Q: My mother is 89 years old and developed mild dementia and heart disease. The doctor does not want her to live by herself, so she has moved in with me. We set the life estate up about 5 years ago after a lawyer assured us it was the right thing to do. I am the only surviving child and do not plan to put mom in a nursing home and will use hospice if needed in the future. I do not want to rent the property because it is about 100 miles from me and would be more trouble than it is worth. Can I sell the property since I am providing my mother with a place to live and am also her caregiver? (Baldwin Borough, PA)
A: I would need to know is the life estate in the deed or a trust and look at the documents. If in a deed, does the life estate terminate upon conditions of her death or her being unable to live in the home independently? If in a trust, the trust will have similar conditions which constitute the ending of the life estate. Who does ownership pass to when the life estate conditions have been fulfilled? If one of the conditions of the life estate terminating is her being unable to live in the home independently, then that condition has been fulfilled and you should be okay. However, you should review the paperwork with attorney for a more definitive answer.