Is there any reason to worry about a live-in caregiver and rights to the house?

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Is there any reason to worry about a live-in caregiver and rights to the house?

My husband and his brother along with myself and the brother’s wife have our names on the title/ owner of the house that their mom lives in. She does have dementia/alzheimers or beginning stages. She is not able to live on her own or care for herself, so instead of her going to a nursing home, the older sister lives there and cares for her mom. My husband does go out and helps with her in the morning while the sister works and also takes her to appointments as well. He does get paid for his time and I’m not sure if the sister pulls any money out for herself. She claims to be the POA for her mom, which may or may not be just a medical POA or for the estate as well. She is trying to control everything and my husband wants to know if she would have any rights to the house if she lives there for so long as a caretaker. Her name is not on the house or the land that the house is on. My husband is co owner of the car as well/ helped purchase it and his name is on the registration. the sister went and took the title out of the car and will not return it unless she knows what is going on with the car. It is not her property to have to know all that info. I do know we can get a replacement at the DMV by filling out a form and paying a fee. Only reason I brought that up, is to show how controlling she is over the assets. To be honest, we are not sure the care she is giving the mom is the best but we have no proof otherwise. So our concern is will she have any rights to the house either before or after the mom would pass away. Again, her name is not on the house deed or taxes or on anything. She is very controlling

and I mentioned to my husband that they should ask to see a ledger of where the mom’s money is being used and for what. However, the concern now is the house. Can you enlighten us on this situation?

Asked on December 31, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Living in a home, or being a caregiver for a resident or homeowner, conveys no legal rights to the home; the sister will not acquire any rights to the home this way. If the mother is also on the title to the house, and IF the sister does have a valid POA from her, then the sister could use her POA to buy the mother's share of or interest in the home at more-or-less fair market value (the person given power by a POA has a "fiduciary duty" to act in the interests of the person giving her the POA, which means she cannot simply give herself her mother's interes, since giving away interest in or a share of real estate is not in the mother's interest), and shecan also let herself live there (if she has a POA) so on long as the mother residers there, as her caregiver, but that should be the most that she can do. Again, simply residing in a home or caring for a resident does not convey any ownership interest.


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