Slippery slope time! " I want to give you this house." What are my first steps? - AgingCare.com

Slippery slope time! " I want to give you this house." What are my first steps?

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I am looking after my 85 year old. I live upstairs in her house. I do chores, take care of home related issues etc. It has been a win win for the two of us, and most of all she provides me with a home and I provide security and company. Recently she has been saying, " I want to give you this house..." Currently the house will be left to her siblings to sell and split. Not sure if I want to go down this path, since her siblings never see her. Because it comes down to money. Any first steps to take?I am currently 47. I would love to live here, it is the family home for over a hundred years. She is a rather difficult person, and is rather harsh to people, including family. I have no problems with her...and like I said, we get along. I was never a home owner, always rented. I am worried about the complications.

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Dear Mattman, Thank you for the additional details. I agree with the previous posters about reviewing her will and other legal documents with a lawyer. Fortunately she is lucid, and perhaps before you came along, she had no one else to consider leaving her property to. Since her siblings take no part in her care or well-being, it was probably natural for her to transfer her affection and trust to you.
Some elderly people are so starved for attention and caring, that they start trusting strangers that are good to them, and unfortunately this is how unscrupulous individuals prey on the elderly, hoping for financial gain in the end. Clearly you are not one of those people and have done the right thing by seeking advice. I am glad to hear that you are family and I hope you do have the resources to maintain the family homestead should your Aunt decide to will it to you. I agree with everyone that has posted so far - enlisting the advice of an ElderLaw attorney (see additional reference material on this site under the Money& Legal tab) is the logical first step - ASAP. Bear in mind that if you are committed to looking after your Aunt, the job is going to get progressively harder as she ages, and her personality will most likely become more difficult and disgreeble as she becomes mentally or physically infirm. If you end up taking on the medical & financial POA's for her, just be sure you are up to the task. The AdvanceCareDirective is a crucial document, which should be discussed in great detail while your Aunt still has her wits - this would relieve you from many difficult medical decisions down the road, as she will have already dicated her wishes via this document. I would not hesitate to have other caregivers come in and give you respite in the home, especially for the personal care aspects, and the funds would come from your Aunt's assets if/when you become financial POA. You could also be paid for your services as POA-another point of discussion with the lawyer. Financial POA responsibility also requires that you keep very good records of how/where the money was spent for her benefit or her debts. Elder-caregiving could take over your life and possibly inhibit your own chances for personal happiness with marriage and a family (you would be hard pressed to find a woman who would be willing to commit herself to this lifestyle with you). She could live to 100 and that's 15 more years of your life and servitude. Please make sure you go into this with your eyes wide open. Best of luck to you, Matt.
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Just a thought: she could put a caveat in the will: in the event you want to sell or move from the house, first option is given to the siblings. That way, she's acknowledged them (and it makes it harder for them to fight it in court), and the option to keep it in the family remains.

(The other thought was, that if it goes to the siblings, the idea would be for them to sell and split the proceeds, right? So much for keeping it in the family, eh?)
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Mattman, I'd say dot your i's and cross your t's if you're going to do this. Just because her siblings don't see her or seemingly care about her, doesn't mean that they don't have dollar signs in their eyes. They could come after you in a heartbeat, don't kid yourself. Make sure they don't say later on that she wasn't in her right mind when she agreed to this either.
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thank you !
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Do some due diligence with a legal deed search and looking at current will. Have an estate attorney review and then go over with both of you. If she wants, then she should transfer the deed to you upon death and this could be a legal addendum to the will and excluded from the rest of the estate. Their are many options, so get advice from attorney and have him draw up legal docs.

Before taking this on, think of the expenses and other considerations. Do you intend to live and work there for awhile? Will you sell it and move upon her death? How will other family react if this is an ancestral homestead? Do you have the means to keep the house up? Do you have time and want to do so? Would it be better to sell the home and include as part of estate and have the will updated to include you as part of distribution?

You may want to additionally speak to attorney about compensation for your caregiving within reason and have a formal document outlying caregiving fees, your investment into the property expenses, etc. while you are at it.

Do this sooner than later so that your aunt is making a non-biased decision and it will be fair and honored at her death.

Good luck.
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She is my 85 year old aunt.SHe Never married, invited me to live with her when I moved to the area. We Fell into this routine....and we both realize how much it helped both of us. She is lucid, just a shut in. My family, ( her sisters and brothers...) are glad that I am there...because she can be very difficult. The house has been in the family for years. I take care of the grounds, daily chores, ( garbage, fixing things, helping her with computer, tv, car, etc...she cooks a micro wave meal every night...when she was ill, cleaned up after her...etc.) No one hired me, she has spoken of hiring someone if I move out...and yes she has the money.
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You have not given specifics of how you came to be her caregiver. Did you just fall into this routine as a neighborly tenant or did she or a member of the family hire you? Are you compensated? Is she in Alzheimers/Dementia? What are the extent of your duties? Please provide more details so we can make some helpful comments.
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