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So, our 91-year-old Dad--currently in assisted living--has been officially diagnosed with dementia (Parkinson's and Alzheimer's), and the doctors believe he will need to move into a memory care unit in the next 3 months or so. Although he's got longterm care insurance, it won't cover all the costs, and we are looking at either renting or selling the house (a nice vacation place on Cape Cod). Fortunately, I've got POA, and we have an elder care attorney in the loop. However, what is a bit unclear are the tax implications. The land was purchased in the 1970s, and the house was built in 1982. How do we determine the basis for capital gains? I know the first $250K from the sale can be excluded, but I'm wondering if I have to dig through 30 years of files or if this sort of information would have been filed with the county (or somewhere else).

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Sorry - I accidentally omitted a step. After clicking on "News Feed", you'll see a larger "News Feed" on the left side of the page; to the right of the line is a drop down menu, defaulted to View "All". Click on that drop-down menu, then click on "Message Board."

Hope this helps.
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https://www.agingcare.com/Members/adambravo

Or, in the "My Account" section, click on "News Feed", then click on "Messages."

Your private messages will be on light green background. Other comments and messages are just on plain white background.
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GardenArtist: Where do I read my Private Messages? I can't find a link and the Help section isn't helping...
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Just PM'ed links to an IRS publication on rental income (including vacation homes), as well as some guidelines for record keeping on rental income.

Happy reading! But then, being on Cape Cod, even complex tax publications can be less boring.
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GardenArtist--Thanks! My brother and I will be vacationing on the Cape with our families in late July; I've already warned my partner he may be hanging out with my sister-in-law and nieces while my brother and I get some work done. I confess, I hadn't even thought of taxes on the rental income, but that certainly makes sense.
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Adam, some DIY issues and some attorney issues to consider:

Did your parents keep records of the improvements they made to the house? Did they add on, upgrade, add a pool, enhance the house in other ways? These would be necessary to calculate the basis.

I think you'll have to spend some time calculating alternate scenarios:

1. Getting a few realtors to value the house, determining what the basis is (after deducting the value of improvements), how much capital gain would be realized if the house sold for that value, what any cap gain taxes would be, and how much would be left for your father's long term care.

2. Alternately, assessing and getting quotes for the rental value of a house in a very, very desirable area, calculating any management fees, taxes on rental income, and again doing a cost-benefit analysis to determine if this is a good strategy.

If your elder attorney is in a multi-attorney firm, ask him to bring in a real estate attorney, as these are questions more in that practice area than elder law.

As to your question on whether information would be filed with the county or elsewhere, unfortunately, most of us (including me) don't think about segregating and keeping ledgers on costs for improvement of houses. The data wouldn't be with the county (although the assessed value history might be an indication of when significant improvements were made), but would be in your parents records - checkbooks, paid bills, all that sort of stuff that requires a nice long afternoon of digging, sorting and calculating.

It might be time to combine that sort of paper archaeological hunt with a vacation to Cape Cod.

There might be an additional aspect in that your parents apparently bought the property and improved it with a house. That's beyond my scope of knowledge and I won't hazard a guess on how to calculate it. This is why you'll need a good real estate attorney.
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