Can I sell things from my Mom's home to defray costs of her care? -

Can I sell things from my Mom's home to defray costs of her care?


I have DPOA, I am in Georgia.

Thank you

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That's kind of a tough question with out knowing a bit of background.
Does she have any other assets that she can use or are they depleted?
My mom moved from a large townhouse to senior residence to assisted care to my house as her dementia got worse. All her possessions went with her or to my house.
I have one room and part of my garage full of her stuff. I made donations in her name to charities over the years just to make room which were itemized on her tax return. She does not need to file because of her income, but I want records to show her situations for all years. I took away all her jewelry once it became evident she doesn't remember any of it and she started losing diamond rings and such. All I can say is document everything you sell to protect your self from siblings and the feds. If you sell an item of value you may have to prove it was not a gift and you used it to pay for care. If she needs to go on aid the 5 year lookback and spend down policies include assets. This is a gray area because how would anyone know what possessions she had? Just be safe and keep track of where and why the money went. I know this is long winded but there is no clear cut yes or no answer.
Helpful Answer (9)

I did this. The answer to your question, legally, is yes if you are her POA. You can. I wondered about legal ramifications too, so I consulted a lawyer and he confirmed that by doing that I was "doing my duty as POA." My situation was a little more complicated because my mother had willed some rather large items (furniture) to my sister. However, we had to give up her apt. Should could not pay NY rent with all her income going to the nursing home. So I asked my sister to come get the items. She kept making promises, saying she had to "look up prices for Uhaul," promising to cover the cost of rent (which she didn't; I did). Two months later, she hadn't come or called, so I sold it instead of letting the landlord put it out on the street. I took the small and sentimental stuff, but I could't take the furniture. My lawyer said the will was meaningless because it was "a gratuitous transfer with no consideration, with the bright line contengency of my mother's death. " In layman's terms, she had no right whatsoever to the stuff. If it matters, my sister is the "do nothing sibling." I cared for my mother by myself during her illness, spent money, spent my heath, gave up opportunities for better jobs, etc so I could be a good caregiver. In the years of my mother's illness before the nursing home, roughly 2006-2014, she visited about 4 times. Every year she called my mother precisely 5 times (New Years, Mother's Day, her birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.) Yet now she's furious with me and wailed to my husband that she can't believe her "own sister" would betray her like that. She screamed that it's "an injustice of epic proportions." So it can get complicated. Before doing something like this, check your own motives. Are you providing the care and planning to "pay" yourself with the proceeds? If that's the case, you should get your mother's permission and buy-in. That's just the right thing to do. If she's not cool with that, and you can't care for her without the financial help, you should tell her that's why you can't continue, and give her the option of going into a facility, either private pay assisted living or mediciad nursing home. Or perhaps another relative who would do it for free. If your mother is of sound mind, you should allow her the diginity of making this decision. If she's not, that's why she made you DPOA. Use your descretion and d o it wisely. Good luck.
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For what it is worth, I just sold some "important" antiques and some lesser antiques (to make up the fee) at an auction. It was well attended buy buyers and collectors,professionals. when we got the check I nearly keeled over. It was only a fraction of what ewe had expected. apparently the Maine Antiques Digest has a cover article every month about the low value of antiques right now.. According to one story, an item originally purchased for $60K a few decades ago went recently for $18K. I am thanking God that I kept the "most important."

So, again, for what it is worth. These items might not have the dollar value you imagine and might be better kept for the sentimental value to grandchildren.
Helpful Answer (5)

{Q}Can I sell things from my Mom's home to defray costs of her care? {EQ}

Nothing, it seems, is ever simple.
At a caregivers support group two sisters were telling of selling things of their Mom's home to defray costs.
She accompanied them during the sale,
Both had DPOA
Another sister was currently suing them for selling the stuff.

Have a good lawyer and keep records
Helpful Answer (5)

Yep, antiques are not 'valuable' anymore. My MIL was 'forced' into an estate sale by BIL and she thought her beautiful stuff would net a lot. BIL showed her the final net and it was a little over $10,000 including her 10 year old car, which of course had almost no miles on it. The sale included two bedroom sets and old beds are very little. One needed specially made sheets and was 3/4 full size. The thing is, what stuff is insured for is not what it is 'worth'. And estate sales aka estate auctions are notoriously shopped by antique dealers who buy low and sell for profit. Everyone has their own take on 'stuff'. Personally, my memories are in my head. My parents have hung onto so much and my mother is only 20 years older than I am, meaning by the time she gets rid of her things I am going to be doing the same thing! Grandkids do not either a) want it or b) live close enough to come get it. I would offer up to family whatever they might want and after that, you can sell or store or both. I would NOT show her what it sold for, no matter how much she is curious. It will hurt and it can be skirted around, particularly if she has dementia. Life to me is for the living. Storing nice things is hard on them, particularly antiques. If family doesn't want them and you need the cash for your mom, I would sell them. But that's just me.
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When the doctor told my father he could no longer live alone, he had to move out of the house. He moved into an assisted living community. I hired a company to do an estate sale. All that they did not sell was donated to a charity, who picked up the items that same day as the sale We used the money to pay off a few debts. My dad had a reverse mortgage on the house, so the house went to the bank. This went off better than I had expected. I highly recommend an estate sale. It was not until then, that I realized that him having a reverse mortgage was the best thing that could have happened.
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If you have it written by a lawyer, notarized and keep receipts everything you do
Helpful Answer (2)

If the DPOA says the principals agent may sell the principal 's property, then Yes the agent may sell their property. It gets dicey when considering selling things which other siblings or heirs may have wanted to have --but not because of anything the DPOA document says, only because of hurt feelings by heirs. Getting "permissions " from each and every sibling & heir---that could make it seem like they have some powers, which, they Do Not. So, just keep records. And what someone said about the values being a lot lower--very true. My dad had a beautiful saxophone which he said he paid over $8,000 forty years ago; it was worthless when we tried to sell it. Even jewelry -- the insurance value is not the amount a jewelry store would buy it back for. If the Heirs want something very badly (and you would have to Have ESP to know this......) then offer it for sale to them, by a certain date. Of course that invites the Wrath of Other Heirs--exactly why it is a Total Nightmare for a DPOA to accomplish anything, if they ask permission from the heirs (even the "nicest " ones can turn into devils when it comes to gramps saxophone or grams China).
Helpful Answer (2)

butterfly, many people have estate sales when an elder moves into AL or a NH. There is a pennies-on-a-dollar return, but it helps clear the clutter. This is priceless. You will not get anywhere near full market for things unless it is rare. If it is rare and valuable, it would be better to sell it at a good auction.

Yes, it is okay to sell your mother's things to provide for her care if she is not going to be able to return home. The thought of consulting with the other children is a very good one. The price that you will get for most things is not worth the damage that would be caused if feelings were hurt. If someone really wants a certain object, then reserve it for them or let them take it home if everyone is in agreement. And, of course, document where all the belongings are. Medicaid does not consider the value of normal house contents or personal effects if she has to apply for Medicaid on down the road.

Clearing an estate can be a painful thing to do. Each thing can have memories tied into it. It is sad to see a memory-laden piece sell for 50 cents on the final day. I go to a lot of estate sales and always feel sad and respectful of the things that I see.
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Please talk to an Elder Care attorney. I went through the Medicaid process it long and involved. You'll need guidance.
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