house but her stuff, so to have some closets filled with his belongings -- some of which is worthless -- is disconcerting to her. We will confirm the POA and executor rights with lawyer relative to giving notice to vacate. Lawyer didnt indicate we had these rights when I last spoke with her....perhaps different in our state.
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MEP1965, sounds like your Mom has trouble saying "no" to her son when it comes to him asking her for money.... in that case, time for the financial Power of Attorney to step in and take over the financials, such as bill paying, etc. Thus, if your brother wants funds, he would need to try and get the money from the Power of Attorney.

How old is your brother? Not to make excuses for him, there comes a time when one has to hire someone to maintain the yard. I did that back when I was in my 60's, I just couldn't do it any more. Health issues can put a huge damper on things we use to like to do in the past.

Any possibly for Mom to downsize, where brother can no longer live with her? Selling the house, if there is a lot of equity, could rent/buy Mom a nice apartment in Independent Living or 55+ community.

I realized that the whole family couldn't stay the night, but once our parents get to a certain age, having guest overnight is overwhelming with all the cleaning, groceries, and getting the house ready. Heavens, when my sig other grown daughter and her two school age children come to visit, they stay at a nearby hotel which they really enjoy :) That is such a relief to me.
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MEP1965 Jan 19, 2019
Point taken on the POA stepping in. Would be a blow to our mother because she values her independence though. We have made it very clear to her that she isn't to lend him more $$ and she says she will not and has not for a while, so we will keep an eye on it. He is in his 50s...she has had yard help for years...she isn't expecting him to do any of that work or anything strenuous. Hell when it snows the neighbors come over to shovel!!! We dont even care that he isnt pulling his weight -- we just dont want him making any more work for her, borrowing money or causing issues once she is no longer in the house. She has not expressed interest in downsizing -- she has lived there for 55+ years and still has friends in the neighborhood and her church is close. She doesn't want to be forced into moving just to rectify this situation. The house still works for her and she doesn't need to sell and use the proceeds for anything else...she is in solid shape financially. We need to understand if her estate lawyer -- who I spoke with -- is an eldercare attorney...perhaps we need to speak to another party. And I completely agree than many older people do not want to prepare for or host a lot of guests. That is not the case here, she is fine with guests visiting for the day and overnight. One recent weekend all five siblings were over for the afternoon and because all of his "stuff" was on the dinner table we had to set up a temp table and eat off of it. Two siblings (total of two people) wanted to stay the night and one got a bed and the other was relegated to the couch because he was in the largest room in the house with three beds. Seven people used to sleep comfortably in the house...now it can only accommodate three?
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Why does your mother not want your sibling to buy or rent the house? If the house needs to be sold, why not to the sibling that is already living there?

If he has been living there several years, why is Mom concerned with getting him to move out in the near term - what has changed?

"While sibling doesn't assist as much as s/he should, it's somewhat positive that there is an able-bodied person in her home given her age, so we are not pressuring sibling to leave."  Who is defining as much as he "should" help out? I ask this because I have observed multiple posts on this site where one sibling is living with a parent and providing lots of uncompensated care that supports the parent being able to stay in the home, only to have other non-caregiving siblings state the person isn't doing all they "should" or paying for the privilege of being 24/7 on-call care and support for the aging parent. Is your sibling maintaining the house, yard, and/or automobile? Doing laundry and other household chores? Driving Mom to her appointments? Sorting her medications? Shopping for groceries and maybe cooking meals? Maybe he really isn't doing anything for Mom but your language mirrors that of posters who are not providing hands on care and have little appreciation for the efforts of a sibling who is hands on, so I ask.
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MEP1965 Jan 19, 2019
Did not get want to get into too much detail regarding his occupancy and role in the house, but since you asked...
Our mother did not want him to move back in with her as she is very self-sufficient/set in her ways plus he lived home until his later 30s (if not longer) and was always messy and difficult -- but was but he was in a bind and she wanted to help him get away from a negative situation so she allowed it. In her mind the situation was temporary, however, he has not formulated a plan to leave despite being nudged by her over the years. Our mother is lucid, relatively active, still drives during day and does not need much help. His presence has been a disruption to her routine and the way she keeps house, plus he has had health issues and she ends up having to assist him, etc. The siblings do not care that he doesn't pay rent, but we are annoyed that while not paying rent or making any $$ contributions, he doesn't cut back on needless spending and also borrows $$ from her. He is reactive in an emergency situation and can assist, but not proactive relative to repairs, yard work, cleaning, laundry, etc. He needs a lot of pushing; just started buying groceries and cooking occasionally after the siblings reminded him our mother needs less responsibilities and not more. He is in no way, shape of form her caregiver...she does more for him than vice versa. Outside of having someone to talk to, which is important at her age, and occasionally running errands for her, he is like a guest in her house. He brings in a lot of his stuff and has taken up multiple rooms such that other siblings and their children (our mother's grandchildren) cannot spend the night in comfort. We have expressed dismay that there is no where to sleep when we visit and our mother is frustrated as well, but doesn't seem be willing or able to control the situation and hesitates to ask us to step in because he gets annoyed and she is the one that ultimately deals with his attitude. Given our mother's experience with him in the house into his 30s and now later in life, she does not want him to stay after she is gone because she does not believe he will maintain it and she feels a sense of attachment to the house and obligation to the neighborhood not to let it fall into disrepair. We believe her assumptions are correct as he has not shown himself to be self-sufficient relative to keeping up a house. And besides, the estate is not large enough to allow him to inherit the house and he indicates he has no $$, so our assumption is he couldn't buy our the other siblings even if our mom was indifferent on the subject. They live in an area where rent is $1000 per month minimum before utilities, food, etc., so to be able to save that much money we would expect him to take some more initiative than he does, however, we understand he is there in the event of an emergency, hence none of us are giving him grief to leave, but do feel its important for her to put a plan in place so its clear this situation will come to an end at some point. We do not want to have to evict him, but we also cannot have him in a house where he isn't paying the taxes, insurance and upkeep.
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I don't have this situation but a friend of mine has something close to it. My friends MIL lives alone and her daughter wants to move in and "help" mom but her ultimate goal is to be in the house when mom passes and try to keep it. MIL put a clause in her will that this daughter and no one else will inherit the house. It will be sold upon her death. Since your sibling is living there already he/she could have already established "tenants" rights (don't know what state your in but it can be hard to kick someone out if the home has become their place of residence). Look for another lawyer. Elder care lawyer probably would be best. I can understand sibling getting upset when spoken to about the situation. It's a free ride and moving creates all kinds of problems for sibling. It's good that you are working on this right now. All the best to you.
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