Power of Attorney and Property Sale Issues

by Linda
(Fort Worth)

My Aunt (age 80)was diagnosed with dementia/alzheimers over a year ago. She had gone to her lawyer and named me as her DPOA. Her 4th husband and I share Medical POA. She also had a Special Warranty Deed drawn up and filed at the County Clerks office naming me as Grantee to the duplex that is currently occupied on one side by her husband (who only pays utilities)and the other side is rented. I use all of the rental income for insurance, taxes and repairs.

She had around 36K in her checking account at the time she had a stroke last year, but it is almost gone(only 4K left). I sold her car and returned items she had ordered for refunds and opened an additional bank account which is in both her husband and my name. There is approximately 16K in that account which is good for about 3-4 more months in the nursing home. She receives $1684 a month from Social Security and approximately $300 from this husbands RR Medicare. Her Nursing home and meds and rehab totals in the neighborhood of $4600 per month or more.

I want to sell the property that she deeded to me and put it in a special account to take care of her needs for as long as it lasts, but her husband (who I am letting stay in the property for nothing but utilities and general upkeep like mowing) says I should sign it over to him. I told him nothing will be done with the property until she has passed or unless we may have to sell it. He is not happy. What do I need to do if anything to keep him from harrassing me about this? Do I need another kind of deed?

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Jul 27, 2012
property issues
by: mo

Hi, well, I'm not certain that I'm clear on all the facts, and you will want to discuss this with a local attorney. It does appear that your aunt owned the duplex in it's entirety and that her current (4th) husband had no interest in it when she deeded it to you. If that is the case, then it would seem you are free to sell it and use the proceeds to support your aunt as you plan.

But, you will want to discuss all the issues with a local attorney. For instance, if you live in a community property state, then did the current husband obtain any rights to the property when he married? Also, did the deed naming you as grantee -- make you the owner now or only after the death of your aunt? Also, most states have laws which guarantee a spouse a certain percentage of their deceased spouse' estate -- even if left out of the will. Whether your state does and whether that would apply in your case depends on lots of things.

So, those are some things to talk to an experienced local Texas estate planning attorney about.

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