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After giving up everything and moved in with my aunt being her caregiver I did find a letter of agreement that we both signed in 2012 stating that she would leave me her house if anything should happen to her, death or relocating for health reasons. She is now in a nursing home and the stepdaughter now pops up wanting everything. She wants things taking out the house to give to other family members, has slandered me and had my 88 yr. old aunt take power of attorney for her because she lives in another state. wants to remodel the house so she can sell it saying it will be for her expenses. She has plenty of money and would not even remodel the house for her disability needs but will remodel if to sell. It will be cheaper to remodel for disability needs and she can be home instead of a facility. she wants me out and I have exhausted all my finances taking care of her and work done to the house because It was promised to me. She left the house to her in a living will and deceived me, just plain out lied. all these years and never received any money and about to be out. she changed her mailing address and will soon take the utilities out of her name although I have been paying the bills all these years. I did my part of the agreement shouldn't she be responsible to keep her part although she left it to her step daughter? No one ever offered or came to help when asked, never even stayed here for 24 hours in dam near 5 yrs. Now wants it all.

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RainMom, thanks so much for the compliment. I rock all right, sometimes when my feet roll around and I look like I'm walking like a chicken!
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Okay - off topic but I gotta say it: GardenArtist, you rock! All those smarts and a green thumb too!!! You are an impressive lady, indeed!
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losimons, your patient did something very deceptive in leaving you a house she no longer owned. This makes me think she had some sort of dementia when she agreed to sign it over. The document drawn up in 2006 with an attorney will carry greater weight. Sorry, but she can sign over the Brooklyn Bridge, too, thinking it is hers.
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A caregiver might be able to wander about a home but not leave the home!
So a security guard should not be paid since he never shoots anyone and just walks around too.
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Mallory is correct and has given some great advice. Living Wills do not address property, neither does POA and POA ends at the persons death. A Will/Trust is what you need to find out about. I would also guess that your document if done properly was valid, since she was clear of thought & mind at that time and needed someone to take care of her - and since the POA did not perform their duties in stepping up to assist in any way I think their lack of diligence could be held against them. I would definitely seek that and cover your bases documenting everything, with witnesses that you have done for her as Mallory suggests. Don't give up, I don't think she deceived you, I think the other person sat back and just let you do all the work and waited for a opportunistic windfall.
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I'm wondering how 2012-2015 (or maybe it was only thru 2014) became 5 years, and did Losi take care to keep a time log of actual working hours and what work was done? Also documentation by outsiders, such as clinic notes "auntie was in clinic for her flu shot accompanied by niece Losi". My point is, it sounds like some sort of Caregiving Agreement was signed, in 2012. But even with such an agreement, there has to be a record that the work was performed.....it's not enough that Losi (or any carer) simply had a bedroom in the seniors house. There had to be some type of recorkeeping done, phone records are one way to "prove" you were calling to make doctor appts or refill prescription, etc. (my cell carrier has 6 months records, landlines has none). Also did you take photos of you & auntie at doctor, out shopping, anything like that? Or were most of your hours just sitting at her house in case something "happened " but most of the time you were free to do what you wanted. Questions like that might make a difference to trying to get compensation for a caregiving Agreement. I hope the Agreement specified an hourly wage or weekly salary, because simply getting the entire house, at some future date and in uncertain condition, is very vague, and what if the house were blown away in a hurricane, would the insurance company write the check out to you, I don't think so.....
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Oh, phoeey. the post escaped before I finished it.

Eliminate the last 2 lines. Should read:

c. Aunt's residence (specify temporary or permanent) changed from her domicile to a (specify facilities...SNF, AL, IL, etc.); and/or

d. Aunt relocated domicile out of state for purposes of health.

These would also be described in more detail.

4, A Warranty Deed would be executed and attached as an exhibit to the Agreement, the original should generally be escrowed with an attorney, or an outside party who could handle recording of the original should one of the events occur.

5. The Agreement would be recorded so that it documented an intent to convey the property and could be viewed as a public record.

Yes, it should be witnessed by parties unrelated to either Aunt or Losi, and acknowledged by each that she entered the agreement of their own free act and deed (standard language for acknowledgments would be used).


I'm still thinking about the issue of a PN being a claim against an estate. I need to think about that as well as the other issues following that statement.

Just to add a few things: I'm not aware that a PN has ever been recorded, as it's held by the entity to whom the indebtedness arises. Mortgagees hold the original PN; mortgagors get copies. The original PN needs to be available if there's ever a suit for specific performance under it. I.e., if aunt executed a PN to Losi, failed to convey the house and Losi had to sue, she would need to be in possession of the original PN.

Another issue of a PN is that in real estate it's SECURED by the mortgage. In Losi's situation, the only thing I can thing of to secure the commitment would be the Warranty Deed, but that's actually evidence of the commitment itself. So what would there be to secure aunt's promise to convey to Losi, and Losi's promise to provide caregiving? What recourse would there be if either defaulted?

This is one reason why an Agreement between the 2 parties is more realistic. Defaults and remedies would be specified.

I'll have to get back to you on the issue that I need to think over.

Let me know if anything doesn't make sense!

And I think you're right - Caregiver agreements probably will become more specific, with recourse for nonperformance by either party.
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Igloo, I'm extending myself here - my background is in transactional law and government contracting, so I'm also extrapolating from that experience to apply here. And remember, I'm not an attorney - so these are just my speculations.

A Promissory Note as it was explained to me by one of the top real estate attorneys with who I worked is the EVIDENCE an indebtedness. Whether it's for a loan, funds borrowed, or similar transaction by which one person extends funds to another, the Promissory Note documents that indebtedness. It's executed only by the borrower, not the individual extending credit.

Theoretically, I suppose a PN could be executed by the aunt to Losi, promising to repay Losi for services by bequeathing the house to Losi. Whether a PN has ever been extended to apply to this kind of a situation is something I don't know.

I would think though that the more appropriate documentation would be an Agreement between the two parties, with recitals that state:

1. Aunt wishes to have someone care for her, cook, clean, provide home care services, etc. (and they would be generally inclusive of specific categories).

2. Losi wishes to provide those services.

3. In return for the provision of such services, aunt commits to conveyance of a house (with specific details, including property description, etc.) on the occurrence of:

a. "anything should happen to her", which would generally be described, say, e.g., as medical incapacitation, requirement for higher level of care than existed at the time the document was executed, etc.

b. Aunt died;

read including but not limited to death, placement in a facility, or relocating for health reasons" and these would be specific events.
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Garden - great points. Doesn't it need to be a promissory note or agreement to do these things? That is what I was told and needs a notary or witnesses who are not heirs. Now it - the promisory agreement - does not have to be presented as a claim on the estate either. Can be if they want to but don't have to. Like they are a beneficiary in the will and heir so not needed BUT have the agreement to use just in case there is an issue with will or it's contested.

I think it's great to find out more about the nuances on this sort of stuff as I can foresee caregivers expecting compensation for services from an estate settlement then finding they are screwed without recourse.
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Igloo, I'm still mulling over this one. An Affidavit is generally not used for the purposes stated - it affirms or testifies to something, at least in my experience. And it's used oftentimes in support of motions, to affirm the facts stated therein. I can see though that it could conceivably be used in lieu of a specific bequest.

Assuming it is valid, there could also be a contractual breach issue because the aunt agreed to leave the house to Losimons but apparently changed her mind. Yet the Letter of Promise, contractually, would still be valid unless there were an expiration date or other conditions reversing the intended bequest.

So I think a contractual suit might be just as appropriate as a probate action.

Frankly, I think the aunt just signed the document to get Losi to take care of her, w/o any real intent of conveying the property. The complicating factors are not just the facts of the case but the unusual documentation.

Losi might be able to sue for breach of promise or breach of contract, or on a basis of breach of specific performance (another contractual issue), but I have a feeling only a single practice attorney would take a case like this. Unless the house is valued highly, such as in the high thousands or low millions, I'm not sure an attorney would want to spend the time, as he/she would likely be biling at an hourly rate (as well as requiring a substantial retainer).

I'm wondering though if Losi has a cause of action for work/services performed, i.e., back pay, benefits, out of pocket expenditures, etc.

This is a strange one; I've never read about anything like this before. If Losi does come back, I'd really be interested in what actions she's taken. Sadly though, I think she's the one who's been "taken" by either a scheme or failure to perform under the affidavit as the aunt alleged she would.
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You asap need an attorney and a good probate attorney who does litigation as likely you are are going to contest the stepdaughter being named executor & file for the court for a dependent administration to be opened.

GardenArtist perhaps your thoughts on this?
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Sounds like you need a lawyer!!!! Good luck! !
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GardenArtist thanks for answering okay to answer your questions the letter of promise is a affidavit I drew up between myself and aunt stating that she will leave me the house if anything should happen to her meaning death or relocation because of health issues, she signed it and it has been notorized with witnesses, the living will was signed back in 2006 and the agreement was signed in 2012. I gave up my house to help her out in Nov. 2011 and been here since. We shared the bills, but I supplied all food and necessities, added a new room to the attic, and paid for a new bathroom, and deck, I do have my receipts. No one was willing to help not even for 24 hours in all these years, now that she had to go into the nursing home everyone wants to take over, even came in and started taking her some furniture and items out the house and wants me to move to sell the house.
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There are some comments that need to be explained:

1. 'Letter of promise" -as a document for bequest - that's a new one on me. I've never encountered such a document in conjunction with estate planning. Apparently, though, it is as described - a promise to do something or other, in your case, to bequest a house to you.

2. Was this letter of promise witnessed and notarized? If not, the issue of proof would exist as to whether it was in fact your aunt's intention and signature. It might possibly be considered some kind of alternate to a properly prepared Last Will and Testament.

3. Was your aunt suffering from any kind of dementia at the time the letter was executed.

4. Could you clarify "had my 88 yr. old aunt take power of attorney for her" - this infers that your aunt held POA for the stepdaughter. I'm not nitpicking your choice of language, just trying to understand whether or not your aunt created a DPOA and designated her stepdaughter to act as her attorney-in-fact. This also could be affected by whether or not your aunt had dementia or was cognizant of her actions at the time.

But your wording suggests that the stepdaughter named the aunt as her own attorney-in-fact under a DPOA.

5. Slander is verbal false allegations. To whom were you slandered? If you can document it from the sources who were subject to the slander, you could threaten the stepdaughter with a suit; whether or not an attorney would actually institute suit is another issue, but just the threat might stop her false accusations.

6. "She left the house to her in a living will and deceived me, just plain out lied." Your aunt did this? A Living Will is also known as an Advanced Directive and addresses health care issues and decisions. It's not used for bequests.

Did you aunt ever properly execute and have witnessed a Last Will and Testament? That's the type of will that designates bequests.

Or are you referring to a Living Trust?

7, "she changed her mailing address and will soon take the utilities out of her name although I have been paying the bills all these years" Who did this - the stepdaughter? If so, are you writing that you paid bills that were the responsibility of the stepdaughter? Or was it the aunt in whose name the bills were listed. Since she's in a nursing home, how could she change her address, or did she move to a different nursing home?

8. "I did my part of the agreement shouldn't she be responsible to keep her part although she left it to her step daughter?

I'm not sure the 2012 letter agreement is even binding, but assuming for a moment that it is, when was the "Living Will" that allegedly bequeaths the house to the stepdaughter executed?


There are several issues here, with perhaps the overriding issues being your aunt's mental state at the time she signed the documents, whether or not they're even valid, and especially what the "Living Will" provides.

Just assuming for the sake of argument that the 2012 document was valid and bequeathed the house to you, in exchange for the payment of bills and other tasks you performed. Also assume there was a valid Last Will and Testament or Living Trust which then bequeathed the house to the stepdaughter. The later or more recent of the documents is the binding one, all other issues aside. So your aunt changed her mind?

If this is the case, unfortunately, you've "been had" and used The aunt was free to change her bequests. There's nothing you can do but chalk it up to very bad luck, deceit, and move on with your life.

If, however, the "Living Will" was executed before the 2012 agreement, then the agreement would be governing.

Again, this all depends on the caveats explained above, specifically whether either document was properly executed and binding.
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If the promissory note was properly signed and witnessed I think it may have some validity, certainly worth speaking to a lawyer about. I hope you kept receipts of any bills you paid, although without a caregiver agreement that could be viewed as a normal contribution toward living expenses/rent.
The reality is that you seem to have built your hopes on promises. Unless your aunt is very well off she will probably need the money generated from the sale of the home to pay for the nursing home and there will be nothing left for either step daughter or you. Sorry.
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