Legal Question in Elder Law in California

My mother is 91 years old and presently lives at home. She can do most things independently, but her memory is getting worse and will soon need daily assistance.

My sisters and I are considering two options: one is to hire someone to visit/assist her 4-5 days a week for a few hours. The other option is to look for an assisted living community for her. Both options are expensive, but we want the best for her. To afford in-home care visits we're thinking mom can get a "reverse mortgage" on her house to help pay for that, however, if we find an assisted living community she likes we would rent her house to help pay for that.

My oldest sister lives closest to our mom and presently handles all her finances/bills (she is co-owner on our mother's bank account). Mom has a living trust (which includes her house/property) and my oldest sister is executor and has power of attorney.

We're looking for advice/information regarding the title of her property - is there any advantage or need to have our names added to the title as co-owners of the property at this point? (if yes, do we have to remove the property from the trust to do that?) Thank you.

Asked on 2/19/22, 11:45 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

If the trust is properly set up, it would be DIS-advantageous to add you to title to the property. If your mother's mental capacity is showing signs of fading, you could also run into issues about the validity of any real estate transfers she makes. It sounds like she has a good estate plan and elder financial plan in place. The only issue I spot is you need to be conscious of if/when the successor trustee should take over from your mother (if that has not already happened). How that works and under what circumstances should be in the trust documents.

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Answered on 2/20/22, 5:00 pm

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