Hi, My mom has dementia and my brother and I live at home with her and take care of her. We are in the process of buying a house and my brother and I have been taking care of the business end of things since Mom can't do it anymore. We're new to this sort of thing and we're trying to find out: if we get the deed in all our names, will we have to pay a gift tax on the house? We think we're going to have to ask an attorney about it because we can't get an answer from anywhere else. The thing is, if we do see an attorney, should we take our mom with us? Will she need to be there? She can't understand these kinds of things anymore and what if she tells the attorney she doesn't want my brother's and my name on the deed? We explain things to her, or try to, but she just doesn't understand anymore, and thinks we're trying to do things that aren't good ideas - which isn't true at all. I don't know if this question belongs here, but I didn't know a better place to ask it. I would appreciate any help with this. Thank you!

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Ah, nothing like complicated legal issues, lol. Thanks for the info, igloo.
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Anne - you kinda have a couple of different issues going on to think about but the main thing that has to be worked out first is can mom do anything????... if mom is not competent & cognitive (like does she "present" herself to have her wits and understand what she is doing) then most of the time the attorney will not do anything that is a definite legal situation. Transferring real property - like the house - would be such a situation. If she is the owner, she will need to sign off whatever to do the paperwork and if mom just can't then it could be viewed as a coerced document and you & bro & the attorney could have major issues with validity. It sounds like mom won't "present" well and if she says at all something like ..."I don't wanna" then you are toast on getting anything done.

I would suggest that you and your brother (leave mom at home with sitter) go to see and elder law attorney who has a practice that includes the county in which mom's property is. You want to take to the meeting: her will, her id, any & all information on her marriages and divorces and all of her kids and all their contact information. Also you want all the legal on the house - this you can do yourself by finding the annual tax statement that the local assessor sends out (usually in Oct or Nov for a bill that is due in Jan) and then from the assessor document you find the parcel # and description. The parcel # is mucho importante as this is how you find anything legal on the property (and not the street address). Then go on-line to your assessor site and download all the documents filed on the property. Most counties have this on-line for maybe the past 10 years - if way before that you have to go to the courthouse and file a request to get. These area all public information so anyone can pay to get these. You want to get copies of all do document ownership and make sure mom owns it outright and you need these to do a property transfer later on. So you take all these documents to the attorney and be very frank in what your mom's situation is and ask how things can be structured to benefit mom (not to benefit you & your bro).

Are you or bro her DPOA, MPOA? If so, then you can start a # of things the attorney will suggest.

If not, then all that will need to be established. The attorney may also do a "Guardianship in Case of Incapacity" too. But all this will need for mom to be competent and cognitive. For my mom, we went over all the paperwork as a group (everybody who was to benefit from her and assets) BUT we all had to leave the attorney's office and sit outside while he spoke with mom to establish that she knew what she was doing and was in full agreement with what had been discussed. If your mom can't sit there and answer simple questions (like who are you and what day is this and why are you here and be aware, then the attorney won't do anything no matter how much you ask. They can't. If this is what your situation is, then the attorney will likely suggest that you or your bro file for becoming her legal guardian. Guardianship is alot more complicated, but really if you wait too long to do anything, then that is the only option left. Good luck.
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