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Her home is out of state and she is afraid if she sells her house she will "have nothing." We have been moving her things up to our house, and she has been aware that the reason we were doing this was to sell her home. When the time actually came to sign the contract, she down right refused. I can use the POA to sell it. Do I do so and not tell her? She will be SO upset and angry if I tell her the truth.

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There’s more to this than her “I’ll have nothing”. Selling the house eliminates any possibility of going back to her old life... likely when she was younger and better health. It’s not the house; it’s the life she had in it. It’s hard for her to accept the life she has now. She may feel old and dependent. To her it may feel like a death.

Remind her there’s still good times ahead and can make even more great memories with you now. That her life isn’t over and it doesn’t have to be downhill from here.
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Jenorama Jun 7, 2019
I do understand her hesitation completely. She and Dad literally built the house with their own two hands. He was a carpenter. We'll get this worked out, thank you for your response. I just don't want to upset her.
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Tread very carefully as there could be serious issue from her refusal.

when listing agreement done, who signed off as seller with Realtor?
Usually if it’s a POA involved, the realty group will review the POA to see if it gives you full financial authority to do whatever on mom’s behalf. If that the case, you can sign and get it sold.

Now If it was your mom who signed listing, and she refused to sign off on Act of Sale documents, and this was after negotiations on sale & with earnest $ put up, the potential buyer can seek remedy from your mom as the seller & owner of the property. It would be an “opportunity lost” type of action which at worst scenario places a lien on the property for the amount of $ “lost”. Like buyer sold their home and as they could not move into your mom’s, had to rent or stay in hotel or they missed the start of school and had to place kids in private school or pay out of district fees. Or their mortgage co raised interest if deal not done within 30 days. Your not in state to necessarily get the lawsuit or go to court, so lien gets placed.

Also the Realtors will be peeved. They took on the listing in good faith and mom has exhibited bad faith. That property could well find itself redlined by other agents. It will be a beast to sell it.

Also if she has moved to your state, the tax assessor will find out & property taxes will eventually catch up to this knowledge - that the property is not her homestead- and increase dramatically. Ditto for insurance on it as her homeowners policy will be invalid. She will need to get a vacant dwelling policy & they aren’t cheap and kinda limited to being just a fire policy.

Should mom stay all not gonna sign, and should she need LTC in a NH, and neither she nor you have the $$$ to private pay, that property in another state will keep her from being eligible for Medicaid. For LTC Medicaid their home is an exempt asset BUT ONLY IF it’s their primary homestead in the state they are applying in.

These are all valid concerns. Please, please Try to make her understand the seriousness that her stubbornness can morph into.
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Jenorama Jun 7, 2019
We aren't going through a realtor. The neighbor across the street is buying it so her daughter can live across the street from her. So it's just a lawyer and the title company. They have been more than patient letting us get the house cleared out. Her house is 7 hours away so it has taken a bit of time, but now we have a contract that she won't sign. BTW, she is the one who told us that her neighbor wanted to buy her house so....ugh. We will try to get her to sign the contract again. Just keep pushing it until she does. Which will upset her so much, but I don't know what else to do.
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... she has been aware that... we were doing this ... to sell her home.

Mmm. Thing is, she didn't agree, did she? And JoAnn is right - if your mother is not legally incompetent, your power of attorney cannot override her decision and you had no right to put the house on the market, much less to agree a price or close the deal.

So upset and angry, yes, I know this is incredibly hard. And I'm sorry she doesn't like it, although if I were you I'd point out that far from having nothing she'll have a lovely fat wodge of cash in the bank. But, okay, so what's her better idea? She doesn't have to like the realities, but they apply to her as much as to anyone else. What does she want to do?
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Jenorama Jun 7, 2019
When she decided to move to our home, which is in another state, HER decision, she told us that the gal across the street from her wanted to buy her house so her daughter could live across the street from her. So, that's what we have been working towards. Over the last two years (Mom's house is 7 hours away) my husband has been going down and bringing her belongings up to our house. Now it's pretty much empty and the gal across the street has been more than patient - we have a contract that she refuses to sign. She says that maybe she should just move back home. I don't know what to do. I guess we'll try to get her to sign it, just keep pushing it and upsetting her.
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Jenorama, sometimes we need to use "therapeutic fibs" to help our parent understand what is in their best interest.

You can say that you read [remember this is a fib] that later in the year the housing market is going to stall out, and selling maybe impossible. Better to catch the market now, especially if there is a willing buyer outside your front door.

I was thinking about telling your Mom it is not good to leave a house vacant, etc. but then your Mom might say "move me back to my house".

Since you have financial Power of Attorney, you could step in and represent your Mom in the real estate transaction. This is in Mom's best interest to sell now. And if you feel that Mom wouldn't understand a real estate contract then that gives you a better reason to use the POA.

When my Dad was ready to sell his house, he was still able to understand the Listing Agreement and the Contract. By the time settlement came about, a month or so later, Dad was happy the house sold, but he didn't want to go to settlement [he would have fallen asleep] so I represented Dad at settlement.

Keep us updated.
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Jenorama Jun 7, 2019
I will, and thank you for your response.
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If she is "of sound mind" and can make decisions then you can not sign for her as POA
If she has been declared incompetent then yes you can complete the sale.

Or you could tell her that this "nice young family would love to raise their children in the house that she raised hers" They love the house and love the neighborhood. And they love the flower garden she put in years ago.

Also mention to her that it is costing more money to keep the house empty. You are still paying property taxes, heating, insurance, possibly other utility services that are not being used.

Another option. Would she be willing to "rent" the property? If so could the contract be a "rent to own" and over the course of a year her decision making abilities may change dramatically so you would e able to sell using your POA.

All these hinge on the fact that you can reason with her, that she understands. If not then use your POA or obtain Guardianship. (but I can tell you selling property when you have guardianship is a p in the @ss...been there done that and not easy)
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Perhaps step back and get your mother to comprehend (if that's possible depending on her mental competence) that she needs to make the right decision. I can't imagine how difficult it would be for an elder to take such a huge step, even one that's necessary.

Walk her through her finances, keeping the house versus the money she'd have by selling it. Talk about her care requirements and the cost, and how that sale money would help her with her care expenses. Present financial options to safely keep her money.

Ask for her opinion on how she would handle the expenses. Be supportive. I think people that age recall tough financial times of past decades and are fearful. Good luck!
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Jenorama Jun 7, 2019
Thank you. We've done all of that and she knows deep down that selling it is the right thing to do. But her heart tells her otherwise. We will try again to get her to sign. It is upsetting to her and I hate to upset her.
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Someone needs to be the adult, sometimes our love ones don’t have the right mindset to make the right decision, and we have to make the right decisions for our love ones.
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Is your Mom competent? If yes, than the POA cannot sign.
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Would she sign a POA specific to real estate? That would handle any potential issues.

Have you presented the title agency a copy of your POA to know if they will even accept it?

I sold a piece of property for my dad and it was in another state and they have specific requirements for what type of POA can be accepted and I had to get a signature on the form they sent. It took months waiting for a good day.

I was very sparse in what I told my dad, he pretends to understand and is working very hard to not have dementia, which means he argued about things that were beneficial to him and shouldn't have caused concern.

I would tell her that the value will continue to go down because an empty house deteriorates from no use. Plus what happens if a critter gets in?

Focus on how good she will feel to have that money available to help her and allow her to do as she would like, to a degree.

Best of luck. I would be relentless in getting her agreement, one less headache for you.
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Jenorama Jun 7, 2019
I appreciate your feedback. We have discussed the fact that since the house is vacant it will eventually "go to pot" and she doesn't want that to happen. We have been going back and forth bringing her items up for the last two years. In the mean time, her across the street neighbor has been more than patient letting us get everything moved (Mom's house is 7 hours away from us, she is living with us) as she wants to buy it for her daughter. Mom has been more than ok with it, she was happy that a friend would be living in her home and not a total stranger. We have discussed that she won't "have nothing" when she sells the house, she will have a nice fat bank account. It's all been good until the actual contract was executed. Then she dug her heels in. We'll get it worked out. Thanks again.
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We dealt with this with two out of state properties. Before I get too into the weeds here, for your own protection, get with an elder law attorney.

The first one we sold in Texas under authority of the POA. Our mom was still in her own home At this time. And she would go back and forth about selling it. I simply went to her and said, you have had a good offer on your Texas House, I think you should take it. I can handle all the details. The buyer is someone you know, and wanted it for awhile. It will relieve of this tax burden. She said ok.

We sold it. Not 3 months after closing, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport Texas, where house was located. Obliterated so much there. Her house badly damaged.

Her other house in rural depressed area of Arkansas, was her family home, and really getting bad. Not a big pool of buyers in that area. We sold it to an investor. But we had photographs to document the houses dilapidated condition. You do this to,prove to Medicaid, if that is on horizon, here's why we sold for this much. We also had the termite inspector report to give to same.

All of this was handled long distance via phone and email. We did this one under authority of guardianship. She never knew. And that was a blessing.

But we found notes she had wanted to remove us as POA. She was not competent to do so.

Her last house was sold in April of this year. She never knew about that one either. But with its sale, we would have been able to pay for almost two more years as private pay client in memory care.
She passed away Tuesday.

ETA get an appraisal if her house if Medicaid on horizon. They demand it be sold at fair market value.
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