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My mother passed away with out a will. We live in Texas. She didn't have much just her home which is paid for. There are 4 of us. My oldest sister lived/lives with her in the house. My mom was in and out of the hospital a lot and I am sure there are tons of medical bills. My question is what happens to the house if her assets don't cover all of the medical bills? Does my sister and her family have to leave the home? I am so worried because my other sister wants to sell the house and divide equally between all of us but that still leaves my oldest sister and her family out of a home. On top of the grieving from losing my mother I am stressed out that my family will be broken apart because of this!

My condolences on the loss of your mother. No one can sell the house because none of you own it until the court settles the estate. Let the hospital and drs know of her death and the financial situation. This won’t be anything new to them and they should work with you as you go through the system.

A suggestion to people in a similar situation. My mother has named her 4 children to benefit equally with myself as executor. Since I have evolved to be her chief caregiver, she is in assisted living, I am a co-signer on her checking account and POA I pay all her bills. I keep a separate list of all the payments, save every receipt, and keep track of any expenses I have paid for over the past 5 years.

When she dies I will reimburse myself for my expenses, then divide the residual between myself and my siblings. We have all told her we don’t want an inheritance and she should spend the money on herself! Honestly if she outlives her savings I plan on applying for Medicaid.

Hopefully everything will go smoothly.
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disgustedtoo Jul 20, 2019
It might be better to repay yourself for expenses you covered either when paid or on a regular (monthly?) basis. IF she needed to go Medicaid, it could take away all money and you won't get reimbursed. Since you keep records of everything AND you are using it for her benefit, there should be no issue if Medicaid "inspects" and asks about those funds. It would only be a question if you were paying yourself to manage everything, which it sounds like you are not.

I manage mom's finances, etc (two of us are POA but the other, who knows where his head is at!) I am retired and on fixed income. There really isn't enough to cover my own expenses, so I can't afford to cover things that SHE has enough to pay for. It usually isn't much (I have an ATM card for her account in my name, so generally I use that instead of paying out of my funds - the condo repairs were a different story as they were high $ amounts, so they did go on my credit cards, kept records, paid via the trust bill pay account and we were able to deduct these costs after the sale of the condo.)

I also do not pay myself for what I do, but it is rather nasty that many siblings do nothing but put their hand out when there is $ to be had and they also don't consider what hardship being mom's POA, non-hands-on caregiver, appts, taxes, meds, balancing the accounts, etc. Retirement? HAHAHAHA, what retirement.
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Her Medicare will just require co pays and not the entire medical bill. The house should have equity in it. Probate should be filed along with a list of all those next in line. Live in sister should buy you out if she plans to live there. Her share of the equity should help her as a down payment towards a mortgage. Make sure sis does the accounting for bill payments. Probate might want itemization
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Reply to MACinCT
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97yearoldmom - your ? based on my experience in 3 states...
- property taxes - to get homestead exemption or other decrease or exclusions you have to apply at Tax Assessor office AND provide documentation that you are owner, if 65+, if disabled or 100% beneficiary of Trust or LE that property titled into, etc. Have to be owner, being tenant doesn’t count. Some places have a window to do these for next years taxes. Like Coastal MS, it’s Jan for application done. In TX, application accepted on rolling basis but has to be done by EOY as the separate Appraisal district (this group places presumptive value each spring) has to have it based on ownership EOY to determine figures on; then TX has pretty involved time sensitive appraisal district hearings / appeal process. Which closes out usually by end of summer, so Tax Collector can send out notification of incoming year bill in Oct or Nov. To do hearings, you have to be owner, their dpoa, their attorney Or Executor with Letters Testamentary. LA kinda does what TX does.

I’ve done hearings & appeals. It’s real time consuming project. You gotta have documentation, & if tax increase due to land values, there is not much you can do about lowering that...

- for having more consideration for a caregiver sibling, well good luck. My experience is that terms of the will are what guides what is to happen, even if will was done ages before. If 4 kids & parents will was written to be an equal distribution to all kids (& done so it’s to their heirs if they predecease the parent), then that’s whats going to happen. The terms in the will are what matters. The other heirs can relinquish their inheritance if they choose to to give their share to the caregiving sibling.
I’ve been on this forum a long time, when it comes to stuff & $$, concerns for less fortunate sibling are rare. Often it’s not the sibling but their spouse who drives the decision & they could care less about the in-laws. If not will, then it’s lineal heirship rules that apply. So 4 kids, it’s divided by 4.

But apart from from all this, IF it was the now deceased elders income from SS or retirement that kept household afloat; that $ stopped when they died. But property costs keep on. Either the deceased left bank account POD (pay on death) or life insurance big enough to take care of the post death property costs and probate for a prolonged period of time. Or someone in the family or a Executor has to want to front these costs and either file it as a claim to be repaid or if Executor as costs repaid from the sale of assets of the Estate.

Family who find 5k atty costs are prohibitive, are gonna find that house is a crisis in the making. The tipping point will be Property taxes. Like $800 old taxes morph to $5k. There is someone on this forum who had like 20k annual taxes on her mom’s house in NJ. Often family just walk on dealing with it.

The caregiver exemption as far as far as I’m aware is all interrelated to Medicaid and MERP (it’s Estate Recovery system). A caregiver who can prove 2 yrs of full time caregiving that kept the elder ftom going into a NH & onto LTC Medicaid can seek an exemption from the required attempt for recovery. But if there are other heirs, each of them have to themselves do their own exemption to get whole house included. If there’s 4 and 1 has caregiver exemption & another has low income & another has handicapped, that’s 3 out of 4. That last 4th share of the property may have to be settled with MERP to be able to get title change unless they have their own claims against the estate to offset Medicaid’s tally. If your dealing with Medicaid & house kept its best to be only child with fat purse...... & serious sense of humor

Its. Flat. Not. Simple.
Personally to me unless it’s low value so all costs are manageable on a house that makes sense to have OR it’s super high value so it’s worth spending on as your gonna sell eventually for $$$$$, it can make sense just to walk away on the property.
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BG - regular probate maybe 2-3k. the 5k figure kind makes sense if your in Houston proper as the bigger the city the higher the price atty can charge. But I’d be concerned that your family situation actually will be one that requires “litigation”. & for probate, attorneys who do litigation are a speciality group. Most probate guys do NOT do litigation. It could easily be more, lots more. What you want to know upfront is IF they do litigation & pricing structure.

And if Sissy #2 prevails in being appointed administrator then imho Sissy #1 should get her own litigation probate atty to keep her interests before the court.... like her atty establishes that she is a Tenant and as such has rights and Sissy #2 will have to go thru an eviction process which she cant do till she has authority to be administrator of the Estate. Yeah it will get ugly.

If Sissy 1 is paying any property costs & has been paying them now & before mom died, she needs to get with her attorney to figure out how to file those as claims against the estate. As well as get her viewed as a Tenant with rights.

good that there’s no Medicaid involved as that muddies things.

If probate is opened, the hospital, docs, labs, etc. have to file a claim with supporting documentation either to probate attorney or at he courthouse (& pay for filing) and it goes into a specific class or category of claim. Maybe C1 or C8; & it will be a rush for them to get into the C1 group as this stuff is time sensitive and limited to amount for C1 (in end of life medical bills group). Last I checked it used to be topped out at $2400.

Again imho creditors dont really want to deal with filing claims to be paid from an estate that’s in probate. Could take forever to get paid if at all. They are gonna call & pressure someone, really anyone in the family to pay mom’s bills. Hospital will close it out quickly and sell off to debt collections. They are relentless.....

if you start getting calls, try to get your wits about you and calmly say like..... “appreciate this phone call but realize this is NOT my debt. My understanding is that in the future that probate will be opened for the Estate of Mrs Jane Garcia Smith. As such you need to monitor the newspapers as to Notice to Creditors for her Estate and file your claim accordingly”. And you hang up. Make this your mantra & practice it if need be. If you get letters, ditto & mail them certified mail from USPO & with the return registered card (as it requires a signature).

Btw TX ALLOWS 4 years from DOD (day of death) to open probate. You mom just dyed. You have Oodles of time.

I get your position, you’ve trying to be all Kum-ba-a between the older Sissy #1 the caregiver living in the home she shared with mom, Sissy #2 the one holding purse strings, another sibling(?) & then you. So I’ve got to ask you..... in your heart of hearts just how much mendacity and bad witch is Sissy #2? How much fight does Sissy #1 have in her.
And what would likely be the position on sibling #3... who would they side with?
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Reply to igloo572
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It might depend on how long your sister lived with your mom - talk to a lawyer

Usually assets are divided amongst the heirs [her children] once all the bills are paid - so each of her children will have 1/4 of the house - it can be sold or the sister who lives there can buy the others out by getting a mortgage on it - again talk to a lawyer

If sis took care of mom for an extended period of time maybe the rest of you could up her share a bit .... so that she would get a double share as if there was 5 kids but she gets 2 shares for her helping & then she buys out the rest of you for your 1/5th ... just a thought
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Reply to moecam
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Bg, can I recommend that you and hubby get your paperwork figured out sooner than later, with small children, God forbid, what happens to them if you both are injured or killed. Having guardians and life insurance is essential for ensuring they will be kept together and cared for if the unimaginable were to happen.
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bg0884 Jul 11, 2019
Yes we need to do this ASAP! thank you so much!
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Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to read my question and give so much information, I truly appreciate it!!!
First I want all of us 4 siblings to get together to discuss. Both of my sisters have already talked to lawyers. (WOW) My sister who mentioned selling the house - I don't think she is a greedy person (but now feel like I don't know who to believe) She told me she was worried that since Mom did not have a will the state will make my other sister who lives in the house move and take all of the belongings in the house because of medical bills. I am upset that so suddenly literally the next day after Mom passed she told my other sister "So what is your plan? what are you going to do?" There is a lot of feelings behind everything and have been for sometime now. My oldest sister who lived with my mom did care for her and was with her most of the time but my second oldest sister was the one who took care of most of my mom's things like her paperwork and appointments and did a lot too. I have to say they BOTH helped my mother a whole lot. I am the baby and most of the time left out of everything and since I have a very young family could only help here and there vs them who have older children and more time but this really worries me mostly because I don't want our family to be broken due to this. My oldest sister just told me yesterday she too was so surprised by our sister's comments about what she was going to do about the housed. She feels like she is being pushed. I just want things to be fair and to be honest could care less if I get any money.
My mom did not have medicare or medicaid, she had private insurance. She did not have money in the bank or any other assets.
My oldest sister who lives in the house went to talk to a lawyer too and they told her their services would cost $5,000. Money she does not have.

I am planning a meeting with all 4 and tell them all of the advice you all have given!!

Thank you for all of your prayers, i really hope and pray my family can get this resolved in a fair and peaceful manner because i know that is what my mother would have wanted! She always wanted us to be close! We still have to talk to our brother whose opinion also counts. What a mess!!! I have been talking to my husband about how we should have our documents in a row (we are in our early 30's) I don't want these issues for our 3 children!!
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disgustedtoo Jul 11, 2019
You could shop around for another attorney (most will give a first consult for free, and may have a ballpark, but do be careful - they could underquote as well.) Since it will take time to process, see what, if any, bills come in unpaid. Do beware that you'll have to file a final tax return and if she owes anything you'll have to cover that as well. Her insurance may have covered most of the bills. If there aren't many bills AND you can get agreement among all the siblings about letting oldest sister have a life-estate with the rest of you being trustees/beneficiaries of the house, perhaps a deposit for the attorney with understanding that once it is all processed a HEL will be taken to pay all expenses (someone did ask if mom had a prepaid burial - is that the case, or have y'all already covered that? If not, that plus any outstanding bills may cut into the idea of retaining the house - sale residual split 5 ways might allow sister a down-payment on a smaller nice place...)

This could get complicated, so I don't think there is any way around hiring an attorney to help you get through all this.
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Depends upon which state you live in.

Whatever you & your siblings do - DO NOT DISCUSS THIS MATTER WITH ANYONE OUTSIDE THE FAMILY except an attorney. (He/she cannot break confidentiality even if you just go in to his/her office for a free consultation.)

Did your mother have health insurance? I presume she at least had Medicare Part unless she was too young to qualify for Medicare. If she had any form of health insurance coverage, that should at least pay a portion of her medical bills.

Did your mother have any savings or money in a checking and/or savings account? Did she have any investments? Did she have a safety deposit box with anyone else listed on it? Was anyone else's name on any of the above? If so, then it depends on whether that person/those persons are listed as a co-owner of the account. If so, then they can present a Death Certificate & claim the money. That is after all the checks written on the accounts have cleared. REMEMBER, no one is authorized to write checks on such accounts unless their name/names are on them a certain way.

Did you mother have any life insurance policies? If so, did she name beneficiaries? If not, then the money will have to go into her estate. DO NOT DO ANYTHING WITH ANY LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES for 9 months & 1 day unless she had designated beneficiaries on them. The money from such policies goes to the named beneficiaries not into her estate.
You really need legal advice. Brain storm together to figure out what questions you need answered before making an appointment to see an attorney.

Do your homework! Search the Internet to find out what your State laws concerning probate, estates, etc. are. I did.

Sorry, but your mother left you in a real mess. DON'T BE IN A HURRY NO MATTER HOW MUCH ANY ONE TRIES TO PRESSURE YOU.

Did your mother pre-plan her funeral? If not, then you have to consider how it's going to be paid for. DON'T GET STUCK WITH A BIG FUNERAL BILL.

There is a lot you & your siblings need to consider. It is essential that you take your time & consider all the angles & possibilities of any action you might be thinking of doing. You do need to contact any credit card companies that she may have had a credit card with. DO NOT BE TALKED INTO PAYING YOUR MOTHER'S BILLS OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKETS.

TELL ANY COMPANY CALLING ABOUT WHAT SHE OWED ONLY THAT SHE DIED & EVERYTHING IS UP IN THE AIR. DON'T TELL THEM ANYTHING ELSE. NOTHING!

DON'T MAKE ANY HASTY DECISIONS - IT'S ESSENTIAL YOU DON'T.

In Indiana, if you wait 9 months & 1 day before going to court to start probate proceedings (& none of the Creditors petition the court to open probate proceedings for your Mom's estate), then whatever bills the deceased owed - medical or otherwise medical & other do not have to be paid. The creditors are responsible for filing a claim for payment with the court. If they do not do this within the time period set forth by State Law, then too bad, so sad. I know it sounds heartless; but, it appears that you are between a rock & a hard place otherwise.

If you go to court before 9 months & a day (it can be longer) then you can "kiss the house goodbye". The court will order it be sold or if you want to keep it for your brother, everyone will have to pony up to buy it. I'm not sure what the laws in your State are, which is why you need to seek an attorney's advice.

It may be that the Probate Court will order the house be sold anyway, I don't know. My mother had set up things so all her property - real estate, all bank accounts & investments were either Transferred On Death or Paid On Death. She never expected that there would no money remaining in any of her savings or checking accounts. Because that was the case, there was no assets to sell to raise the money to pay her bills - other than what her health insurance would cover.

If the utilities at her house were in her name, then, they must be switched over into someone else's name. Is your brother ab
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Reply to martha908
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It will go to probate. Like your mom, my mom only had a house that was paid for. But, Mom did have a Will which just said it was to be sold and divided among the 5 of us. Since my oldest brother lived with Mom for almost 40 years (soon after my dad died), the rest of the siblings decided that we were going to let him stay there as long as he is alive (he is in failing health). The lawyer told us that we didn't have to do anything for about 9 months. Then we can keep extending it for 6 months at a time. It sounds like you may have a battle on your hands, unless you can get a majority rule. I don't know how long it has been since your mom passed, but family members are quick to hold out their hands for the money right after someone has passed (and already have the money spent). But, maybe your sister down once she sees the process and how long it is going to take.
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Reply to Mapotter
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Sorry for your loss and the trouble you will go through.
I hope the caregiver gets a fair shake. It is worth more than just rent to take care of someone for a long period of time (that means longer than a week--if you have ever done it you will understand).
If this doesn't motivate everyone to at least have a will--a trust is better--and have it, at least, looked at by a competent lawyer, then I don't know why not.
It will cost money whenever it is done...better to do it now as it will cost less.
It's just me pushing for "getting the paperwork done in a timely fashion"
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Reply to whatsagipper
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The siblings do not have to sale the home now. Assuming there is enough money to cover Mom's bills (or the heirs are willing to mortgage the house jointly), the probate court can deed the house to all 4 heirs and it can be sold later. The heirs can even grant the care giver sibling a life time estate or a period of time she can continue to live in the house as long as she pays the taxes, insurance, and required repairs.

I encourage family to act with compassion and not push the care giver sibling out of the house quickly. If she cannot afford to buy everyone out of their share, please give her and her family time to mourn your mother and transition out of the house, maybe a year or two. In our extended family, the siblings that forced the immediate sale of the house after the parent's death caused enough hard feelings the siblings no longer all speak to each other. The siblings that gave the care giver two years to move out actually ended up selling the house about 14 months later amicably.
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Reply to TNtechie
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I’m sorry for your loss.

I’ll be honest, I’d see a lawyer ASAP, like tomorrow. I don’t know what Texas law is, but all states have intestacy statutes that dictate how estate property is to be distributed when a decedent has left no will. At least you’ll know what the law says. But if that was the only asset, I would act with all deliberate speed before the hospital possibly gets a judgment against the estate and slaps a lien on the property (I don’t know whether they could do that in your state, but ask the lawyer.)
As far as the sister who is living in the house, unless everybody decides she can stay, she’s got to find a place of her own sometime, unless she buys you two out.
Go see the lawyer, though. They’ve pretty much seen everything before.
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Reply to DizzyBritches
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Condolences on the loss of you Mom.

The next thing is to contact an attorney and have them start the probate process. It doesn't matter if there is a will or not. Just a will makes the probate process a bit easier. Without it the court will have to determine who will be the executor. Without a will a person is considered to have died in Testate which basically means no will. If an executor has been named in the will it still has to go to probate court to confirm that the person named executor is the best person for this. In some cases if a will were drawn up years ago the person they named may no longer be competent or may be deceased and the court must deal with this. Any bills acquired in your mother's name must be paid from her estate. If there isn't enough to cover them then there is a specific process for this and an attorney can help sort it out. The attorney will be paid for by the estate. Good luck and God bless.
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Reply to Nancynurse
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I know what you are going thru, but it is true. Probate will take a long time. My cousin who died left all of his family waiting after 1 and 1/2 years. There is no way around it. Except to have a will stating how everything should have been divided. My mother after my father died went a head and made a will so now all we have to do is take care of things after she is gone. We all know what is to be divided and who gets the house. In my family all have houses except me and my older sister who is getting the house because I am getting my aunts house. You can only live in one house. What we have done is went over all bills that my father had accumulated and those that came after his death we went over to make sure that they were in the right time frame. A lot of hospitals and companies will try to get you to pay over what Medicare has paid for. This is not right. If it was not submitted while the patient was alive then they are not responsible for anything after the date of there death. In this case make a copy of the death certificate and send it in with the bill. In most states this will cover anything after the death. There are a lot of scam artist out there even good intentional ones. Just have all bills look at to make sure that they are leggite you will get a lot of scammers. In most cases if your mother was under Medicare once death enters the picture you are not responsible for anything after death except a burial. Just be careful of all claims. I know you want to take care of all your mother owes but some are not real.
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Reply to sheltonrochelle
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Condolences on the loss of your mother...

Also sympathies for having a somewhat greedy sister...

First thing is stop worrying about that sister who "wants to sell the house ." There is no will or trust, the house was in mom's name, so NONE OF YOU can sell it until it goes through the court system! Explain this to the sister - you can't sell something you don't own, and because mom had no will, any/all assets will have to go through probate court, which will take time. Suggest she back off for now, she cannot do ANYTHING until the dust settles (court proceeding and any outstanding bills for mom come in - BTW, hold those for probate, you and sisters should NOT pay them with any of your own money! DO however keep up on the current bills for the house (utils, taxes, etc) and keep good records - whoever covers those would get first dibs when the house is "settled", aka even if you share the sale, THAT comes off the top for whoever paid it.)

Meanwhile, see if you and the live-in sister can get to the court house first and get assignment as executor. Work with your other sister and see how she feels about the situation. Others suggested if you and she want to, you could petition the court to grant the house to the live-in sister, and figure out how to deal with the greedy one (pay off 1/4 after probate with own assets or take out a loan.) I would beware this, depending on the value of the house. The IRS only allows "gifting" without tax implication of 15k/year (if live-in has a spouse, you could double each "gift" to 30k by giving equal share to him.) By each of you giving your shares, she may end up owing the IRS a lot!

I do think what some alluded to might work best for all of you - have it set up as a life-estate realty trust, in all your names, which would also be set-up to allow sister to remain there until she dies, moves, etc, and then you all (or your descendants) inherit your share. Live-in would cover general bills, upkeep (within reason), RE taxes, etc, which should allow her to claim the taxes paid. If the greedy one is not receptive, get an appraisal, set up the life estate realty trust in THREE names/successors, then sister (might have to include you two) can get a small HEL to pay off the greedy bugger and the rest of you have a nice "investment" for your own future AND your wonderful sister who spent all that time caring for your mom won't have to worry about where she will live! (the HEL may have to be signed by all trustees, but she can be the one making the payments, unless you both want to help her out.)

Getting to court first to get appointed is a way to start. Since it will take time to get everything done, do check with some attorneys in the meantime if they offer free consult and have all your questions written up (and take notes!) One question would be how much to do the life estate realty trust and assist in probate, unless you feel you can handle it yourself (I wouldn't!!) Also in the meantime, have one-on-one chats with your sisters and maybe throw out suggestions on how to handle it (buy out, life estate, etc) and see how they feel. If at least three of you are agreeable, I would work towards that solution. It would give greedy what she wants (assuming there is anything left after all remaining bills and court costs are paid) and would help "retain" what you have for family "togetherness".
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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I'm so sorry for your loss. I know this is not an easy time. This is really a question for a lawyer. Every state is different. The procedures and rule differ between states, so what applies in New York may not be the same in Texas. You can probably get a free consultation with a lawyer to get accurate answers that apply to your state, and if applicable, to handle your mother's estate.
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Reply to Gabbygirl
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You file probate papers for her 'estate'. Any creditors who have an interest in her estate could file a claim, however bill collectors seldom do...unless you wait a very long time.

Her estate will be divided equally with the children. Then children can figure out what to do. If you only have 1 sister who wants cash for her share, then let the sibling living in home pay her that amount. The other two of you could give your part to sister who lives there. Pretty cheap price for a home.

Possible the attorney could even set it up this way for you so that only 1 deed has to be done. Contact a probate atty and get it over with.
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Reply to my2cents
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SSorry for your loss I would get a lawyer st see what to do but like other post u have to see if your mom have any medical bills if she do u have to sell the house to pay it if she don't then your sister who lives in the house should be able to keep it especially if she took care of mom and help pay taxes bills if that was me I would give my sister the house but that's just me good luck.
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Reply to misfairlady69
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I'm very sorry for your loss.
My dad did not have a will either, but I am the only child. Probate will step in without a will. I don't know how close you are with your sister, but you both should see an estate attorney. Make sure that's who you see. If you both are older individuals you both could be eligible for Legal Aid. Then it won't cost you as much. If you don't want an interest in the house and your sister has been living there, she may need the house to continue to have a place to live. Probate will post the estate in the Legal newspaper to see if anyone else will come forward to make a claim. I wish you both well.
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Reply to DarleneLeslie
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Sissy has no authority to sell home.

Issue will be determining who has authority to make decision regarding mom’s Estate for both debts/claims against it and distribution of its assets. DPOA now is over with. There needs to be Executor or Administrator appointed by court that gives ability to do things legally. Sissy nor you or others cannot do anything’s as nobody yet has been appointed or has shown “standing” for heirship.

My experience is that TX has 3 ways to settle estate if there is a will - small estates affidavit, muniment of title (think probate low calorie version for those with fully paid off house/land & selling it) & traditional probate (with 2 sub-systems within). Small estates affidavit & muniment of title can totally be DIY imo if the person named Executor in the will has their wits about them & comfortable in a courthouse & used to buying / selling property or doing tax sales AND deceased had no debts. But there needs to be a will & a will that is considered by the court to be valid as it determines how assets - like house - are to be distributed to heirs So paperwork filed to accompany the affidavit or muniment reflects the terms of the will. Traditional probate needs probate atty. & there are different type of probate attorneys.

Please please check to see if she might have done one; perhaps her & your dad did one ages ago. If there were any court filings after his death, it may be attached to those filing in the courthouse archives or in family files. Even if it’s an old holographic (hand written) will, it can be provided to the court to be used as the valid will. Your in H-town or nearby, right? HGAC region for county courthouse stuff is all on-line except for like Brazorzia & Wharton counties. So you likely can go on line to see what might have been filed for dads death AND also get downloads of the chain of paperwork on house.

IF no will, then it’s is sticky. She is consider to have died “intestate” & for TX that means her assets “escheat” to the state. State assumes kinda nominal ownership of her assets till heirs are established & an administrator is placed by probate court to oversee. To establish heirs, a lineal heirship process is needed. Basically lineal means a call-out is done to find whomever could be an heir and also find couple of folks who knew your mom (& possibly your dad too) to validate the heirs. Lineal imo is not ever a DIY as it has a pretty defined sequential system for notifications in newspapers and courthouse posting boards for any country she & your dad lived in or had real property in that must get placed and reported to the court. If either were married before and there were kids from those marriage’s, they can fall into a lineal heirship line. Lineal isn’t expensive (under 1k in my experience) as it’s usually done a probate atty who only does lineal and does almost all as on-line filing via accounts they have with all the newspapers or publications of record for the surrounding area and their attorney portal to probate court. Lineal takes 6-9 mos to clear so judge can sign off on who are recognized heirs & appoint administrator. Administrator then can sell property, deal with claims etc.

if mom died with no $, no POD (pay on death) banking account, no life insurance policy with enough $ paid to pay probate & property expenses for a year or so, then administrator will need to front those cost on their own but file them as a claim against the state.

TX is a Level of Claim by Class state for probate. Claims have to be filed within a set time frame from a NOC (Notice to Creditors) placement. Claims paid by class. Expect medical debts to pressure pay now as they know once probate open may never get paid.

If mom was on Medicaid, state has to attempt recovery (MERP) via outside contractor & will send a NOI (notice of intent) to file a claim or lien against estate which has house as an asset.

Tax assessor will send out a form on ownership change. Taxes will increa$e & bigly.
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97yroldmom Jul 9, 2019
Igloo
Thank you as always for your very detailed posts.
I think I follow most of what you said but I was wondering about a couple of things.

-Does Texas have the provision where the daughter who cared for her mom for years (perhaps keeping the gov from having to care for her in a NH) be entitled to live in the home until her own passing or until she moved?
Is this only if the mother were on Medicaid?

(It doesn’t sound like the mother was on Medicaid since the poster is concerned about large medical bills.)

-If caring sister is allowed to remain in the home under the provision mentioned, would she be able to file for a tax homestead discount if she is of an age to qualify?

Thanks for your help.
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I'm no attorney, but it sounds like probate. It's probable the hospital will acquire her house to recover costs. Anything that goes into probate can end up paying for outstanding debts. If the house is in your name or any living relative it won't go through probate so they can't touch it.
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Teresa914 Jul 9, 2019
So if my house is in my name and my mom's name, no one can touch it or make me move? I'm in Texas too and mom was denied Medicaid because my brother didn't get the paperwork done on time.
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Lot's of good suggestions and info here, I would echo that at least an inital informational meeting with a coupke of perspective estate attorneys would be a great idea. They will usually do a meet and greet to talk about the basics of your situation free as part of the selection process and they will also be able to give you an idea of how much it will cost to have them get involved in the process but at the very least they will give you feedback about the ways to proceed.

I too commend you on wanting to act as mediarry and coordinator if need be for your family on this, I have no doubt your mom assumed your sister and her family would just stay in the house and simply never thought about the possabilities of problems not making her wishes clear in writing might cause.

My mother was the long term live in caregiver for her mother (my GM) and the way my GM set it up (she did it legally) my mother has Life Use of the house, meaning she can live there as long as she wants while alive but is responsible for the taxes and upkeep, house is paid for. Upon her moving or death the house is to be sold, siblings have first right of refusal I think and then their descendants, the profits to be split evenly between the 4 siblings and their descendants. It's very fair, my mom doesn't get tossed out of her home and she and her siblings inherit equally. She is also co-executor with the attorney who set it all up and is a family friend of the estate.

As far as the medical bill portion of your question, was mom on Medicaid? Did she have a Medicare supplemental policy? She may not have as many bills as you fear and this is one of the reasons it's reccomended things be left open for a while so no big suprise bills show up after things have been settled and distributed. If sister and family were living with and caring for mom was she handeling bills as well? Did anyone have POA or was anyone listed on a bank account? How were the household expenses being paid? These are all things to find out because it will have a bearing on what you all can and can't do. For now if I were in your place I would have a disscussion with sister who wants to sell the house now about just how unfair that seems to you and at least convince her to slow down and not run her mouth off about sister and family having to move out ASAP until the blow of loosing mom has passed a bit and you have delved into the estate stuff and have a better idea of the options. It might be a mute point for instance and no one has to be the bad guy but right now you all need to grieve in your own ways and particularly the people who lived with mom need time to adjust to that loss without having to think about loosing their home unless they choose to bring that up. Then have a conversation with the sister who has been living with mom and ask her what you can do to help. Give her the option to be in charge if she wants but offer to take some of or all of the burden and while doing that get the info about how things have been operating and who is on what accounts, what preparations might have been made with mom.

This is a tough time for all of you to be sure but it's a special kind of difficult for each member and particularly your sister, of the family who has been living with and caring for mom. I know you know that based on your question and concern but I'm not sure your other sister has considered that. Giving them time and space, especially if there are children/grandchildren in that family, seems so important to me and a great gift you can give. Focus on the celebration of mom's life right now and making sure everyone has time to grieve before getting into too much in fighting if you possible can. It will benefit everyone even if they don't know that now. Sending positive energy and strength your way!
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I am very sorry for your loss. We are dealing with part of your predicament now. I agree with Suetiller regarding you mother’s house. My mom in law had a will but despite the counseling of her attorney, she didn’t put the house in my husband’s name and he was the only child.

She received an enormous inheritance from her father and lived very extravagantly all of her life. She had very high credit limits, and ran up all of her credit cards. She also took a 2nd mortgage out on the house.

She gave very little to my husband. He never gave her any problems. He was a good son, and never asked her for anything. It has been very hurtful to him because she refused to put the house in his name.

After she passed, he had to hired an estate attorney. Once the house is sold, all of her bills will have to be paid, which will leave him with nothing but hurtful memories.

It sounds like your mom was a wonderful person. I hope and pray that the love you have for each other will help you through this process.
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When our neighbor passed she had her daughter still living with her in her family home. They had the property appraised. The price was devided 5 way (number of sibling) and she bought them out. Considering that she had spent most of her time caring for there mom. The remaining family members not not personally responsibe for her debt
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Before you stress yourself out speculating about what could happen go ahead and make an appointment with the clerk of court when you get the death certificate. Take someone with you to help you remember what the clerk tells you concerning the steps to take. You may find it easier to get a lawyer. My mom just died a month ago but thankfully she was eager to take care of things so that we would not have any trouble when she passed. Only thing I have to handle is the car which was still in her name. The house and some money was in a trust and everything else she had beneficiaries listed. I hope that you and your family will be able to agree on things and not get torn apart. Prayers for you!
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First my condolences on the loss of mom. Check with a local atty. Most states have a minimal estate when its only real estate as an asset and you may be able to use a small estate affidavit and have the house put in all of your names. Next use a copy of death certificate and contact each medical debtor and inform them and they may ask for a copy of death certificate. They usually write it off when there is no money unless there is medical insurance, make sure they have the insurance information. That should cover it.
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Normally any remaining assets must be used to pay any remaining bills. The house may need to be sold to pay those bills, unless the siblings agree to get together to pay the bills so the house doesn't need to be sold immediately. If the siblings can agree, you might all relinquish your interest in the house in favor of your sister who did most of the caregiving over the years. Yes, you will be losing some $$$ but you will gain much in other ways, and it will be a big help to your sister, as she was to your mother and all of you who didn't have to worry about your mom. You could arrange that if the house is later sold, or in the case that siblings outlive the sister and brother in law, the proceeds of the house sale be divided amont remaining siblings. For all this you need a lawyer. In any case, think about not insisting that your sister leave the home quickly. This loss after the loss of your mother will be so much for her to bear at one time.
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I am sorry for the loss of your mother. One step at a time. It has only been a few weeks, please give yourself sometime to grieve. You have enough stress right now, please do not worry about the house now. The house will have to be handled through probate court. Have a family meeting to get things done concerning your mother first of all. Your sister needs to step back a bit , decisions do not have to be done right away. My heart goes out to you. I do understand, because I have been through something similar with other family members. Everyone is grieving in different ways. This is a time family should all come together and give each other support. There will be time for the other stuff later. Blessings to you for being so concerned about your sister. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
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Im so sorry for your loss. This is such a sad time for you and dealing with everything does not help. My mom passed away last year and she wanted to take care of all the paperwork beforehand but I told her I didn't want to deal with any of that with the little time left I had with her. She didn't have a will or anything. She didn't own a house either. So her assets were below 150,000 so I didn't have to go through probate and luckily im am an only child; only heir. But wow have I had to deal with every thing because I'm technically the heir but also I'm the executor. But since your mom owns a house and you have sibilings it will have to go through probate and you will be appointed an executor who will then take care of all the paperwork then at the end the money that is left will be divided between your sisters. Unfortunately I do not know about your sister having to move out. I think it depends on if everything is taking care of. if not you have to sell the house for the money to take care of it. But it is a long process. I didn't have to go through probate and I'm still dealing with paperwork a year and half later. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. But hopefully your sisters and you won't lose eachother over this. Processions and money are nothing compared to the love of a family. I wish you the best.
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earlybird Jul 9, 2019
Wonderful post. What gentle compassion in your words to bg0884 and sound advice. I am sorry for your loss of your mother. It is so difficult when one loses a parent. It is posts like this one that makes worthwhile reading.
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God bless you. My brother (mlm's Trustee) threw my family and me out of my mom's house the day after my mom's funeral, after we cared for her for 20 years. And my mom even stipulated in her Trust that I could live in the house after her death. I have been fighting my brother in court for my rights since her death in August. You are a good sister and person. I hope you can work it out.
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earlybird Jul 9, 2019
ChiGirl68
I am sorry for the loss of your mother. I know it is difficult, and you certainly do not need the grief your brother is causing you. I am glad you are fighting for your rights. Do you have a life estate?
I think you are wonderful for taking care of your mother for twenty years. She was very fortunate to have such a caring daughter.I hope and pray things work out for you.
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