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My grandmother who was recently diagnosed in the beginning stages of dementia, hasn't kept up with her property taxes in several years and hasn't told anyone about it. She has always refused help and said things were paid. It seemed true, she always has everything else paid on time..


I'm pretty young, I know nothing about property taxes.. but considering I'm the only one she's got I feel this is my fault for not getting more involved earlier. I have no idea what to do. Sheriff served us today and gave us 72 hours to vacate.. that's when she decided to bring out and show me the paperwork on her past due property tax. No number on the eviction notice so I have no idea who to contact.


I'll be homeless. I don't care about that. But she has no place to go. She's 86. She can't be homeless. We have like $400 between the two of us.


I just.. I have no idea what to do. I don't know who I'm supposed to talk to about this. I don't know.. anything. I don't know.. and I probably have about 55 hours left to get it figured out. I was wondering if maybe since she had been diagnosed with dementia if I called someone if that would help things? It's also the weekend though.. so I doubt anyone would even be open.


Any advice is more than appreciated.

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You and granny have only $400 between you. Is there any way she can pay the back taxes, if it were set up on some kind of payment plan?

Many areas have discounts on property taxes for seniors and/or disabled folks. Of course, that should have been applied for long ago, but perhaps, given the dementia situation, they could be applied retroactively?

I wonder if calling Adult Protection Services and explaining the situation might be helpful? Granny certainly is a vulnerable adult and the prospect of her being thrown to the curb, so to speak, ought to interest them.
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I would prepare to be physically removed.
Pack your basic needs and clothing.

When the sheriff comes to evict...he will proceed to put you both in the street right then and there. He will not be waiting around for you to pack

Once physically removed...the locks are changed and the place posted. If you attempt to re-enter it is Breaking and Entering and you can be arrested. So..be prepared so you are not on the street without anything.

I have seen this done. Do not think the sheriff will just let you stay. I have seen back up brought in and literally removed bodily the people inside.

Get prepared. Do not have your head in the sand...this is how this happened to start with. You will be far better off if you organize whatever you need...now.
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Great idea from Jeanne. Start by calling Adult Protective Services. Get a letter from her doctor stating the diagnosis of dementia. Many people with dementia, the first thing they do is forget to pay their bills.

Do not vacate! As long as grandma maintains possession it is a more difficult battle. Call sheriff today tell them grandma has dementia and you have nowhere to take her. Then Monday call the assessor explain the situation. If they are difficult to deal with, call a news channel. See if you can find home or direct phone numbers for your county commissioners. Find their email addresses, they are often on the County website. They all probably have county funded smart phones where they would see your email today. Document, document, document!

Call Legal Aid for free or reduced cost lawyer. Email the bar association for help.
Start by writing a Word document so everyone gets the same information. Be explicit and clear, try to leave the emotion out of it.

DO NOT VACATE!
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We /currently/ only have $400 between us because we just paid bills. We both get paid around the first, bills are paid by the 10th. We've never had issues keeping up with them. Everything has always been paid on time.. that's why I never questioned her when she said property tax had been paid.

I really appreciate all the information and advice everyone. I called everyone I could today, including the sheriff's office, nobody would answer. I left messages everywhere I could and have been hoping for a callback.

I have now found a family member that she can stay with, at this point im just hoping to buy a bit more time so I can try to get her to go through a lot of her things and decide what she wants to keep. She's been in this house for well over 50 years so she's accumulated a lot of.. stuff (a nice treat for whoever gets the house I guess).

She says she doesn't have enough room for me, and that's alright. I'm just extremely relieved that i found my Grandma a place.

Again, I truly appreciate everyone's help and advice through this. It really means the world. I wish I'd found this place earlier.
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Agree with KatieKate here. Be prepared. Pack your clothes, grandma's meds, toiletries, pet supplies if applicable, any important papers such as POA, grandma's will, your passports and birth certificates. Have it ready to take with you. If you have a car, load up the trunk.

Also, isn't there anyone in the middle generation who could help out financially or with housing. Where are your parents, your aunts and uncles, grandma's siblings, your siblings? Isn't there any other family who could help?
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Dear Tuan831
Please keep us informed when you can. We care about what happens to you and your grandmother.
Hugs
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Well, typically sheriffs represent the county, so sounds like calling the sheriffs office for more information and/or the county office regarding this matter may be helpful. Every situation is different, but the more facts you have will help you, i.e. documents, deadlines, extensions. There may be more to the story, and the only way to find out is to ask more questions to the office that deal with this situation a lot, likely.
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My Dad left before I was born. My mom is in a care center with schizophrenia. We live in Oklahoma. We don't have a car. She has a son that lives out of state, no idea how to contact him. She has a couple other daughters, but I have no idea how to contact one and the other one is very slimy and has taken advantage of her in the past so I'm afraid to even call her.

I haven't slept. I spent the night packing my things while she slept, today I'm trying to help her pack hers.. but she's confident that she's staying here. She showed me another letter about an hour ago that says the house was auctioned off on the 14th. Yet she can't understand that the house is gone.

I'm calling the sheriff and everyone I can today. I never expected her to let us stay, was just hoping maybe she would extend our time or something considering the circumstances.

Thank you for the advice everyone, putting it all to use today.
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Tuan - I just read this information in an online article and maybe it will help you. It indicates that the 72-hour notice is only a notice that if you don't leave within that time, eviction proceedings will commence. I don't know if the rule is the same everywhere.
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Notice to Quit
With the trustee's deed in hand, the new owner may exercise his rights as property owner. His first step is to issue a three-day notice to quit the property. However, the landlord cannot change the locks, remove your property or intimidate you to leave the house during this time. The three-day notice serves as your official notice he intends to evict you from the property.
Eviction
After the three days pass, the landlord may file an unlawful detainer lawsuit with the court. You are served with the lawsuit. You receive five days from the day you are served to file a response in court. The county clerk's office schedules a trial within 20 days. At the trial, the judge orders your eviction from the property. You get five days to vacate the premises before the sheriff's department changes the locks on the property.

Leaseback
In some cases, you might be able to lease back your former property. Your lender places the first bid on the property for the balance owed plus fees. When no one else bids, the lender gets the property to sell at its convenience. Some lenders offer leaseback programs by which the former owner may rent the property until it sells on the market. Ask your prior lender if he is interested in leasing back the property until it sells.
Considerations
Obtain the name of the new homeowner from the trustee's office. Do not accept any paperwork at face value. Verify the person you are speaking with is authorized to make deals on behalf of the new owner. Thirty to 45 days is a long time for a new homeowner waiting access to the property. Some property owners offer a cash-for-keys deal to pay you to gracefully exit the property without the need for eviction. Ensure you get enough funds to cover the security deposit and first month's rent on a rental unit.
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Tuan, this might be a blessing in disguise, as since you and your Grandmother only have $400 between you, then Grandmother wouldn't be able to pay for her home insurance, utilities, groceries, etc. and here it is half way through the month.  It is time to move into something more affordable [senior apartment], and not worry about real estate taxes, etc. 

It's not unusual for an elder, especially someone with memory issues, to forget to pay real estate taxes as that bill usually shows up either once a year or twice a year. My elderly Dad did that... oops.

All the recommendations above were excellent. Best wishes to you and your Grandmother and hopefully everything works out for the best.
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