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Court Assigns Guardian For Elderly Homeowner

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM #LAW 694

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A reader has a friend who is in a nursing home and has a management company assigned by the court to manage her home. Now the homeowner's son would like to use a quit claim to get the home. Ilyce and Sam find all kinds of problems and questions regarding this deal.

Q: I have a friend who lives in a nursing home because she can't walk.
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A court assigned a management company to be her guardian and take care of her business.

Her home of 28 years was foreclosed back in early 2005. The management company was not her guardian at the time. But, her son wants to redeem this house and have her quit claim a deed to him. Is this legal?

Her son is going to pay the interest and other charges before the deadline. Can she quitclaim the deed to him even though she is in a nursing home? She is not mentally ill.

A: It’s quite unusual to have a court get involved in the affairs of a person unless that person needs the help of a court to assign a guardian. It is also strange that someone in her family was not designated guardian of her affairs. All these issues raise more questions than answers as to your friend’s predicament.

As far as the house is concerned, if there is significant value in the home, why is the home being foreclosed on? If she had a loan and it had a low balance, selling the home is a better option than losing it to foreclosure. If she failed to pay real estate taxes and has no loan, again selling it would provide cash to pay the old taxes and give her money to pay her bills and expenses.

Unfortunately, your letter raises more question than can be answered in this column. Your friend can quitclaim the home to her son. However, if the transfer of title is done to avoid paying expenses to the nursing home, most states have laws that would require the value of the home that was transferred be given back to your friend to pay for her nursing home expenses.

It that your friend’s home must still have lots of equity in it and your friend’s son feels that if he can get title to the home, he can sell it and make the money from the difference between what is owed and what its worth.

If he gets title, he then gets to keep the money. If he was interested in getting money for his mom, he could sell the home, pay off the debts and the rest of the money would go to your friend.

Clearly, there are other issues here that you have either not disclosed or are not aware of. Your friend can transfer title to her son. Whether she should do that is another question altogether.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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