Should I pay off my grandma's house?


i recently found out my grandma's house that bought in 1965 for $6000 has an unpaid balance of $7000 because my mom has not paid off the second mortgage her and my dad took out on grandma's house in 1990.
according to my grandma's will dated 1989, the house was paid off and was to be left to my dad when she passed but in 1990 my parents asked to mortgage grandma's house to help them purchase a vehicle for their business and they would make mortgage payments and my grandma said yes. in 2003, my dad died which left my mom making grandma's house payments and mom has been struggling financially ever since dad's passing and the house still has not been paid.
i am now my grandma's caretaker and have moved in with her because she is 92yrs old. she is in good health but without me would be alone. i am trying to get my grandma's financial and legal matters organized and prepared and i have made an appointment to update her will but i am thinking should i pay off my grandma's house and have her sign it over to me? because it was already willed to my dad it will be left to my mom and grandma told us "grand kids" the house would be ours when she passes. i feel i have to hide what i am doing from my mom because she has her own plans for grandma's house. but if i'm her caretaker i shouldn't have to hide anything i am doing.

please help!!

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it looks like the situation with my gma's house is going to be resolved, after it's paid off. after talking to the mortgage company, reviewing gramma's monthly income and putting her on an allowance the house "should" be paid off in 12mo's.
she's not happy having to pay off my mom's loan but she understands its the only way the house will get paid.
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Yup, I'll bet a whole lot of us wish for a delete button. Most of the forums I have participated in over the years have had that feature, as well as spell-check, and also allow editing an entry (by the person who entered it, of course.) This site isn't the most sophisticated discussion forum I've seen, but it is easy to use and certainly attracts a lot of people.

I agree with you totally, gmaandsam, that you should not be spending money out of your own pocket on this. The bottom-line issue (as I see it) is, Is gma competent to make her own decisions? If she is (in the legal sense) then she can choose to not pay her taxes, to use all her money at the casino, and to rely on the kindness of others. Of course all those choices have consequences, but she is entitled to make the choices and face the consequences. In our culture, which highly values independence, adults are allowed to make their own mistakes.

BUT if she is not competent to make her own decisions (in the legal sense) then she is considered a vulnerable adult. Our culture tries to protect vulnerable adults from self-harm and from others taking advantage of them.

So it boils down to, is she fully in her right mind?

If she is, and she is willing to give you POA and to let you manage her finances, great. Lots of work for you, but problem solved.

If she isn't, but she is with it enough to understand the concept of POA and to give it to you, great, problem solved again.

If she is considered competent to make her own decisions and you cannot persuade her to let you help by taking over the finances, then I think that your hands are tied. It is very, very painful to watch a loved one do self-destructive things. My heart goes out to you.

I can't remember, and if I go back to look I'll lose this post -- have you talked to people at Social Services? You won't have any authority to insist on anything they may recommend, but I think it could be very helpful to have the situation assessed by an objective, trained third party. An inatke social worker would be a no-cost professional who could give you and gma some options and advice.

My heart really goes out to you, trying your best to take care of this elderly woman you love, and running into obstacles one after the other.

Take care of you, too!
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i certainly know about the NO DELETE. i tried doing that after my post got its first response that made me want to hide. but i'm over it. thanks to mr.bilMO i have once again regained any confidence i lost and put mine & gma's profile pic up.

i do see his point of view regarding legal aid. my first impression of the "attorney" gma was given was "CRACKHEAD" i'm sorry but the girl who's probably close to my age, looked like she just woke up after a good night of partying and put her hair in a pony-tail in hopes her dress suit would improve her appearance. it didn't.

i have looked into finding a lawyer to speak to about this matter concerning gma's house and the cheapest i have found is $600. excuse me while i pick myself up off the floor again.

one problem i have with paying for something like this is... why should any money come out of my pocket when gma has the money to pay it herself, but won't? yesterday i found out she is behind one year on her property taxes and when i questioned her about it she said she was depending on someone else in the family to pay for it because they paid the prior year! what? thats one thing about gma, you do something nice for her or to help her out and she expects it all the time!!

i went to staples and picked up 2 forms. one is a POA the other LAST WILL. i have not opened the packets, told her i bought them or even given any of this whole mess one single minute of my attention since friday morning when i spoke to her about property taxes on the house. i am still looking forward to that drink i so much need but i guess its like me waiting for my "night in shining armor" who still has not showed.

if bailing out on gma was an option, i still wouldn't do it. as much as i'd like to give this mess for someone else to take care of, i can't. nothing would be resolved.
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Sam I would call a lawyer and make an appointment -use your rent money and meet with him for an hr and get his advice when he hears the whole story he should be able to give you advice to get your started-I wonder if legal aid realizes she has dementia -which she must have by how she is acting-they might not realize it when you were not allowed to be in the meeting-it sounds to me you should walk away from this whole mess before you get in any deeper than you are.
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So Bill, how do you really feel about Legal Aid? lol You really must have had a disastrous experience with the organization to be a bitter as you are. I'm sorry that happened to you.

Ahem. I hope Sam isn't offended that you don't approve of her choice of assistance with a will. But certainly there are people reading this whose son or daughter or mother or father are lawyers who devoted or are devoting a part of their career to this charitable organization or who volunteer to take a limited number of cases in addition to their private practice. There are probably lots of different ways free or low-cost legal advice offices are organized across the country. In my county there is one available that participates in the United Way program. I looked up the pictures and biographies of the lawyers in another legal aid organization. None of them looked remotely near retirement age, and since they do not work for a government agency I don't know how they could be sitting around waiting for a goverment pension.

You could be right that Sam (or her gram) needs more specialized legal service than might typically be available from a legal-aid type practice. But that hardly makes all lawyers involved in such organizations plonkers or sea anchors.

Again, I'm sorry for whatever experience you had that brought you to this opinion, but I sure would like it better if you didn't paint with such a broad brush.

Anyway, this is all kind of off-topic, because I'm sure that Sam is not in this world of hurt because she chose to take her gram to the wrong lawyer!
Helpful Answer (1)

Sam: I feel for you. This is going to be a hard road. Your gma may not be agreeable to your suggestions. Let us know how it goes today. Cattails
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oh my gosh.....its getting worse!!! gma has not paid property taxes. when i asked her today how much it is she told me $450 but in fact she's behind $927.00
that's it! i am going to sleep and in the morning gma is getting grounded!!!
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thank you everyone. it's probably a good thing i'm not a drinker, otherwise i'd be drunk(this week) i can only imagine how much harder its going to be NEXT week. this afternoon i opened my gma's bank statement(without her knowing) in one month she deposited $1116.40(not including $350 i gave her for rent)
3ATM withdrawls from 2 casino's totalling $297 a $600.00 cash withdrawl was also made in this month and 4checks written totalling $232.oo(utilities)

i honestly had no idea. i did not think her "casino habit" was this bad and i am assuming that is where the $600 cash probably was spent? i've been waiting to talk to my siblings about gma and what "needs to be done" but this can't wait any longer. according to her bank statement by the 11th of may she was already overdrawn $35!!

not only that but one of the casino's she visited twice is 28miles from home and has a bus stop right in front! i keep asking myself "where was i the two days she was at this casino?" i know there was one day i was talking to my little sister in AZ(video chat) and saw gma walk up the sidewalk. when i told my sister to hold on to open door for gma the first words that came out of gma's mouth were..."i've been home for a long time!!"

i told her she hadn't because i had been home for hours then went back to video chat & told my sister what gma said. we both just shrugged it off & said, "omg...she's such a liar!!" when i asked her later on she told me she was visiting mrs. cora around the block which she does do from time to time.

I CAN'T LET MY GRAMMA DO THIS!! WITH ME LIVING HERE SHE IS GOING TO EXPECT ME TO FEED HER(buy groceries) or she'll expect me to give her money when she goes through hers. thinking about it, that's why she's been asking(bugging) about if i've gotten my check yet!!

i am so upset! i know the POA & the house are two seperate issues. i know the house doesnt have to be paid off, even though her bank statement PROVES she is capable of paying the $266.oo mortgage herself. she has no funeral payment arrangements made(yet)

i have to somehow take care of this and stop it now. forget my family...quit waiting for something to happen that's not going to happen and if they dont like decisions that i made/make that they're not aware of or dont like?? i'm just going to tell them tough shit!! i have to do whats best for my gramma and even though im going to be going through so much stress,bullshit, crying & whatever else is down the bumpy road i'm on....i'm going to have to ride it out because i'd rather do it myself then have any one else do it.

one more thing..... medicade is not the same as medi-cal/medicare?
i am still learning about this and all i know is gma is enrolled in SCAN health plan. its time for another break...good night all and thank you so much for listening to me rant & rave and helping me with suggestions and advice.
gma's SCAN healthcare is offering me information on a caretaker's support group to help me(they left msg on my voicemail today) the 2 ladies i've been talking with over the past few months have been so much help to me. i think they feel sorry for me but its ok,,,, i'll take any help i can get since i cant get it from my own family.
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Sam: I hope you realize that you can have POA for gma before the house is paid off. One has nothing to do with the other. Also, your gma can call her lender and speak with them directly about her loan and any mailings that may not be coming to her. She can also call them and tell them that she wants them to talk to you and then you can ask the questions. Just some ideas. Cattails
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Ah yes, that does bring up another issue. As a caregiver you absolutely DO need regular breaks. It may be gramandsam forever, but not without breaks. It is important to establish that pattern now. As the dementia progresses you may not even be able to run to the drug store without having someone watch her. While you are trying to think of what her care costs and how long her funds will last her, realize that you absolutely must be able to get away regularly and that may mean paying an aide or a caregiver or a personal care attendant or a granny sitter ... someone to keep her company and keep her safe.

This business of caregiving for an elder with dementia is more complicated than simply loving the person. There are all the legal issues (POA, hippa release of information forms, wills, medical proxy, etc. etc.) and the medical issues (reduced mobility, possible incontinence, difficulty swallowing or breathing, etc.) and the basics like food and utilities and home maintenance and RESPITE CARE. Also relationships with the rest of the family need to be factored in. Sigh. Caregiving is not for sissies! :D

If you need to be using free handyman services and legal aid, etc., then it sounds like it may make sense to apply for Medicaid sooner rather than later. At least look into it.

And take those breaks you need!
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