Can my uncle really keep all the money from the sale of my grandma’s house?

My grandma put her house in my uncle’s name years ago in case she ever needed to be placed into an assisted living/nursing home. That way the state could not force her to sell it to pay for that. Now she is in an assisted living home and she has Alzheimer’s disease. My uncle about a year back took her to his lawyer and had her sign him as medical and power of attorney; this was after my mom already was the medical POA. Anyway, after moving grams into this place about 5 months ago he sold the house. He told all 3 of his sisters that my grandma had said that since he paid the taxes on the house while it was in his name that he could have the house to himself. No one ever knew of this until he just sold it. It was said to everyone that he was to split the proceeds evenly between them after he took out for what he put into the place. Is there anything that can be done?

Asked on October 16, 2011 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You and  your sisters need to consult in detail with an attorney about this situation. A critical issue may be exactly how the home was put in your uncle's name. You say that it was to prevent the house from potentially being sold to pay for a nursing home. If that's the case, she probably transferred title to him, either by a quit claim deed or a sale for some nominal price. If she transferred title to him, then it is his home, and he would be entitled to keep the proceeds from its sale, the same as he could keep the proceeds from the sale of any other house or real estate he owned. The problem is, to keep the house out of the state, it could not be in her hands any more; that means it probably was not *her* home any more, even if she lived in it.


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