Caring for mom during Covid within family of 5, she was just diagnosed with probable normal pressure hydrocephalus (resolved, if at all, by brain surgery). This helps explain her gait, incontinence, and severe cognitive problems that have accelerated over past 3 years. She also has pre-existing extensive white matter damage and evidence of multiple small strokes and has shown increasing delirium while with us (not recalling that I grew up in her household for instance, not remembering my husband of 26 years has been with me so long or that he has been around long enough to be father of my kids, etc.).
I am her successor POA. The short and long game is we need a higher level of care for her. She needs assisted living and I cannot go on providing care for her in my home for much longer without consequences to our family.
BUT recently, over the last year, she has gradually stopped paying her creditors. So a formerly strong credit rating is tanking before my eyes. I'm trying to get her bills back on track. However, her score is down in the mid sixes and falling. Since she has few other assets (like none to speak of), I want to sell her house to pay for her care. However, it's going to take some time and work with lawyers to do that since my disabled adult brother is living in the home, as he always has, and does not want to budge. Therefore we may need an HELOC (home equity loan, using her equity) for this next year to for her care outside my home, urge my brother onward, and get the house ready for sale.
My question as this juncture is: Has anyone had any success writing to the credit bureaus to contest the agencies dinging her for late payments since she has a medical condition that likely requires brain surgery and MAY resolve (somewhat, given then other damage). When I ask the credit card companies to have mercy they have so far given me the line that they must report and that all I can do is write to the agencies to contest the reporting.
I guess if I did so, I would try to get doctors letters saying her medical condition interfered with her ability to pay and now I am not top of it and assisting her, as they can see by us setting up auto pay, etc.
The debts themselves are low. She could pay them off right now. It's the credit rating I'm worried about.
Look forward to input and thanks for reading.
If you go the NH route, it does not matter what her credit score is. The house is not considered an asset and being disabled, ur brother can stay there but has to be able to pay the bills associated with the house. ( he can get help with utilities) Mom's SS and/or pension will be used to help offset the cost of the NH. Any credit card bills will just not be paid. Utilities probably will need to be for brother to stay in the home. Hopefully her house is paid off. Taxes and water will need to be paid if brother stays in the house.
As said, a lawyer should be able to help advise you. Check with Office of Aging if they have Credit counsellors.
As Mum has the funds available, pay off her debts.
Whether or not she is eligible for a HELOC is determined in part by her credit report, but is also related to her income and debt to equity ratio.
Who had POA over your brother and what are the plans for his ongoing care and housing?
Has Mum been assessed to see if AL is appropriate for her?
You really want to know what the law is regarding your brother. If this is his life long home and he is disabled you could be setting yourself up for some serious issues by making arrangements that will cost him his home.
Have you had a needs assessment done for your mom? This would be your 1st step so you know that you are looking into the right level of care. She sounds beyond assisted living and you don't want to have to keep moving her. Board and care are typically the cheapest options, but they don't offer the same amenities as large facilities, they do usually keep people through death though.
Best of luck getting this all sorted out so mom can get the care she requires.
You should add notes to her credit reports explaining that she had medical issues that caused the lapse in prompt payments. I would pay all of her debts off and start saving money for her future needs.
You need to see an attorney familiar with elder care issues.