Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
“Without my knowledge, my brother asked our parents to sell their home and move in with him so he can provide any care they may need in the future. They immediately listed their home for sale. NOTE – My brother’s mill house is tiny so he would need to purchase a larger one to accommodate them and his fiance. His poor spending habits and indebtedness, have made it difficult for him to purchase a house (or doesn’t want to). Once our parents sell their home, all their equity will be used on the large down payment for the bigger house. My brother will pay the monthly mortgage payments. The title and mortgage will be in his name only. Virtually ALL of our parents equity/resources will be gone. They will still receive small monthly Soc.Sec. and retirement benefits.
What if the arrangement doesn’t work out and they change their minds and want to move back? Their nest egg will be in my brother’s house & name. Do they have any options?
What if my brother is injured or dies, will his fiance/wife own the house?
What if my brother decides he can’t care for them and puts them in a nursing home, how can my parents prevent that? Who will pay for it?
I would greatly appreciate your comments &/or recommendations as to how I can protect my parents’ financial interests so they can provide for themselves if any of the conditions above arise. I’m divorced and must work so I don’t have the resources to help them. I think something needs to be on paper – a contract or something. What?”I don’t have an immediate answer for many of your specific questions, but hopefully I can point you in the right direction speaking on a global level.
Question: Yes, your parents need something in writing to protect their interests here. They should either have an equity interest in the new house (be “on the deed”) or have a secured mortgage. A lot of times parents are reluctant to get this sort of thing from a child, feeling that it is inappropriate not to trust their son with their money. Sometimes it helps to think of it not as their money, but as belonging to ALL their children-and you wouldn’t give all your estate to just one child, leaving the others out in the cold, would you?