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My mother is going into assisted living. My step-dad will be living in "her" home until something happens to him. I am an only child so I will inherit what my mother has, even though I'm "not to know" what is in her living will. A trusted person told me what I will inherit. Ok, now my question: My mother as well as my step-father are "both" hoarders. My mother has lived in this home for 78 years; she is 92 now, and no she will not be coming back home to live. Because of the fact that she is/was a hoarder I really would like to go to her home and get rid of the "excess" items that are in the home; for example, I don't think my step-dad needs 100 bath towels in the spare bathroom. It's just stuff like that. Someone told me I can't do that as long as my step-dad is living in the home. Another thing, why couldn't I start to get rid of the 100's of shoes, and clothing that I "know" she will never use again. Just a question. And, no folks, I'm not trying to get rid of her.

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Why would you think he wouldn’t be responsible for utilities or upkeep on his home? Who would he pay “rent” to?
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My mom and stepdad had similar arrangement. They married on mom's 80th bday. They had a prenuptial as well and lived in mom's house. Mom had to move to memory care after I had provided care for them both for four years. The prenuptial stated that stepdad could remain in the home for two years if mom passed first. Nothing about if mom needed care facility first. Though stepdad wanted to be close to mom so he moved to AL in the same facility. The house was sold about nine months later. Thank goodness that stepdad had good federal retirement about 4k a month and ss so that paid for most of his AL. Though he was a couple of thousand short each month that came from his savings.

Had he lived long enough, in spite of the prenuptial, mom would have been required to pay that couple of thousand until she was down to assets as permitted by Medicaid. Yes, mom, because of the marriage would have been responsible for the cost of his care.

Prenups mean nothing to Medicaid, I don't know about veterans benefits and how that is handled if stepdad has no money but mom does. You would be wise to consult with an elder law attorney.
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Willienme1950, your Step-Dad would not be living rent free in the house. If the house has a mortgage, he would be required to pay said mortgage no different than if your Mom was still living there. He would still be responsible for the utilities, the homeowner's insurance and any other insurances on said house. He would be responsible for all the repairs that are needed on the house.

It might be written in your Mom's Will that her husband gets "life use" of said home. Or even language if your Mom needs to move to continuing care. Thus her husband can live there for as long as he is able, and even if he goes into continuing care, he still has life use of the home. "Life use" is removed upon his passing, and then the house goes to whomever your Mom has listed in her Will. Your Step-Dad could even later put into writing that he no longer wants life-use of the house. But then again, maybe there is no life-use language in Mom's Will or other paperwork.

Just be patient. If know it can be confusing when there are second+ marriages and there are his children and her children plus any children born of that union.

What if the situation was in reverse?
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Willienme1950, it's good to be thinking ahead, but, legalities aside and as others have said, it's also wise to not rush into doing things that might be disruptive and cause stress to your step-dad as well as to your mom when he tells her what you're doing. When my wife was guardian of her aunt whom she moved to assisted living, we kept a close eye on her home in Rupert and while it was tempting to start decluttering, my wife only allowed me to make repairs and do yard work -- she was very aware that the house and its belongings did not belong to heirs as long as her aunt was alive.

It sounds like your mom tried hard to plan her estate, but that there might be a hole in her plan, e.g. what happens to her home if she needs to permanently move into a care facility, but then again, what is happening might be exactly what she had planned, i.e. if she moved to a care facility, then her husband could stay in her home rent free, rather than move to a veterans home in Pocatello or Boise, and he would thus be close enough to her that he could visit her frequently. If so, that seems like a pretty good plan.

So, unless there's a serious safety problem caused by the "clutter" (remember one person's trash is another's treasure), your energies right now are probably better spent on helping your mom and step-dad adjust to their new living arrangements, monitoring and assisting with your mom's care, and enjoying her company while she is still at least somewhat cognizant. I think it's best to try forgetting about the clutter issue until you have to deal with it and can legally do so.
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In the prenuptial agreement it was probably assumed that stepdad would live there as long as your mother is still alive, as long as they are still married, if there is no language in there suggesting otherwise. I couldn't see someone wanting their spouse to have to move out if he/she got ill and had to move to a facility. She probably depends on him too to help take care of the house. It may not seem fair, but if that was the agreement, it should be respected.

Inheritance will depend on what is actually written in the will/how it is written, the language in the prenuptial agreement, as well as your state's laws on marital property. An attorney could help answer these questions when the time comes.

However, I agree with others here that much if not all of it will probably have to go to pay for care, unless your mother is extremely wealthy or has a long term care insurance policy. Long term care is outrageously expensive.

As far as mom's excess stuff, you could always talk to mom and stepdad and see if it would be okay to clean out some of mom's extra stuff.
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As many have stated here; it is not your home and you must be respectful of this. You could,however, offer to help him clean and organize his home so that it is easier for him to get around if the hording is encroaching upon his living space. You could also suggest using EBay to make a few extra dollars for himself. Approach this topic with caution and make sure you know your place.
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I totally agree with FF. In this situation, it matters not much who thinks it’s not fair. There probably isn’t anything in the wills or agreements that says everybody has to think it’s fair before the terms are executed. If Mom and Step-Dad were cognizant enough of their situation before they married to draw up a pre-nup, their attorney probably put a lot of legalese in there about what will happen “if” and “when”. It will most likely take another attorney to figure it out.
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The home that my mother and Step-dad live in is my mothers home. They did have a pre-nuptial agreement when they married. When my mother passes, the my step-dad is allowed to stay in the home for six months to prepare to go to the VA home. Nothing is said anywhere about "what if my mother goes into a home before she passes." So the impression I'm getting is that my step-dad can live in this home rent free, pay no utilities at all until my mother passes. I'm not sure that is fair.
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Willienme, this is complex, your Mom and Step-Dad have lived in that home. Both are going into continuing care facilities. It would be up to the financial person who has Power of Attorney for your Mom, and the financial person who has Power of Attorney for your Step-Dad to come to a mutual agreement regarding the house and possessions as per the request of both elders.

Is there anything in writing by both parents as to what should be done to the house and the contents if they go into continuing care? If one passes first, does the other get "life estate"? Or the whole estate which is usually what happens with a married couple? If yes, then nothing can be done with the house until the last person passes on.   Then it will be up to the Executor to by by the rules of the Will of the last person.  Hopefully the last elder will still be able to decide on what to do the house.

I would visit with an Elder Law Attorney, or the Attorney that your Mom and Step-Dad had used to draw up their Wills, POA's, and Medical Directors, if any.
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The deal is this: When my mother passes, then my step-dad will be allowed to live in the home for six months while he gets his living arrangements made at the VA home. But nothing has been stated or is in writing as to what may happen if my mother goes into a home.
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Think about it a minute. Stepdad isn’t going to tell mom that you asked? Or you were going to just show up and start going through his home without his permission?
Hoarding has nothing to do with an actual need of the item hoarded.
You can cause both of them a great deal of anxiety by broaching this subject.
I do feel for you on having to deal with it later when you are older yourself and less able to do the labor it will require but regardless of that it sounds like a bad idea.
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Willen, emphasizing Glad's advice, the Living Will has nothing to do with bequests; it's another name for a power of attorney type arrangement whereby medical decisions can be made on behalf of someone else, under certain conditions.

Who is the trusted person? A Trustee or Successor Trustee of a Trust? The Personal Rep (Executrix/Executor) of a Last Will and Testament? And, more specifically, how does this person know what you may or may not inherit? If this person hasn't read any Last Will and Testament, assuming one has been prepared, then he/she is speaking with verifiable knowledge of what anyone would inherit.
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A living will has nothing to do with inheritance. This document is for the purpose of loved ones knowing what the wishes for care are in case of medical issues. Does she want extreme measures to keep her alive, etc.

Are you living in the home. The hoarding is stepdad's to deal with. If he does not want you to remove anything, don't.
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Just to add to JoAnn29, do you think you can convince him that mom "needs" her stuff with her where she lives. You can at least get rid of her personal stuff that way. See if you can do it slowly and clean up areas of the house as space is made
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I can't see a problem in asking ur SDad if you can clean Moms stuff out. Explain that her excess clothing could be donated. Then as you clean out ask him if he really needs this or that. If he refuses, nothing you can do.

Living in the house 78 yrs? Then it was a family home. I guess you Don't know how the will reads to what happens to it if she passed before him? Is he on the deed or will be allowed to live it till his death and then it reverts back to the kids. Just wondering.
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Willienme1950, since your Mom and your Step-Dad are both hoarders, then your Step-Dad would not like it if you came in to clean up.... unless Step-Dad really didn't like the hoarding and just did it to appease your Mom. Tread carefully, you can first ask if he wouldn't mind if you tossed out used paper plates and empty cans. If he says "no", then you know not to touch anything.

For some elders, having a ton of stuff around them makes it feel like a safe cocoon. And disrupting that cocoon would have major impact.
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I’m sure that you’ve been chafing at the bit to get into Mom’s stash especially if you aren’t a hoarder. But, is it possible that this “trusted person” who spilled the beans about Mom’s will (which she surely wanted kept private for her own good reasons) will go to Mom and “confide” to her that you’re blitzing her house?

I would only power clean if the home is dangerous for your stepdad. I’ve seen enough of those hoarder shows to know that these homes can be pretty bad. Roaches, rodents, and clutter don’t make for a safe house.

To be safe, if you are not the POA and /or the executor of her will, I would get permission (in writing) before I did anything only because Stepdad is still living in the house. Did this trusted friend tell you if anything in the house of Mom’s has been left to Stepdad in writing or in the will? You could have big problems if you did anything with what was designated for him. Have you seen the will? Do you know exactly what’s in it?

Take a step back. I really do understand where you’re coming from. But in this case, make sure you follow procedures, get permission and be very careful in your cleaning.
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cwillie had the exact same thoughts that I did. First, that it's not your home. If you've been asked to get in there and start cleaning things up would be one thing but you didn't mention that you had been asked so your idea to get a jump on things seems a bit premature and intrusive.

And second, that home may have to be used to contribute to the care of your mom and stepfather. It's a big, fat asset they're sitting on that may be needed in the future. Most elderly people can't afford long term care without the liquidation of the family home.
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It's not your home, it is step dad's. How would you feel if your kids came into your home to remodel and clean out your "junk"? IMO you should keep your hands off unless invited to help.

And I wouldn't count on that inheritance either, aging gets more expensive every year and chances are high that every last asset your mom and step dad have will need to be used for their care.
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How do your Mom and stepdad feel about you starting to clean up the house? As a helpful gesture for his wellbeing in getting around in a cluttered house? To sell items to help pay for her care? Or to save yourself some time...later on? Not sure what your motive is, but not sure what the rush is either, unless the house is unsafe. I know sometimes we just have this burst of energy and want to “get stuff done” to feel we’ve accomplished something. You’ve just gotten your Mom placed, a load is off your mind probably and now you want to keep the momentum going? But cleaning out a packed house is time consuming work. I know. Simple projects you think will take an hour morph into days long endeavors where one thing leads to another. Perhaps your mom would rather that time be spent with her helping her adjust to her new living arrangement? Just some thoughts.
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