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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 sibling 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 sibling from the house. Our mother understands our concerns and agrees it could be a problem given sibling's 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

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Why was she living with an Aunt when she owns a home? Did she leave because the son is threatening her? Why can't she return to her home?

What do you mean she fought POA? She has to assign someone no one else can. It has to be witnessed and notarized.
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MEP1965 Jan 20, 2019
At 80+ she doesn't see herself as elderly and thought by us pressing for the POA we were insinuating she wasn't mentally fit to handle her finances. We just wanted to get ahead of it in case something happened and she temporarily couldnt deal with them OR she deteriorated quickly and unexpectedly...luckily neither of which has occurred. Thats what I meant by fought it...she did end up cooperating without too much fuss. She is in her home...has never moved out. We asked her point blank recently if she was uncomfortable with the sibling and her answer was an emphatic no, but she does have to pick her battles when speaking to him and tends to avoid assorted subjects to keep the peace.
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As I responded to Countrymouse...I guess I should have made it crystal clear he is at her house because of his financial and health issues and not hers; she is self-sufficient and he is in no way her caregiver...it seems like the opposite.  We understand there would be significant value to him being in the house rent free if he was providing her with even part-time care, but that is not the case...the situation benefits him significantly more than her, but the other siblings can deal with it as long as our mom manages his expectations for down the road and we don't have to go the legal route. She has a will, POA (which she fought), health care proxy and directive. A recent conversation with her encouraged her to speak to her estate attorney on this subject and she is hesitant to rock the boat with sibling.
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You say: "We are not clear how much she has communicated any of this to sibling."

Are you absolutely clear that your mother has not communicated an entirely opposite intention to the resident sibling? Perhaps with the kind but counterproductive aim of offering sympathy and/or reassurance?

I am unsurprised that resident sibling may indeed become defensive and annoyed when quizzed as to future intentions. No home, no job, caring full time for very elderly mother and now with hints being dropped about not having to pay rent and had better not think about staying on because will soon have another think coming. Before long RS will soon lose mind altogether, I should imagine.

Has anybody any constructive help to offer the sibling about how to get out of this fifth circle of hell and resume normal adult life? I'd start with that: if there's progress there, the other issues will melt away.

Except that your mother's support services will become a lot more expensive! But you can't have everything.
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MEP1965 Jan 19, 2019
I guess I should have made it crystal clear he is at her house because of his financial and health issues and not hers; she is self-sufficient and he is in no way her caregiver...it seems like the opposite. Sibling gets defensive and annoyed about many things...can be tough to talk about anything. At this point no one is pressing him to leave because he claims he cannot afford it, however, suggestions to start culling unnecessary expenses to be in a better financial place fall on deaf ears while he borrows $$ from our mother. He is there in an emergency and he is someone to talk to -- both of which are useful -- hence other siblings are resigned to the status quo, however, we want her to get her ducks in a row for the future so it doesn't become our issue. When I indicate we don't know what she has communicated to him about the house, we believe she has said nothing as opposed to being clear he needs to leave. We doubt she has ever told him he can stay in some capacity given she is so adamant to us that he will destroy the house and needs to leave.
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JoAnn29 Jan 19, 2019
Just saw that. 😊
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Yes, you need to look at this from the Medicaid standpoint if Mom ever needs it. Once on Medicaid, sister maybe able to stay in the home but need to pay rent and upkeep. Once on Medicaid none of Moms income can be used to keep the house up. Usually, its sold at Market value or someone pays the bills.

Curious about Special needs sibling. Mom has guardianship? Are you or another sibling co-guardian? Because if not, I don't think guardianship can be transferred. I think you may have to re-apply and have a judge sign off on it? If disabled sibling is getting SSD, Medicare and Medicaid its not good to leave them an inheritance. It will effect the help they receive. Not sure if a Special Needs trust can be gotten after you receive SSD. Would be something to ask the lawyer.
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MEP1965 Jan 19, 2019
I am the back up guardian when my mother is no longer capable. Special needs sibling is not in the will and his care is buttoned up. Thank goodness she dealt with this issue.
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MEP1965, what are the physical issues of your Mother? Any memory issues? Being very elderly also means there are health issues. Believe me, if that sibling is helping take care of your Mother he is worth his weight in gold. It is not an easy task. Plus I bet Mom feels safer with her grown son being in the house.

If your Mom had a lived in caregiver [not related to the family], the room would be rent free AND the caregiver would be receiving a salary for her work.

A person changing their address to your mother's house has zero baring of the legality of that sibling being in that house. No different than a new tenant changing over their address when they rent a house or apartment. It's just a notification as to where one's mail should be delivered. It doesn't mean they own the place.

Everyone needs to think further down the road. Unless Mom is wealthy, the house will come into pay when the time comes to pay for Assisted Living. Or if Mom needs Medicaid [which is different from Medicare] and later your Mom passes. Medicaid can place a lien on the house, even if Mom had Willed the house to the siblings. Medicaid wants to be reimbursed for the cost of care.

Has your Mom visited with an Elder Law Attorney? If not, better do this sooner than later. Make sure all the legal papers are current, such as the POA, Will, Medical Directive, and maybe even a Revocable Trust depending on Mom's assets. And Elder Law Attorney specializes in all things elder, and know their way around Medicaid, if needed.
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MEP1965 Jan 19, 2019
Thanks for your insights...I meant to respond to you and instead seemed to respond to myself!
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