Do I have the legal right to bring the home up to code for possible sale in the future? - AgingCare.com

Do I have the legal right to bring the home up to code for possible sale in the future?

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My Dad (94) was recently accepted at a Veterans home. I have lived in his home taking care of him and my disabled brother who is now 62 and a sister who has lived here since she was 12 yrs old. She is 52 and employed. I have POA for health and financial for my father and the house is in trust in all 3 kids names. My mother died in 1999. Home is about 45 yrs old and has not had much done to it all this time. I am basically talking about essential repairs that are needed such as bathroom, furnace, AC-not changing things out for the sake of cosmetic change or my wishes to update. This is also a tri-level home and it has become very difficult for my brother who has MS to live here. He is now in a hospital bed in living room and can no longer go to second level bedroom anymore. I think we would all benefit to leave this home and find something more suitable for all our needs. I am 65 and having my own issues with the upkeep and difficulty of living in the home. My father has a few bank accounts and I want to know if I can legally use that money to fix up a home that is in his name? By the way I have lived here since 2001 and been involved in their care since then but much more so in the last 2 years. I have talked to an attorney but I was curious to see if anyone has had this similar issue come up and what you did about it.

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Thanks to those who answered and to igloo572- you sure brought up a lot of good points to think of. I probably need to have a conference with lawyer because of so many issues. Four adults is a lot to consider in the mix!
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As one who is dealing with a elders house right now, I'm going to look at this from a cost viewpoint. ....so is the trust funded so that all house costs are paid by trust that owns it? Or is it thar dad or family pay house costs? So exactly how much disposable income will dad have once he goes into the VA home? How much assets will he have? I don't know how VA homes handle monthly income but medicaid requires a copay of basically all their income to the NH so family has to pay for all on the elders owned home for the rest of elders life and through the probate or property transfer process. If VA also does this as medicaid does, could make a huge difference in affordability of home for possibly years & years & additional costs of updating it. I'd nail this answer down first ( pun intended!)

For the rest of the trio, what is brother & sister who live at the home total income for the month? For you, what realistically can your wallet afford?
Then go over the past year and come up with a clear $ amount on house costs from taxes, insurance, utilities, etc. If you or others do stuff for free (like yard cut) put in a realistic amount of what you'd pay for that. So just how affordable is the house?

I would suggest you get the house inspected - I just got 1 done $ & it's based on sq footage so 2k footage about $400. Then based on that, get estimates on repairs. If there are deficiencies in all the majors (roof, plumbing,foundation, electrical), the costs could be close to the tax assessor improvements value of the home. Now not the land value but just the house (improvements). If this is the case you may find the "as is" value to be maybe 10% -20% over the land value. If land is low, you may not get much $. As is buyers don't care squat about real estate comps values either, they go as low as possible and then some. An old house with decades of delayed maintenance probably needs an appraisal done (they get the inspection report too) to get an accurate figure of what it could sell for. If there are foundation issues, the property may not be easily sellable.

As DPOA, you can get work done on the home but what happens if $ runs out?
You may want dad - if competent to do - to do an agreement with you or any other family that funds paid by you will be repaid from either the trust or sale of the property.

Out of curiosity, does brother have a special needs trust? Would moving for him be hard or a good thing? If sissy was not there for him, would he need to live with supportive caregivers? Could that be best over time? Or is there something about the house that makes it valuable no matter what costs or problems with it?
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According to your profile, your father has mobility problems; no mention is made of dementia and/or of inability to make decisions. Assuming he's still capable of doing so, and assuming that the DPOA authorizes you to act conditioned on your father's inability to do so, I don't think you have the authority to go ahead and fix up the house with your father's money.

Again, assuming your father is still cognizant, and from what you've written, I think you would need to discuss this with your father, as the funds and house are still his.
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Wow, you have a full plate of care.

As for the house, you can sell it "as-is". There are investors who like homes that haven't been touched in the past couple of decades, that way they can go in and put their own finishing touches on the house and sell for a profit.

Contact a local Realtor, find one who deals with investors who like to "flip" homes, but makes sure you get a decent price for the house. Talk to at least 3 Realtors. Don't have the Realtor talk you into installing new windows, new roof, new front door, new carpeting, granite counter tops, etc. That would just add more to your plate.
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