Can anything be more emotionally wrenching than selling a home for a parent with dementia or Alzheimers?
At Love 2 Live Care Services, we coach adult children through this and other complex issues on a weekly basis. This coaching usually ends with us urging callers to find a eldercare attorney with strong online reviews.
We get it. Most likely, you grew up in the parent’s home or spent at least a portion of your childhood there. Complicating matters, typically the parent has great emotional connection to the home, making the adult child considering selling into the bad guy. When relatives or even siblings with different agendas enter the scene, sometimes the courts have to step in.
That’s why it’s critical when a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia for the affected senior to create durable power of attorney for financial matters and for healthcare as well as a living will as soon as possible. The second step some miss is filing all documents with the court.
The Senior Caregiver CANNOT ASSUME Any Rights
It doesn’t matter if an adult child or grandchild has been caring for the senior for a decade or more. Judges do not consider moral codes, only the legal limits and requirements set by the state. If the wishes of the senior haven’t been formally filed, that caregiver has no right to sell the home. If your loved one still has sufficient mental capacity, please speak with an eldercare attorney as quickly as possible to create:
Durable Power of Attorney: assigns “Attorney in Fact” the legal rights and powers to act in the senior’s behalf in business and financial matters. The “durable” aspect means that, should the senior lose the mental capacity to act in his or her own best interests, the individual named in the document can still act as the senior’s attorney.
Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: assigns another person (could be same as “attorney in fact” above) to make medical decisions such as choice of doctors, hospitals, treatments and medications
Living Will: states the senior’s wishes about how he or she wants to be treated in the last days of life, covering the extent of life support issues.
On the other hand, if the senior has advanced dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and no durable power of attorney exists, the only recourse for a caregiver is to apply to the court for “guardianship,” which can be a long-term and even expensive process. Also, unlike someone with a power of attorney, the guardian must file petitions to document the many steps that go into a home sale including: price and terms, authorization to pay for a nursing home or care.
The problem is, you can’t petition the court to sell the home to a certain person for a certain price until you have a signed contract with a buyer. Sometimes, buyers don’t want to wait and hassle around with these extra steps. The seller loses the sale. Of course, this situation depends on the market. If it’s a seller’s market with low home inventory, buyers have more patience. In a buyer’s market, however, where lots of homes are available at a reasonable price, buyers can be harder to find. If a buyer wants to close within 90 days or two weeks, an attorney must petition the court, a process which takes anywhere from two weeks to a month depending on how busy the courts are in the state.
Love 2 Live Care Can Help when You’re Selling a Home for a Parent with Dementia
When we come to talk to you about your needs during your free, no-obligation in-home assessment, we can provide both resources and experience that help you make difficult decisions. Selling a home for a parent with dementia may even be postponed once family members realize that, with outside help, the senior loved one can remain at home longer. We are careful to select upbeat, energetic in home senior care providers who derive great meaning from their job. We also have a team at the home office that provides support for any unexpected challenges. If you have any questions, please call us at 619-291-4663 today!