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Thread: Clearing Out Parent's Home

  1. #31
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    IL, thanks for the cautionary tale regarding if money is owed for nursing home care. That was one of my concerns that if there's a lien on the house from the feds. All the more reason not to sink money into it. While Dad is still independent now, if he goes into a care facility there's very little retirement account money left, so decent chance there will be a lien involved unless he has a very short stay.

    Even if there is no lien or money left over, I don't see doing any fixes because not only does the house need a ton of work it's also in an area where people are buying up old bungalows (like my parents house) and fixing them up to the point of tearing out the interior and completely rebuilding from the inside. Any fixes we do would most likely be torn out anyway.

    So whether the house is sold to pay for care expenses or not, either way, it's not going to be worth fixing.
    Last edited by saguaro; 5-10-17 at 3:48pm. Reason: Clarification

  2. #32
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    Make sure he owes nothing to the feds, however I think laws recently have made it harder for the feds to actually claim a house from the estate for end of life medical expenses like nursing homes, so it's quite possible the feds have no claim on a house, even if Medicaid did indeed pay for nursing home care.

    Or suffice that is what the estate lawyer I talked to said when I asked if they could come after a house for medical expenses and whether having a trust changes that in any way (the answer was no and no - trusts are mostly for avoiding probate for middle class people). So as always actually talk a lawyer, rumors online are just that, but the lawyer did assure me as much as I could be assured (hey I tend to worry).
    Hmm, interesting. I skimmed Google articles and there is a major change in California that went into effect Jan 1, 2017. Is that where you are? But I did not get from the article the same info you got from your attorney. But he is the expert.


    The Lookback period for Medicaid recovery of assets is administered by the states and those laws and practices vary by state.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 5-10-17 at 11:11pm.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    Part of what has taken me years is that my folks owned properties and I had to sell those. Had to get renters out and do repair work. On the rentals and the main home we only did work that needed to be done for a loan to go through. Not a single upgrade. My son's dad is a contractor and has been hired time and time again to rip out new work for the taste of new owners. Told me it would be a total waste of money and to let new owners come in and upgrade. In the end it made no difference in what we asked for the homes and we weren't out money on a remodel.
    I had two barns and two large shops filled with so much stuff I had to hire somebody who knew how to price tools and farm equipment. I had tractors, trailers, boats and vehicles to sell. It took us a long time to wade through what was obvious garbage and remove it to get to a place where stuff could be evaluated. My brother and sister were quite happy to sit back and let me handle it. Attics were filled to the brim. I had never been up there. I joked and said it reminded me of the end of Indiana Jones when they were storing the arc of the covenant.
    Although I always knew this job was going to fall in my lap, I really thought my dad was going to be a huge part of taking care of it. It wasn't until my mom died that we realized that my dad had dementia as well. Her issues eclipsed his and we thought what we were seeing was stress and grief. His decline has been rapid and he could not help but thankfully he did not hinder. He was able to answer a lot of questions on the properties that I never could. We downsized him last. The crème of the crop went to his new apartment. That lasted for a year and a half until we needed to move him into dementia care. Now I have to sell those last belongings and I'm done.... we are liquid. What a learning process this has been. It uncovered so many family issues........
    Never..... ever....... will our kids have to go through something like this.

  4. #34
    Senior Member beckyliz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    This reminds me, now that we have our trust and will in place, I need to write a letter to trust officers to assure them they should get rid of all of our STUFF as quickly and painlessly as possible. I have said this verbally, but it needs to be in writing, too.

    I want them to NOT attempt to honor me in any way thru my STUFF.
    As a bank trust officer, I just gotta say - I love you!
    "Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart is also." Jesus

  5. #35
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    Hello everyone, coming back to update and vent. A week ago, I went down to check on Dad and see if he needed anything as sister and family were on vacation. Expected to do some cleaning, maybe grab some items that my sister and I already sorted out, but mostly to visit. Not what happened. I came into the house to find it a disgusting mess. Counters and floors in dire need of cleaning, stuff piling up on the floor including the various household cleaners that Dad had pulled out from under the kitchen sink thinking to "sort it out and clean". Except it had been sitting there for days not to mention the tripping hazard. The bathroom was in a similar state with old shampoo, personal care items on the floor. He likes to buy things at Costco but it's too much plus he has no room so it all gets stored on the floor. Door to his bedroom was shut because he didn't want me to see the state it was in. Noticed things piling up in another bedroom.

    Convinced him to let go of the household items / personal care stuff as most of it was old or he already had another bottle somewhere. Told me to pour it all down the drain (always been his solution wonder how the pipes in a 100 year old house can stand it) but I insisted I would take it to my county's household chemical waste dropoff. After gathering and boxing that stuff, I cleaned up the floors, countertops where I could, stovetop, bathroom, did some laundry, took out garbage / recycling, tried to deal with the Costco stuff, then quickly left as Dad was starting to question all that I was taking and was picking through it. So in spite of the promise not to take things home, I took two boxes of cleaning stuff and kept it until yesterday when I could get to the county dropoff facility.

    Barely 3 days later, I called to check up on him and he thanked me for my work but rather sheepishly admitted he undid it already. In another attempt to "organize and clean" he took out more stuff, plus he decided to "reorganize his desk" by building new drawers by taking some old drawers a neighbor put in in the alley. He's doing this building work on the kitchen floor. Gah!! Good thing I took pictures after it was cleaned up as proof before it went away, I just didn't realize how quickly it would go away.

    At this point, I suggested to the one sister who lives out of state that other sister and I should scale back on the cleaning / sorting as our work is getting undone and then some. Do bare minimum until he's no longer in the home. She disagreed, we have to keep on going, it's just a part of dealing with Dad. I should mention that this sister did a lot of the housework before she left home, and she takes vacation time to come back, visit and.....clean. She has done this for years and while she complains that she has no time to do anything else, she feels she "has no choice" (yes, her words). Other sister will just keep on because she's so focused on the fact that "we have to do it". So I stand alone in deciding to scale back the effort. Should be interesting over the next few months, but I have been making a point of going down once a month to do this work since September and frankly, this is just turning out to be a crazy treadmill. I am so done.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by saguaro View Post
    Hello everyone, coming back to update and vent. A week ago, I went down to check on Dad and see if he needed anything as sister and family were on vacation. Expected to do some cleaning, maybe grab some items that my sister and I already sorted out, but mostly to visit. Not what happened. I came into the house to find it a disgusting mess. Counters and floors in dire need of cleaning, stuff piling up on the floor including the various household cleaners that Dad had pulled out from under the kitchen sink thinking to "sort it out and clean". Except it had been sitting there for days not to mention the tripping hazard. The bathroom was in a similar state with old shampoo, personal care items on the floor. He likes to buy things at Costco but it's too much plus he has no room so it all gets stored on the floor. Door to his bedroom was shut because he didn't want me to see the state it was in. Noticed things piling up in another bedroom.

    Convinced him to let go of the household items / personal care stuff as most of it was old or he already had another bottle somewhere. Told me to pour it all down the drain (always been his solution wonder how the pipes in a 100 year old house can stand it) but I insisted I would take it to my county's household chemical waste dropoff. After gathering and boxing that stuff, I cleaned up the floors, countertops where I could, stovetop, bathroom, did some laundry, took out garbage / recycling, tried to deal with the Costco stuff, then quickly left as Dad was starting to question all that I was taking and was picking through it. So in spite of the promise not to take things home, I took two boxes of cleaning stuff and kept it until yesterday when I could get to the county dropoff facility.

    Barely 3 days later, I called to check up on him and he thanked me for my work but rather sheepishly admitted he undid it already. In another attempt to "organize and clean" he took out more stuff, plus he decided to "reorganize his desk" by building new drawers by taking some old drawers a neighbor put in in the alley. He's doing this building work on the kitchen floor. Gah!! Good thing I took pictures after it was cleaned up as proof before it went away, I just didn't realize how quickly it would go away.

    At this point, I suggested to the one sister who lives out of state that other sister and I should scale back on the cleaning / sorting as our work is getting undone and then some. Do bare minimum until he's no longer in the home. She disagreed, we have to keep on going, it's just a part of dealing with Dad. I should mention that this sister did a lot of the housework before she left home, and she takes vacation time to come back, visit and.....clean. She has done this for years and while she complains that she has no time to do anything else, she feels she "has no choice" (yes, her words). Other sister will just keep on because she's so focused on the fact that "we have to do it". So I stand alone in deciding to scale back the effort. Should be interesting over the next few months, but I have been making a point of going down once a month to do this work since September and frankly, this is just turning out to be a crazy treadmill. I am so done.
    Sounds like you are right, the right answer for you is to step away and detach with love...

  7. #37
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Saguaro, I think it was here, and in one of these discussions about elderly parents, that someone gave a good guideline: we should concentrate on taking care of our parents, but draw the line at their stuff. our parents are not their stuff.

    The stuff will eat us alive!

    Actually, it is probably a good thng that your dad has a project involving drawers and consteuction. It occupies his mind. But yeah, you are right to draw that boundary about cleaning and organizing his place.

  8. #38
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    Hello Saguaro, I have two brief suggestions for you. One is that you can get art work, decorative items evaluated by an independent appraiser to get a disinterested idea if your items have significant value or not. Why argue over stuff that is not going to worth much in the marketplace. This can save some grief. The actual work of cleaning out the larger items like furniture is lot easier left to a clean out company. My Mother's house had an enormous amount of contents some of which were salable as antiques and some of it was unmarketable. A local antique dealer bought the better pieces and we hired a crew and two 30 foot dumpsters for the rest that the three of us did not want. We filled them! Hopefully, you can do things gradually and not have to rush, which we did but avoid the dust and leave that to someone who is equipped to remove it.

  9. #39
    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    My mother just passed away May 20. We are in the process of cleaning out her house, too. So far it's been an ok process between all the sibs.

    Since I am the one who has always done genealogy, they keep bringing me stuff they think I'll want to save. Some of it is helpful, other not. One thing has me a little befuddled. It's a family Bible from my dad's side of the family----from 1850!! It's about 5 inches thick, heavy, musty and stinky. There are names and dates written (beautifully) on a few of the back pages. I can simply scan those pages, but I feel kind of weird about just throwing it away. What would you do?
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

  10. #40
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    My sincere condolences on your mother's passing. Grateful to read that the responsibility of clearing up is being handled so well by the sibs.
    When an inner feeling makes you stop and think as in this case, I would keep it until it feels right to do otherwise. That won't happen very often. I have found that items that I kept under these conditions often were needed or useful elsewhere.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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