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My dad is 94 and many of you have seen his 'progression' here in this forum. Since covid started, he has had to move from assisted living to skilled nursing due to a downturn in his health. We have tried to get him to 2 different memory care facilities but was turned down by both because of his continuing medical needs. His dementia is worsening and he is unable to walk anymore -- he is confined to a wheelchair. He has not been in his house for over a year. It sits like it did since the day he went to the hospital a year ago in September, and was not able to return home. As guardian, I am responsible for keeping it maintained, although I haven't really done much except hire a yard service to maintain the yard. All his stuff is still there and there is no chance he will be able to move home. He is on self-pay at skilled nursing and has enough funds to last a while. I still pay all utilities on it plus property taxes and yard care. The house itself is paid for. I am very afraid of something happening to it. It is an old house. It sits back in the woods in a grove of very large fir trees. In talking to my guardianship attorney this week, she suggested looking into selling it. We are concerned about what the 'basis' might be, however, and if it is going to be too large a tax bill, we might hang on to it. My dad still asks to move home which can't happen. To sell his house would send him into a spiral and because of the guardianship, he will receive copies of all legal papers. This may be more than I can do emotionally and I'm just not sure what to do.

I would get permission from the court and sell the house using your Conservatorship. Maybe you can fib a little about the papers he sees if he has a fit, but one way or the other seems to me to be the best move.

After years of elder care adventures, Both my folks FINALLY went into assisted living in 2017 leaving me with 5 acres and a nasty rundown house full of stuff. I also had Conservatorship. No way was I going to mess around fixing the place up. It would have taken thousands of dollars and not really increased the value very much.

I was only surviving kid, 60 plus years old and 3 states away.

I cleaned out the personal belongings, paperwork, nasty stuff from the fridge, 40 trash bags from the house and garage to the dump, left the old ratty furniture and sold it as is. The land was valuable so it sold for a good price right away.

The money allowed me to keep them in a very nice place and later memory care for dad after mom died. Dad died just last month. Using the house funds I spent over $200K since 2017 for their care.

We get to a point where we can’t let the dementia over rule common sense decisions. I think you’re there.
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Reply to Windyridge
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PrivateCitizen Oct 30, 2020
You are wise! I am looking at selling my own property as I age (71 with medical issues and limits) no family, no kids, and can't maintain a thing myself. An older house in the country always needs upgrades, fixes, new roof, etc... endless yardcare. I seriously am at the point I will just stay... just croak from here, and let my fiduciary take over the sale and dispersal of all items. (Plan ahead and give away special items while I am still cognizant) If we had no 'coronavirus mania' going on deciding to sell and move away would have been a lot easier!! Now it is an enormous hurdle to even 'shop' for a small condo, apt, or plan for assisted living any distance from where I live.. There are millions of boomers like me, aging with few family, or none, to help... I can SEE why elderly just want to stay put and not bother to move or change, less motivation the mor sluggish we get.
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I was made POA for a married couple friends of mine in 2013. The wife had frontal temporal dementia, the husband short term memory issues that kept him from processing the changes in his wife, who was the chief organizer in their relationship. It took me a long time to convince him it was time to move to the memory care apartment I had found for them, but when she became incontinent and started to wander at night and needed 24 hour care, I finally convinced him and they moved there in May, 2015. They were never coming back to their two bedroom condo with a two car garage. The wife lived to the end of October, 2015 as her mind was just shutting down and she could no longer swallow food.
I began going through all their stuff to decide what I should do. I had antique buyers come to buy some of the old antique furniture. I had native American friends of theirs come to take whatever other furniture they could use--for free. I moved some of their family heritage stuff--old photos, etc, to my house to eventually get to a relative. Then had the carpets cleaned, some damaged windows replaced and put it on the market. That took 2 1/2 years. Low value housing was in great demand and the second couple who saw it bought it. All the money went directly to the husband's bank account and helps pay for his costs. The day of their move, a friend took them out for breakfast in a nearby town, then to have their nails done. During this time, we were moving their furniture to their memory care apartment and arranged it just like they had it in their condo. Everything was familiar and when the reluctant-to-move husband saw his favorite recliner facing his same tv with the couch in the same place and the same pictures on the wall, he sat down with a sigh to relief and never said a word about living in a different place.
I never told him all I was doing to deal with their condo and I made sure any money I got went right to their bank account and never took a cent for myself. It was a lot easier this way and they had given me this authority, so I used it. I was retired and had the time and I loved giving this service to my friends.
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PrivateCitizen Oct 30, 2020
What a wonderful and loving thing you have done! I'd want you in MY life!! Just having a miracle friend like you was such a blessing for them... the more I read these stores of changing living spaces to meet needs makes me realize we have to plan and prepare, at least be ready with making decisions when needed.
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Unoccupied home insurance? My homeowner's went from $1,300.00 a year to $4,500.00 a year.
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Babs75 Oct 26, 2020
An that will be another reason to let it be sold, Thanks,
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Either rent the house or sell it. Why are you holding onto an unoccupied house when you know that he will never return?

You risk having the home occupied by squatters or wild animals.
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With regards to your siblings, the money realized from the sale after taxes are paid is used for dad's care, correct?

Please remind them for me that it doesn't become an inheritance until the testator is dead.

"Inheritance" is an unseemly word to utter before probate.
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If you can legally sell his home without him knowing, then I wouldn't tell him when you sell it. I sold my 87yo mother's home several months after taking care of it for two years. Honestly, I thought my mother would pass and then there would be no guilt in selling it. She has severe dementia and unable to walk and will never have "gotten better." If she asks about the house, I say "the house looks great." But since COVID and our brief visits, the house has never come up. I suspect it won't anymore. If you can sell it without your father's knowing, that's what I would do.
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Babs75 Oct 29, 2020
We're meeting my realtor there tonight to give us an idea of what type of fixes we need to make. The house is old. There's no way I'm going to be a landlord. We're still working on figuring out the tax implications of this and what tax will be owed. I need to have this figured out before I present the idea to my 3 siblings (this directly affects their inheritance and I know I will take heat for it) even though none of them have lifted a finger to help maintain it (it was not our house growing up - it was my dad's wife's house when they married in the 1980's). Right now since I can't see dad becaise of Covid, we don't talk much. My concern is that once things open up (which they partially have here), and I am able to see him again, the questions will start.
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Get legal advice from an attorney and do you know if he is a candidate for hospice? The MC's that I know accept hospice patients, as long as they don't require IV's.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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When my parents were no longer going to live in their house, my sister and I sold it and put the money in their trust account, from which their nursing home expenses were paid. The house was in excellent condition but not in an area in which it would be likely to appreciate in value--other properties for sale in that area take a long time to sell. The next-door bought it and is using it as a rental property. Neither my sister nor I had any desire to keep the house, because we don't live near the area nor have a desire to do so.

I figured that a house generates expenses while securities in the trust fund generate income, so it was an easy decision.
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Reply to jacobsonbob
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Since you write there is no chance for your dad to move back, do whatever causes the least stress for YOU.

If you have siblings, I would ask someone to take the lead on cleaning out the house. (This will need to be done eventually anyway). If you choose the fussiest/most headstrong sibling for this difficult task, there will be less fussing later (complaining that you had not completed this process and thus deprived them of quick receipt of their portion).

Home prices and interest rates are favorable now.
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HVsdaughter Oct 29, 2020
"...no chance for your dad to move back, do whatever causes the least stress for YOU." AMEN. No one knows the ENTIRE situation better than you. And you and your health and well-being matter, too.
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I’d suggest that you donate the 2 cars soon so it’s in this tax year. Plus 2 less things to deal with & you don’t need to go back to court to do it.

On the house, if the gains are too heavy to warrant a sell, Im going to approach this from a different angle.... forget about the “house”, it’s all about the land. If it’s more than likely to be a tear down, then get it ready for that eventuality, so no real repairs, no big maintenance, no bringing anything up to newsy codes. Nothing done to make it more traditionally market ready. Just the minimal upkeep.
If he has funds for next 2 years to pay for all things house and his MC, the house will outlive him. Inheriting it is always the better financial option. Plus you’d have to deal with new legal to his guardianship & it sounds sticky & exhausting, I’d avoid selling it if it was at all feasible.

You’ll need a Vacant Dwelling Policy & as others have said they are not exactly inexpensive even tho it’s basically just a fire policy. You may need to get a few quotes to find one that’s reasonable.
I agree with the others on getting it winterized, so it can be shut down with minimal utility & plumbing worries. If it has a fireplace, I’d suggest that you get a chimney pro to secure it so no surprise woodland creatures as tenants. They can do amazing amount of damage.
The stuff in the house, it’s not your childhood is it? It’s your dads late wife’s home & collections, right? I’d do a registered letter to her daughter about her taking all that she wants from the place. Yes even tho she said she wanted nothing. It’s a CYA Justin Case.
Is her daughter at all a heir? Or if it was sold now, is she expecting some of the $ as it was her mother’s fully paid for home at the time of remarriage? Is this a factor in you dads not wanting it sold?
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Babs75 Oct 26, 2020
Yes, the house will probably outlive him as long as nothing happens to it. Those big trees really worry me! Not to mention if one falls on a neighbors house. I don't want to end up in some sort of legal issue.

The house was not my childhoood house. It belonged to his wife and it was their daughter's childhood house. Her name is not on the deed nor is she an heir to his estate. I suspect we may have an issue with her. I have never trusted her and I tolerate her at best. My dad is clinging on to old memories.
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