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Question for the Money Doctors

Question submitted on Dec 8, 2013.

Question

I am assisting my 82 year old mother with final paperwork. I have 10 siblings. Her total worth is approximately $100K. Of that, she has committed 2 pieces of property to 2 of her children. I am not a recipient, so I have no dog in this hunt. The remainder is modest keepsakes and a couple antiques. She has a modest daily life in an ol'' beat up house and her health is now forcing her into retirement from her part-time job. I am advising her to transfer ownership of real estate now, do a will and to enjoy spending her $10K in liquid accounts on her daily comforts and utilities. She was denied free drugs from a manufacturer because of her income. We love our mother and will care for her with the best of our ability. Am I steering her right to liquidate?

Answer

The most important issue is to have a brief consultation with an estate planning attorney that can address the nuances of estate planning in your state. This is well worth a few hundred dollars to help avoid problems down the road. Having said that, you may want to consider titling certain accounts consistent with the will as a TOD account. Transfer on Death. There will most likely be a way to title or transfer her home as well consistent with her wishes. I never know how long a person''s life expectancy is. I have seen people near death''s door be in better health ten years later at age 92 than they were at age 82. I do agree that she should enjoy her time, getting her hair done and other modest activities. It is good that you have a strong family structure to care for your mother. That is an important factor in keeping costs down. And a large family, if they all pitch in, gives time off to those who may provide a significant amount of care.Those will most likely be the key issues as time progresses.


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