She will never be able to live at home alone again. Even if she could go back home her current house is way too big and too much to keep up on. The maintenance alone is too much.

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I had to sell my mom’s house. She lived there for 46 years. I stressed over it. Her house was water front. But I told myself that mom needed care she didn’t need the house. And it was her asset to be used for her benefit.
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Reply to Jshelto6

Homes deteriorate fast when no one is living in them. I'd sell before it needs more repairs.
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Reply to Anxietynacy
katepaints Apr 12, 2024
A vacant home invites vandalism which hurts the neighborhood.
And soon, without an occupant, the insurance won't even cover the home.

You should discuss this with mother unless her dementia too difficult to be able to understand.

Where does mom live now? Is she with you or in care? If she is in care is she on Medicaid, because sale of home will give her assets that will mean any governmental aid is withdrawn.

As to what you can do on POA, if you do not understand POA in general and your own in particular then it is time to get thee to an elder law attorney (which is paid for by the POA document) for expert help, options, explanations, guidelines on keeping the meticulous records you must keep. If you have a well written POA then you have many powers. If poorly written and off some online site you won't even be able to do the banking work you would have to do.

This isn't do it yourself. You are talking the sale of a home. This is a legally binding, complicated process in which you will need an attorney and a real estate agent, and a banker as well.

PS I read and appreciate your brief profile, but do let me tell you that guilt is out of the question. You didn't cause any of this and can't fix it and guilt requires BOTH THINGS. So the word you want is GRIEF. It is important the words we tell ourselves. If we say we are guilty then we are saying we did something evil and with purpose to harm and that we have zero intention of changing it. If we say we are grieving we recognize we are sorry and sad and feeling helpless.

Best of luck to you. The home should be sold. Now it is a matter of finding out how good the POA is, because if there is dementia, it's too late to change it.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

Yes, you can sell the house if you have PoA, but do get in touch with an elder lawyer, you don't want to go amiss in this transaction.

Mom probably needs the money, right? One thing you CAN'T do is take the sale of the home for your own personal needs. That would come back to bite you, big time.

It doesn't 'feel right' b/c we are conditioned to want the best for our LO's and selling their home 'feels' like you are not caring for your mom--when in fact, it's probably necessary.

My MIL moved into an ALF a few days before she died and the kids were fearing they'd have to sell her home to afford the ALF. Turns out, they didn't--but the guilt they felt was pretty rough.

Be sure you get legal help in this.
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Reply to Midkid58

It should be sold and the proceeds go towards her care, especially if no one is living in it. Why waste so much money paying property taxes and for upkeep on an empty house?
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Reply to ZippyZee

The house next door to us is empty now. Our neighbor is in assisted living and only comes back once every month or so for a little while. Her son is there occasionally to take care of the obvious maintenance - it will soon be time to start up the seasonal mowing, etc. The yards in our area are large - an acre or more each. I understand that she probably doesn't want to let the place go; she and her husband (died a few years ago) have lived here longer than we have and raised their children here. But it's such a waste. Keeping the place only consumes resources and doesn't really benefit anyone. The place is really looking run down and sad. It has to be such a burden on the son, who presumably has his own place to maintain.

I assume it's you who has to maintain your mother's place. It's really too much to ask. You should sell and not feel guilty about it.
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Reply to iameli
iameli Apr 9, 2024
I should also tell you about the other side to this! My MIL died in February 2022. She and FIL and their two sons had lived in that house since my husband was 2 years old, so more than 60 years. FIL always did his own maintenance (and wasn't all that skilled at it) and he died six years before she did, so the place was in poor shape when she passed. We sold it "as is" to a friend of our son. He and his wife have taken this on and done a tremendous amount of work restoring the place, which is still ongoing. We're so pleased that someone is enjoying and putting their heart and soul into my husband's childhood home. I know that my MIL would absolutely love that another young couple are building their lives there, just as she and FIL did when they were young.
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You have two questions: first is "am I able?", and second is implied--"should I?" even if it "feels so wrong".

First, the "am I able...without her knowledge", is easier. But to be clear, I assume your POA is a general (durable financial) POA, not a health care POA (which operates differently and is set up differently).

A general (durable financial) POA generally can do real estate transactions on behalf of the principal---though it always depends on the exact language in the POA. Unlike health care POA, for financial POA this is often true whether or not the principal is competent, unless it has been set up to only apply if the person is not competent (aka "springing"; this restriction is required for health care POA, but is [not required, and less common] for financial POA).

This has been dealt with before on, see links below for example.

POA selling property is actually pretty common--for example, if someone sells a home but doesn't come to the closing, and "the lawyer signs for me", the lawyer is generally doing so under a limited POA for the purpose. General POA has the same powers, usually (though depends on the wording of the POA, always!)


The second question, "should I", is of course up to you. But this might help: actions taken under the POA are not just anything you want, but are supposed to be in the interest of the principal (your mother). It sounds like this is in her interest. In fact that is why she trusted you with the POA--so you can do the right thing for her affairs when she cannot (either through incapacity or logistics). If it passes this "test" I think you can feel legally -- and ethically-- comfortable with it.

As I write this : there are others chiming in...I agree that legal help will be important to make sure you have the powers you think you do, and also to think through the tax/Medicaid/financial implications.

This article might help too:
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Rumbletown

Always contact an attorney.
Find out what your responsibilities are being a POA.
The 'feeling wrong' could 'just' be the attachment - this is your Mom's house.
Selling it represents change / how she is changing and that is huge - emotionally and psychologically triggers and/or awareness of how she is declining and what needs to be done to ... do what is needed as she changes.

While this is not easy, once you have your legal matters in order, you will be relieved to sell it. You will feel better and can focus on your mom, instead of the house.

Still, give yourself emotional 'space' to process this huge change.

Gena / Touch Matters
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Reply to TouchMatters

I received my mother's verbal assurance it was OK to sell her home around the time we did a POA. She will need the funds from the sale of the home to stay in the facility she is in currently. Lately she has had misgivings about selling her home, but we are going ahead with it. She knows she is unable to live there again and that the money will come in handy for her care. A family member is a realtor which helps. Yes, there is some guilt as when their memory slips they ask about their old home, but we have to come to the conclusion that as the adult now we have to make the right decisions, even the hard ones. My mom will not have any dealings with the sale of her home, but we will keep her updated along the way as we see fit.
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Reply to JustAnon

I felt guilt and grief when selling my mom’s house, I understand how you feel. I knew it had to be done, but it felt like I was taking her last remaining bit of independence. But, it was a lot for me to deal with and once it was done I felt such relief. My mom was mad every time we talked about it, but she usually forgot by our next visit. My husband and I have done all we can to make sure she’s in a good place and figured out her finances.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to LoriF1
Di1961 Apr 9, 2024
Omg, I know exactly what you’re feeling. Going through this now😩
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