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I’ll try and make this short. My sister and her husband live in mom’s house. Mom is retired, 82 and has short term memory loss and now, cancer. I live out of state and visit as much as I can, talk to her every day and offer some financial assistance. My sister because she helps pay mortgage and is a care giver tells me she owns the house with her husband. She is also POA. Though mom is still alive I made it very clear sister does not own the house until mom is no longer with us she is adamant that she and husband are partial owners. Paying mortgage does not make one the owner but she doesn’t let it sink in. I wanted to visit and spend more time with mom as I do not have the financial resources to pay for hotels this would be the best option. I would assist with some bills and spend time with mom walking, cooking etc. (whatever needs to be done). I am told I can stay at the house only after her my sister speaks to her husband. Now there have been NO domestic disputes whatsoever and I have no criminal record. Sister has a type a persona and controls all around her with an iron fist, unfortunately I do not agree. Given my mom’s fragile situation I did get upset over the issue and told her via phone. What legal reason does my sibling have to contest she owns the house and not allow family to stay? Sorry I’ve no one to turn to and I am frustrated that she acts in such poor manner given there are only the three of us left alive in the family sister, brother and mom. Any tips or opinions would be gladly reviewed even if not in my favor. Thanks!

If you can't afford a hotel then how much 'financial assistance' are you offering? Why not save up the money for your sister and her husband to go to a hotel for a few days while you stay with mom, if that is your goal- I bet they would jump at that....in the meantime stop arguing with your sister about who owns what. It is an exercise in futility at this point. You don't need to be 'right', even if you are. And for all you know she could have signed a quit claim deed and just haven't filed it.
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As POA is it possible to sign the house over to 'someone else'? Is it possible that is what happened?
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I saw in the thread that you were getting a heavy brow beating and felt everyone was siding with your sister. I’m not going to brow beat you, but I’m going to suggest maybe putting yourself in her shoes. Just in the couple of months I’ve started handling my mothers business matters and care I can tell you what your sister is doing is a thankless, unpaid and trying task. She’s keeping your mother afloat financially while ensuring she is getting care and probably providing meals and cleaning as well as transportation. My brother feels a lot like you do about your sister. He feels like I’m being controlling because I have a POA and access to her financials and I will not answer his questions about them. It is fishy to ask for balances and transactions. I do nothing with her accounts and simply help her utilize them to pay her bills when she’s in lucid moments. I try to give her those opportunities to make her own decisions so she doesn’t feel like a child which is why I blot him out of that knowledge. He insists she’s 100% dementia and I know she is not because I interact with her daily which is why he isn’t making medical decisions besides the fact my wife is a medical practitioner and the source I get some direction from. I know this means a hill of beans to you but my point is, when I’m handling everything it’s a very big wrench to throw in my routine to suddenly jump in or out of the picture when it’s convenient for him. I have to try to bring him up to speed then he argues and it just turns into a heated argument which i refuse to engage in.

While the home situation is different and she’s currently in a skilled facility getting rehab, she will not be able to go home after this and we are making accommodations for her to move into our home which is also our farm. I can see where if my brother was just telling me “hey I’m coming to visit mom for a week tomorrow and staying there (which is totally how he would operate)” I would be a bit put off and tell him I need to discuss with my wife. He has no idea what appointments, errands we have to take her to or what’s on our schedule.
try something like “hey sis, I want to visit mom, would you mind letting me stay a few days and when would be a good time?” You get more bees with honey than you do with poo, which mainly just brings flies. I’m running a lot of errands for her, interfacing with her attorney, doctor, rehab care team and handling her business affairs. Because of this I already have little time to myself because my wife can’t really help since she sees patients all day and can’t just take off work whenever. Perhaps your sister is just wore down and spends her free time caregiving and her husband pitches in after he gets off work and that’s why she’s checking with him, because she wants to say “do you think we can make some time for brother or should we make plans for another time soon.”

cooler heads prevail
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KNance72 May 16, 2024
My Friend Use to say " You will get further ahead with Honey than vinegar . " Something Like that .
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It sounds like your sister is acting that way out of resentment of having to be the main caregiver. Does not make her home owner though.
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AlvaDeer May 16, 2024
I try to be really mindful on this site that we are hearing one side of the story.
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I am thinking that SonSun may have slunk away into the sun setting in the west.
Haven't seen a response in a few days. I think perhaps our message has gotten through.
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Beatty May 15, 2024
Interestingly the last para of the question requested any tips, even if not in my favour...
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Maybe the house was gifted to sister? Or mom put her on deed when she still was able to decide these things? Sister living there w husband & 24/7 caregivers. They’re both doing mother and you a favor. They’re keeping her out of nursing home longer. I’d just say to sister and husband, “Thank you!” Hugs 🤗
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BurntCaregiver May 16, 2024
I hope that is what happened. That the mother gifted the home to her caregiver daughter and SIL.
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You wrote "I am told I can stay at the house only after her my sister speaks to her husband."

This sounds perfectly reasonable to me. He's already living with his ill elderly mother in law (albeit in mil's home). They are probably established in a routine which would, no matter how much you help, be disrupted by your overnight stays.

The ownership piece sounds like a separate issue. It does not sound to me like she said "I now own the house therefore you cannot stay". She said she had to speak with her husband. She may not have a legal reason to do this. She has a "protect our peace" and "keep things as routine as possible" reason to do this.

Otherwise we'd be hearing from a husband saying "my wife and I care for my elderly mother in law who has cancer and memory issues. She just invited her sister to stay with us without discussing it with me."

That's my opinion, tho not in your favor. Perhaps at this point your sister and brother in law have said yes it's OK!
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I understand that the sister and husband live in the house and care for Mom. Yes, its their home and now place of residence. But...if not on the deed, its not their house. Mom pays half the mortgage and so does sister. So, if Mom wants OP to stay at her house she has the right to invite him. This goes both ways. If sis wants company she has a right. This has nothing to do with who cares for Mom. OP just wants to visit his Mom.

I so hope before sister agreed to this arrangement, a contract was signed. I have a feeling when they moved in Mom did not need as much care as she does now. Reason why Sis pays half the Mortgage. It was a win win situation. You can't blame OP. Maybe its time to talk about a new arrangement.
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Jettalove May 25, 2024
Could half the mortgage be considered rent?
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You should be thankful Your sister and Husband care for your Mother . Why can't your Mother stay in your home for a couple weeks ?
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Would you agree if you rented a place from someone, you would still get say in who comes into your home to visit? That a relative of the owner would not be allowed to demand to stay with you in your home just because they were related to the owner?

Whoever has ownership in this case doesn't negate your sister's rights as a resident of the home. Ownership is really an issue once mom has passed, and her estate - if there's anything left - has to be distributed. While mom is still living? And sister lives with her - and is her caregiver? She has a right to say she doesn't want the added burden of house guests, regardless of how helpful those guests are, or at least perceive themselves to be. Because if mom is to the point where she needs a live in caregiver, her hostess days are over, and the onus will fall onto your sister.

In the meantime, why don't you offer to host a visit, if mom is able to travel?
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casole May 15, 2024
I should have read all the replies first I just said almost the same thing. Two separate issues. I like the idea of OP hosting mom, and give sis some respite!
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We can't discern who owns the house without checking the deed, but it is your sister's home. She has her hands full caring for your mother and you staying in the house will likely add to her burden, preparing a guest room, cooking, cleaning etc. She does get a say in that whether she owns the house or not. Stay in a hotel and try to be a help.
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I'm sorry that your relationship is deteriorating with your sister. Do not spend your money on your mother's care, save it for when your own old age. Someday this will be you and you will need it.

As far as the house goes, who is on the deed? That is the person who owns the it. Did your mother sign the house over to your sister? Is there a will where she has bequeathed the house to your sister?

If you visit, stay in a hotel and visit briefly periodically throughout the year. It's apparent you are not needed as a caregiver so leave it alone. Concentrate on being a loving daughter to your mother.

Good luck to you.
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It is so sad to read the difficulties you are going through with your sister. The most important thing right now is you have as much quality time and love as you can with your Mom. The pain at the moment for you is heartbreaking and in time sadly, this will be worse. My advice to you is to please consider respectfully approaching your Sister. Stay in a hotel, or hostel of some sort, this shouldn’t be expensive. Take time to have quality time and make some more memories with your Mom whilst her capacity and health is as stable as can be at this tender, fragile time xx

It will be so hard for your Sister to manage your upset and emotions just now, because she is trying to keep your Mom alive, and this is what she will be doing 24/7. Her own life will be on hold every day and the thought of consideration to care for another family member will be so difficult for her, so please consider taking food and a few nice gifts for Mom and Sister (little afternoon tea and cake), something for them as a unit together, then wait for a nice response back from your Sister x It will be hard for you to understand what your Sister is going through just now, but trust me it’s the hardest job in the world x nobody understands unless you are there xx I live with my 95 year old Father and I am his only care giver and I have a Sister too from a far causing challenges. So please I understand this might be so difficult for you, but please as I have tried to encourage my sister with meals and food when she visits and she pushes them away in front of me, please don’t be this type of sister, please open your arms and say what can I do to help you, because you are doing the hardest job of all x you need your Mom right now, you need photos together, time to hold her hand, time to look in her beautiful eyes x do not take your sadness and grief out on your sister x who cares about the house, Mom is the most important and assets get in the way of love and time is crucial right now for you, before it is too late, please xx do not be bitter, envious or hard x you need your lasting memories of holding your Mom now and I am sure your Sister will encourage this if there wasn’t any challenge for her xx please think this through…please for YOU xx
Take care, please try to look after you so you can manage approach to Sister and hold your Mom again xxx
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Jacquelinezr May 15, 2024
That was a thoughtful, lovely reply with a lot of kindness and wisdom. I hope OP listens and takes it to heart.
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You should not be spending your own money to help pay bills for your mother . You are not responsible for your mother’s bills. Use the money for a hotel . You are better off since you and sis don’t see eye to eye. A lawyer can answer some of your other questions. Some lawyers will give a free one hour consultation .
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SonSun: Pose this question to an attorney.
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Okay, here are a few things:
1. This is your sister and brother-in-law's home you are talking about. Regardless of who originally purchased the home, they live here with your mother's blessing and they take care of the property (and her). It's their home. Why shouldn't guests in the home be subject to their approval?
2. From your description, your sister is mother's POA and sole caregiver. She's doing the heavy lifting, in my book that gives her the right to expect respect for her wishes and decisions.
3. I don't understand why she felt the need to defend her position including details on what expenses she and her husband pay toward your mother's and the home's upkeep. Could it be that you reacted aggressively to the information that she wished to speak to her husband about your visit?
4. As a mom myself, I assume that your mom would like for you and your siblings to get along and not create tension in the house during your visit. Now that she is sick, it is essential for her health and welfare as well that things remain calm. From the outside looking in, it doesn't seem like a good idea to have you there at all if this is what's going to happen.
5. What are you trying to accomplish here? I understand that you may feel sister is trying to shut you out by denying you a place to stay. Fighting with her about it is not only not likely to make her see things your way, but defeats the very purpose of a visit, which hopefully is intended to be helpful and a comfort to your mom.

I don't know if you are married, but I can tell you that consulting one's spouse before agreeing to something that will affect the spouse as well is considerate and thoughtful. Why didn't you just thank her and tell her you'll wait to hear back?

At this point, I'd either postpone this visit or plan to stay in a hotel. Try again later with a different approach.
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I've read quite a few comments, but not all because it was getting a bit too heated.

OP, if your sister is looking after your mum in the house that she is also contributing to, then she does have a right to say who comes and stays there, even if your mum still has capacity (although that must be limited, considering her loss of short term memory).

I think that it's unfortunate that she said she needs to discuss it with her husband - that would rankle with me, too, as he's not immediate family.
However, it seems that you and your sister rub each other up the wrong way. So, perhaps she didn't want a confrontation at that point.

The reason I think that about your relationship is that you have pushed your sister to give you information that cannot be given, regarding the POA, the will, and the financial arrangements.
It's a shame that you aren't sharing this together, but not all families are like that.

If your finances aren't great, then don't put yourself into difficulty by contributing to your mum's. If you really cannot afford to stay in a motel, then tell your sister how much you miss your mum, but you can't afford to visit if you don't stay over a couple of nights.

Instead of demanding because it's your mum's property, ask your sister because it's her home. However, you will have to abide by her decision - because it is her's to make.

I don't think that you have any rights, here, and I also think that you might be underestimating how much care your mum really needs.

I didn't realise that my brother was unaware how weak Mum had become, or how much her cognitive abilities had deteriorated, until he came with me to visit her in hospital and I talked to him afterwards about the DNR order. It all came as quite a shock to him.

At first he seemed angry with me, as if I had withheld this information, but then he realised I knew because I'm there all the time, while he sees her infrequently with phone calls in between. Mum was able to put on a good front for those short and sweet visits, but she could never keep it up.

It's possible that your mum does the same.

I hope that you can find acceptance and make peace with your sister. My best wishes for your mum's health.
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Don't send financial support and save that money to stay in a hotel. Personally, I don't let anyone stay in my house. I care for my 89 year old mother and family and friends can come visit, but I won't let anyone stay in the house bc I simply don't like it. Period. So make it easy on everyone and just save the money to stay in a hotel. I don't mean this in an ugly way, but thank God you're not the caregiver because it's incredibly hard and takes over your life. And careful that your sister doesn't fool your mother and start paperwork to eventually take the house. I'm not saying she will, but she may. Again, being caretaker is a brutal job and your sister got stuck with it.
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NeedHelpWithMom May 14, 2024
So true, the last thing that a caregiver needs is to have guests in their home.

I cared for my mother too. I stopped hosting holiday gatherings in my home because I needed a break!

People who have never been in a caregiving situation have absolutely no idea how difficult it becomes.

In fact, one of my favorite Thanksgiving dinners was when I announced to my family, “This year I will be walking on the beach in Florida!”

I told my brothers that I wasn’t cooking but they were more than welcome to come stay with mom while I was gone, and cook dinner for her. To my delight, they did! If they hadn’t, I had arranged to hire someone to stay with Mom.

I loved my mother dearly but my gosh, we need to take breaks from caregiving to maintain our own wellbeing.
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I can see where because sister pays half the Mortgage and cares for Mom, she feels the house is hers. But legally, it belongs to the person on the deed not who pays the Mortgage. If only Moms name is on the deed, then the house is Moms. Mom also has some say in who can stay in the home if both Mom and sister are on the deed.

Lets say sister is on the deed with Mom. If Mom passes, half the house is Moms estate. Meaning if she has left her half of the house to both of you, sister will own 3/4 of the house. If Sis is not on the deed and Mom passes leaving the house to both of you, you each will own half. As said, look at Moms tax bill, if only Moms name, then the house is Moms. All your sister is doing is helping Mom pay her expenses. If Mom has left sister the house, it does not belong to sister until Mom passes. Mom still owns it and has say in who can and who cannot stay in her home.

All 3 of you need to see a lawyer to explain to sister what is what.
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I went through most of the things that you're saying but I was the POA and this put me in the same situation as your sister. Sister only gets whatever, after mom passes away and believe me there's nothing extra she's going to get after all she's been doing! If mom has cancer, sister will probably end up selling the home to continue moms care. The will that you're so concerned about had to be notarized by someone so go to them! I'm not saying that she's right or wrong but she has no obligation to tell you. My mother had 6 garbage bags full of papers that I had to sort through in order to do her taxes and all I kept hearing was "where's the will??" I gave him a copy, then it was how much money does she have?? I told him that too! He still wasn't satisfied so I said "fine, you be POA!" No,don't want that responsibility. He drove me nuts!!! Like I don't have anything else to do??? I moved her to assisted living/MC, no help from him and sold the house( removed the contents out and cleaned) and arranged the funeral along with doing all her financial accounts for years. Then it was where's my share!!! It was equally divided and all I received was grief! He didn't like the way I handled it? Law says you can't have any distribution for 30 days after death, I had to hold onto some because of taxes and overpayment of SS that needed to be returned. I finally got it done. I was set back financially by leaving work for Dr appointments and leave of absence to clean the house along with any other thing she needed. You just have to understand that she has a lot going on and to be patient. I've disowned my brother after mom died, I can't forgive him for being such a pain in my butt! He kept saying I can't trust you,but Mom did. I didn't ask to be POA ,I didn't want it but it was designated to me. You should be grateful that you still have a mom! When you become a caregiver you lose that relationship. Your sister is now a financial advisor, Healthcare coordinator. She won't have the love and attention that you can enjoy. You can't please everyone and sister needs to take care of herself in order to be there for Mom. Don't make waves,for moms sake too!
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If the question is simply whether your sister owns the house then I agree with FAWNBY's advice:

"Go online to the county tax records, county clerk's office and/or registrar of deeds to look up the property. The search will be free on the county's site. Owners will be listed."

Public records will show you exactly who owns the property. Once you have this information, I would tread lightly (especially if your mother is sole owner) because your sister can very easily begin the process to have your mother change the deed totally to your sister and her husband's names.

As far as affording a hotel you state you "offer some financial assistance". If it were me, I would consider using some of that money to pay for a hotel because hopefully the time you spend there would provide some respite for your sister and her husband. If the respite time is coordinated with your sister, that may be worth more than the financial assistance. After consideration, she may decide she would rather provide a place to stay instead of losing that financial assistance.
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Wait till sister discovers upon moms death that mortgage payments will have no bearing with probate that she will get more ownership if both are beneficieries. You can also go alone for a consult if you have a copy of her papers and get the title information. If you want to get clarification with your mom, it might be too late for changes. I hope her papers went through a lawyer rather than simple wills done online. It depends on state laws which you and sister might want to review. In my state, seperate from a will, unless the house title is specifically worded, others might also hold title. Imagine that?
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Who is the house left to in her will? I would think that would determine ownership.
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BurntCaregiver May 14, 2024
@Isabelsdaughter

You would be mistaken. A Will only determines who owns something after the original owner has passed on. The mother in this case is still living, so it's still her house unless she has made other arrangements.
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Let me make sure I get this right.

Your sister and her husband take care of your 82 year-old mother who has dementia and now cancer FOR FREE while also contributing financially to the household by paying the mortgage.

This is correct?

You have the audacity to complain about such a sweet, sweet deal where they take care of all the caregiving, and help with bills, and no one asks you for a damn thing.
Yet you expect them to make accommodations for you and family when anyone decides to visit.

Shame on you for being such an entitled ingrate.

I don't know you or your sister, but I'll tell you what I'd do in your sister's situation.
I'd get mom down to a lawyer right quick and have her Will changed and get my name put on the mortgage. I did do this. My mother was getting older and had made some bad financial decisions. I was able to help out otherwise the property would have been lost. I made sure it was all done legally so there'd be no question and no room for argument on who owns the property.

Your sister is not the one acting in a poor manner. You are. Maybe you'd do better to call her and ask if you can come and stay. Offer to buy groceries for the week and cook if she lets you come. Maybe actually express a little gratitude to your sister for taking care of your mother and don't start up with the 'you don't own the place' routine. Don't lay it on your sick elderly mother either to be the referee in your sibling rivalry.

Recap:

-Try treating your sister and her husband with a little gratitude and basic respect. Maybe actually say THANK-YOU to them for all they do.

-Offer to buy a week's worth of groceries and do the cooking for a week if they let you come and visit. Offer to help out with some of the caregiving and household chores too
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Jacquelinezr May 14, 2024
Yes to everything here!!
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This is a legal issue. Contact an attorney re legal ownership of the house.
Perhaps she/husband are 'partial owners' for paying the mortgage although this is a legal matter and partial owners isn't a legal document or phrase (as far as I know). It is possible - perhaps - that your sister put her name on the mortgage documents and/or Deed to the house and had your mother sign it. This is something you need to ascertain.

Clearly, your sister doesn't want you in the house. The question to you is why? As I presume you do not know, you need to discuss with her. If she has the house keys ... you live out of state ... she has access and certainly more 'control' and decision making regarding the house and your mother.

As far as I can tell, these are two 'intermingling' separate issues.
Advice: see an attorney if you feel your rights are being violated.

Whatever financial assistance you offer, be sure everything is documented / in writing.

Gena / Touch Matters
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BurntCaregiver May 15, 2024
Gena

There's no need for the OP to go to a lawyer. A lawyer can't do anything for her because he will have no access to the mother's Will or any other legal documents she may have done concerning her property or anything else.

The mother and the caregiver sister are not criminals. They do not have to appease the OP by being fully transparent about what the mother will do with her property or if there is special arrangements or some kind. The only way the OP or whatever lawyer she wastefully retains will get access to any of the mother's private files like Wills or POA's while she's living is if they are subpeoned by court-order. No judge is going to do that because some entitled, petty, spoiled adult gets their drawers in a twist over some sibling rivalry.
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Sad situation altho
don’t think too uncommon - amazing how even family can change when moneys involved - so many in work going thru similar stuff.
haye to say this but I really think the only course of action is legal
speak to a legal and find out your rights then maybe a stern letter from a solicitor
it doesn’t sound like your sister is a reasonable person you can talk to legal may be the only solution but keep that quiet - find out your rights
I imagine your sister has rights paying mortgage -even renters have rights if you allow them to stay at your property so speak to legal - even free legal advice if available and find out where you stand
In the meantime don’t discuss this with your sister in event she counters anything you say/do.
its a delicate situation. I have a school friend now living in Ireland. Her and her husband live in the family house - parents no longer alive
and her husbands family turn up using the house as a hotel
that sister has also forgotten that Altho she lives there that the house does not belong to her - but also her family just turning up disrupts her life and privacy

it’s a delicate situation - no one wants anyone just turning up living where they live invading their space - but they were fortunate to be allowed to live in accommodation - granted with added responsibility of your mother but easy to see how they consider that their home and the thought of others even family just invading their privacy-they’ve forgotten it wasn’t /isnt actually their home and other members still have a ‘stake’ so to speak

I take it your mother hasn’t done a will at all ?
you need to find out your rights
then hopefully an explanation/peaceful reminder to your sister may then generate a compromised solution, bearing in mind your sisters right to privacy as well and also your rights to visit your mother
it can get messy so try and be tactful talking about it and maybe you’ll get a win win solution
good luck
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BurntCaregiver May 15, 2024
@Jenny

The mother is still living. She may even still be mentally competent enough to make decisions.

That being said and so, the OP has no 'rights' over her mother or her mother's property. Even if she is sick or has dementia, she clearly arranged for her own old-age care before she needed it. Her daughter and SIL take care of her free in her home.

If the mother in this case was smart and organized enough to arrange and plan for her old age care needs, she may very well have arranged her estate well also. The caregiver daughter pays part of the mortgage on the house. There may very well be a special arrangement in legal writing about that and I hope there is.

No one owes the OP anything here.
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Daugther moved in with Mom & is providing daily care.

Therefore, Mother's home is now also Daughter's home. (Not talking ownership or financial - just sense of *home*).

Son lives futher away, not able to be in the daily care team.

The Son does not live with Mom therefore is a guest in her home.

Guests are not entitled to invite themselves.

Good guests use manners to ask when/if appropriate to stay & pay for their own accomodation if not convenient.

To me it reads that SonSun feels entitled to *belong* in Mom's house due to... what?

Due to assumption that Mom's Will notes him as a part beneficiary to her property when she dies. That this THOUGHT (be it truth, assumption or imagination) overrides any right his Sister & her Husband have about who stays overnight in their now home/personal space.

See how that reads? Crazy.

SonSun, you said you view your sister as bossy & controlling, right?
Maybe she finds you bossy & entitled?
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SonSun May 10, 2024
I never said I was entitled perhaps you didn't understand.

My mom is still very coherent however the sister as you and Alva are clearly have sided with based on your reply over rides my mothers decisions. She mom is not senile and still able to make decisions.

I pulled up the deed and its a life estate deed on the house which means if the original guarantor still lives in the house it is clearly their house.

I never stated I had access to the will so again your assuming and I am very aware I have no power over what ever mom wrote in it. That was her choice. Am I clear on that?

Again bossy? Beatty you should have your head checked as I never made one comment here indicating I was bossy merely the fact is it was the opposite way around. So how can one try and get along with family that is controlling ever single move one makes in their presence?

Calling someone crazy is clearly uncalled for and I am surprised how quickly your passing the judgement. Are you a licensed psychologist? I am sure not so please do not use that sort of vitriol.
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Does your mom have a will? If so, that will outline who gets what. Unless your mom signs the house over to your sister, it wouldn't change the will or your mom's estate. Since your mom is probably not mentally competent, your best option may be to contact a lawyer to see what your rights are.
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Tip- Play nice with sister and don't demand things you are not entitled to at the moment. Your sister holds the power here, you need to be agreeable to her so I would focus on mending or improving your relationship with her.
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SonSun May 10, 2024
I have tried but theres only so much condescension one can tolerate. Really I tried to be very diplomatic and swallow my pride.
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SonSun,

You said:

"Any tips or opinions would be gladly reviewed even if not in my favor. Thanks!"
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Reply to Sendhelp
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