My mother is in a nursing home. Before that I was her caregiver. I am still her power of attorney. I still live in my childhood home and have started a family of my own. My brother just got out of prison and wants the house. He only lived in the house for one year and never paid even one bill. I used my retirement from a previous job to pay off the house and I’ve paid every bill for almost 10 years. My mother has 4 children in total and everyone else has started a family and lives elsewhere. Does my brother have any rights? Can he force my family out of the house? Can he even try to sell without permission from me and the rest of my siblings?
ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:
Unfortunately, this situation may occur when the elder had not established an estate plan. The house is still in your mother’s name and you are her power of attorney. He could claim that you are taking advantage of the situation because you have moved into her house. You didn’t pay fair market value for the house, you paid off the loan. The loan may or may not have totaled what she would have gotten if you had rented her home. Did mom leave the house to you in her will or is it to go equally to all of the children? Upon her death, the ownership of the house will change and he may become a part owner. You can bet that he will want his part immediately. You don’t state whether she is on Medicaid. If she is, selling the house now would cause her to lose her benefits.
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Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.
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