Should I feel guilty? -

Should I feel guilty?


Mom's been living with me for a year. She has late stage congestive heart failure. She left her home where she was living with her 'boyfriend' of 47 years. He moved in with her 10 years ago. He'd never been married. Lived in his family home with his mom/dad/brother/sister. His brother is now in a nursing home. His sister has passed away.

I'm his HCPOA and POA. His brother's same if John dies. My mom's HCPOA and POA, and, of course, taking care of her. He controls his brother's $1 million and his own $600K. Until two weeks ago, I paid all the house bills and then gave John the bills and he paid me. I've since put all the utilities in his name. He also gives mom $500 for living in her house. I have to remind him to pay her. He still hasn't paid for August. I'm fairly certain it's because he resents having to pay anything at all. He told me, by rights, she should be paying half the bills -- after all, he says, it's her home.

I want to sell the house. John doesn't want to buy it. I just had it appraised, figuring Medicaid is going to demand a fair sale, and it appraised for $145K. If he doesn't buy the house, I want to give him notice to move -- 60 days maybe -- and put the house on the market.

I'm just not emotionally ready to handle mom's care, shoulder the responsibility of her home, and take care of my own stuff. I've had two cancers: bladder and breast. I always feel like I have one foot on a banana peel. I think many can relate to that. Every ache . . . every pain. You know the drill. My cousin is my HCPOA. We're like sisters. The idea that I could get good and sick and burden HER with mom, mom's finances, mom's home, a tenant (John), my health, my finances, etc., etc., makes me ill to think about. She is a wonderful person and says, "Maggie!! I don't care!!" But it bothers me immensely. She owns three homes herself and travels quite a lot. It would be very burdensome for her.

I'm going to tell him in the next few days what the appraisal came in at (he's expecting it), and if he doesn't want to buy it (he's 85 years old...I told him the RIGHT move is into assisted living--he won't do that), I'm prepared to tell him he has to move so I can sell the house.

Am I being unreasonable?

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Maggie - look after yourself and your mum. You have a lot of health issues. You don't owe this man anything, What Vikki says makes a lot of sense.
Helpful Answer (1)

Oh, my, V. I sense you know someone like him. You have him down to a T. No kidding. Your answer is very helpful. I've read it three times! Thank you so much.
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You hit it on the head. Feel no guilt. John doesn't, that's for sure. He may feel anxiety, he may feel insecurity, but HE does not feel indebted enough to any fellow human being to care if his selfishness and self-centeredness is harming them, or if his utterly failing to make anyone's life even just a hair easier is wearing out his welcome. You can either try to make him aware of the needs of others, which may be hitting your head on a brick wall, and if it is, just do what needs done to force the issue, in good conscience. It is sad for people like John who miss out on the best things in life while doing nothing but trying to cover their own a**es but you know what? YOU didn't decide for him to be that way. YOU didn't personally foster his exaggerated sense of entitlement, and don't need to start now. You should not have to commit to clean up the mess he would likely make of the house if you tried to delegate the responsibility of maintaining it to him, unless you feel up to it. In other words, you could choose to give him the chance to be a good tenant, spelling it out in writing what that would mean, OR you can choose to sell because you need to spend that time and energy on yourself and your mom. He can choose another POA if he wants. He does not own the house, he did not take care of Mom, he did not marry her, and he is not entitled to yet more profit from living in the house for a low rent that he does not even pay on time, and begrudgingly at that. Just my $0.02.

And while I'd agree that getting a new mortgage may not make sense at age 84, if he has that much cash and savings, he could buy a small house with the fenced yard, or go into a condo (if he can find one allowing animals - they would at least do more maintenance and yardwork) for himself outright.
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I'm not sure I've talked about him before, but maybe I have since you know he was an alcoholic 'til about ten years ago. Our relationship is very complicated. He's been in mom's life 47 years. Unless my heart was made of pure stone, I have mixed feelings about him. I don't know why mom stayed with him all those years. He is verbally abusive to her, has taken advantage of her, but I had to make peace with him and, more or less, have done so. He's a complete jerk. He has never done one unselfish thing in his entire life. Still, it'd be hard to just evict him. I pray it doesn't come to that.

Yes, John has plenty of money. He keeps $50K in the house, believe it or not. Has, probably, $600K in the bank. But he's the cheapest man on planet earth. He has no one else in the world except two nieces in Florida (one that calls him twice year/another he never speaks to) and one niece here that just called him three weeks ago after a 4-year silence saying, "Hey! We're family. We have to stick together." It's not hard to figure out why she called now.

John should move. He has no business buying a house at 85 years old. An apartment? Assisted living? Better. But he has a dog; he has a garage; a fenced yard. I seriously doubt that he'd move.

If I rent to him, I'm STILL maintaining the house, even if I make him responsible for all repairs and maintenance. He went w/o kitchen plumbing for almost two weeks while he let the neighbor work on unclogging it every day after he wouldn't have to pay a plumber. Then, because the neighbor felt sorry for poor John, he asked a plumber friend to fix it for nothing. He poor mouths to everyone.

I insisted he give the neighbor $200 (of which, the guy paid $70 to rent a power rodder that didn't solve the problem). He says he gave it to him. I'm not sure I believe it.

He's a user and taker. Period.

If push comes to shove, rather than evict him (he does have full tenant rights), I'd rent him the house. It wouldn't solve my problem, but at least mom would have extra income. If he rents it, though, and two weeks from now breaks a hip or has to be placed in a nursing facility anyway? Then what would I do? It's a mess.

I'm a control freak. You can probably tell by some of my advice. Unfortunately, in this particular instance, with John, I fail the "do as I do" test. Ha!
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Here I go again...after reading my response 2 - 3 times I just thought of something else. Oh, how I wish we could edit!

If I read your 2d paragraph correctly, John has enough to purchase the house for cash. But if he didn't, he might not be able to get a mortgage at his age.
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Maggie, just so I understand...your mother owns the house but she's living with you, and John is living in her house? Without checking older posts, is this the John who was an alcoholic and was a bit on the stubborn side? Sorry if I got him mixed up with someone else on another post. Sometimes it's hard to remember all the details as there's so much posting activity here.

Is he living in Mom's house with or w/o a lease? If there's no lease, I would doublecheck your state's statutes (or a real estate or landlord tenant attorney) to confirm what you have to do to properly evict him.

I assume though that you're going to discuss voluntarily moving out with him first? I think it would just be common courtesy, but you've already developed fallback plans if he doesn't go voluntarily.

And honestly, it's not your responsibility whether he goes into assisted living or rents somewhere else. It's thoughtful of you to be concerned about his living arrangements, but that's his responsibility.

However, at his age and if I'm correct in remembering his temperament, uprooting could be unsettling and traumatic for him, so he may need some time to accept that he needs to make a change.

If he does get stubborn and you become uncomfortable about evicting him, there are some laws that deal with tenant's rights during a sale. All I can remember right now is the phrase "subject to the rights of the existing tenant" which would be in the purchase agreement.

It wouldn't hurt to doublecheck what rights he has, with or without a lease, with an attorney just to cover all bases.

As to guilt, I think you're taking a proactive, reasonable, wise and considerate position. The guilt would come later if you failed to maximize the value of your mother's assets, especially if it precluded her qualification for Medicaid if it were to be considered an income producing asset.
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Oh, and yes, everything I'm doing is getting her ready for Medicaid in case she exhausts her funds. That's why it has to be fair market value. The elder law attorney told me I couldn't even deduct Realtor fees. Medicaid is so unfair. I mean, I get it? I know it's taxpayer money. I understand that people cheat and scheme and lie. But fair market less a Realtor commission sounds perfectly reasonable to me. But, apparently, if the atty is right? It's not reasonable to Medicaid.
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Fair market value is $1600/month. Even at that, expenses (taxes and insurance) amount to $500/month. I don't want to be responsible for repairs and maintenance. The house is 50+ years old. The basement gets water when there's a power outage and the battery back-up runs out . . . usually twice a year or so.

You're right. Letting him rent at market is an option. I thought about letting him do that, but I'm having a hard time getting him to pay just $500 on time. He's just being obstinate, though, since he has plenty of $$. The last thing I would ever do is to rent out a single family home for income. I don't want to be a landlord.

If I absolutely had to, though, that's probably my fallback position. I just don't think I'd look really "good" in landlord-tenant court trying to evict an 86-year-old man. Ha!
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If your mother needed nursing home care or extra help at home to relieve you is their money to pay for that or would you need to apply for Medicaid?
I can see you don't want the responsibility of mom's house but have you thought of john becoming a legal tenent and paying a fair rent. That way he would be responsible for the ulities and Mom would just pay the taxes and repairs. have a lease drawn up so everyone knows where they stand. You would probably have a difficult time evicting him and it would be expensive if you had to take him to court and formally evict. Maybe it is also time for him to select someone else to be his POA. if he has no one a lawyer could do it. Given your precarious health that would be one less thing on your plate. I am assuming at this point you are not married and have no children. If John does agree to buy the house you could make the purchase more attractive by deducting any realtors fees you will other wise have to pay. Reall in his case he has two choices either buy it or rent it. laving things as they are are very satisfactory for him because giving Mom $500 is probably cheaper than the rent he would have to pay at fair market value.
There is absolutely no reason for you to feel guilty you will be giving him two very fair choices especially as he is not keen on assisted living and mom is not begging you to let him move in with you. just giving him notice i think is probably not the right way to go for ease of problem solving.
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i think you know exactly what to do. You are being extremely reasonable. That guilt that creeps in needs to be squashed. Follow your instincts. You are a very smart woman.
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