Racine, WI asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin

Q: My mother was placed in an assisted leaving facility by my sister. My sister was named executor of the estate.

My sister wants to sell my mothers home to her daughter to get rid of the reverse mortgage balance of $82,000.00

The home is valued at approximately $190,000.00 . Can she legally sell the home for less than Fair Market Value just because she wants to get rid of the reverse mortgage and profit her daughter and cheat my mother of her hard earned money. What am I allowed to do about this? I am the son of my mother and never had a good relationship with her but that doesn't mean I want her to be cheated.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: There are many issues raised in this scenario. First, to sell any property of your mother for less than fair market value would be a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of your sister. Second, any sale for less than fair market value with be counted as a "gift" and if your mother ever needs government assitance to pay for her care, that gift will create a period of ineligibility, potentially a very long one. Third, the house at present is not a countable asset for Medicaid eligibility. If she sells the house, she will essentially convert a non-countable asset into a countable asset. Your mother (or your sister on her behalf, if your mother no longer has capacity) might be better off consulting with an elder law attorney about how your mother might be able to keep the house in the family and qualify for government benefits.

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