Can a Person With Dementia Sell Their House?

If you have a parent who has been diagnosed with dementia then you are probably facing a bevy of difficult decisions. If one of those big life changes has to do with selling your parents home to help pay for their care, then you need to know the ins and outs and laws regarding a person with dementia selling their house. Often times the question of can a person with dementia sell their house comes up in family meetings.

Can A Person With Dementia Sell Their House They Own?

Elderly woman with dementia reading something

A diagnosis with dementia does not mean someone is unable to sell their house. They remain their own rights to their home, no matter the diagnosis. If your parent is exhibiting mild symptoms of dementia which initially manifests as forgetfulness, then being their ally and support through the home selling process is the best way you can help.

Let your parents retain their autonomy but be available to read over contracts or help them find a realtor who specializes in senior real estate to guide the process.

If you’ve reached the point where the symptoms are more serious than forgetfulness or your parent has taken a sudden turn for the worse then you may be concerned that your parent isn’t capable of selling their home with a sound mind.

Just because you think your parent is too impaired to sell their home doesn’t mean you can step in and do the process for them, in fact, you can’t even legally determine that they are incapable of selling their own home.

If you think your parent with dementia will need more help in selling their home than simple loving guidance then you need to know: To whom have my parents granted power of attorney (POA)?

What Is Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney documents

Power of Attorney is a legal authorization that grants a designated person such as yourself, the power to act for another person. The person granted the POA is called the agent while the person receiving the help (your parent), is called the agent.

If you have been granted power of attorney then you, as the agent, have authority to make decisions about the principles finances, investments, medical care and property (such as selling a house) as it is listed in the POA agreement.

The powers granted vary based on the agreement set up so just because you have power of attorney for your parent doesn’t mean you have the ability to make all decisions regarding your parents finances and care.

Types of Power of Attorney

There are several different types of POA that your parents may have set up to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances in the future. Which type of POA you have will determine what type of decisions you can legally make on their behalf.

  • General Power- This gives the agent the ability to act for the principle on any matter as allowed by state law. This could include selling property.
  • Limited Powers- This gives the agent power to act only in specific matters or events  and possibly even for a specific amount of time only.
  • Durable Power of Attorney- This type of POA gives the agent control of certain legal, property and financial matters including when the principle becomes incapacitated due to health reasons such as dementia.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney- With HCPA the agent can make decisions regarding the health of the principle.
  • Financial Power of Attorney- This is another type of Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) granting the agent specific power related to all things financial on behalf of the principle. With a DPOA the agreement will specifically list what conditions activate the power of attorney such as mental incapacitation due to a dementia diagnosis.

If you Have Power of Attorney

Lawyer and his client discussing contract papers.

If you have a parent with dementia and you also have been previously granted power of attorney then you will need to follow the steps outlined in the agreement to enact the POA. This could mean getting one or more documents from your parents doctors certifying that they are incapacitated and no longer able to make sound decisions on their own.

A Durable Power of Attorney is the best agreement to set up so you can help your parents sell their home if they are incapacitated due to dementia. Often times when a parent is in the first stages of dementia they are of sound mind to set up this type of agreement to prepare for their future care and finances.

If you do have power of attorney that can be enacted due to a medically diagnosed incapacitated parent, and that also covers the right to sell the home on their behalf then you can begin the process of helping your parents move.

Problems You May Encounter with Power of Attorney

There is always the possibility that the title company will not accept the power of attorney. If the power of attorney is too old or too recent the title company could question it. The title company could still ask for the principles signature on the documents.

Title companies will be looking at when the POA was executed, when the principle was diagnosed with dementia, how the funds will be dispersed from the sale and who is the attorney and what is their relation to the principle.

If you run into issues with the title company accepting your POA then it’s best to reach out to an elder law attorney. You can also contact your parents doctor to get an affidavit stating that the date they diagnosed your parent with dementia and stating that they were of sound mind at the time they signed the POA.

If You Don’t Have Power of Attorney

What if you don’t have power of attorney? Can you help sell the property for your parents with dementia? Without Power of attorney you have no legal rights to sign papers or do anything on your parents behalf. If your parents is declared incompetent by doctors and unable to execute a POA at this point then you can petition the local court for guardianship.

It takes time and effort to petition the court to grant a guardianship or conservatorship but if your parent is already incapacitated then taking this step will allow you to sell their home to help pay for their care.

Working With a Real Estate Investor

Homeowner working with a Real Estate Investor

Taking care of a parent with dementia and managing their finances, healthcare appointments and more is a big life change. Selling their home should not be a heavy or stressful burden that you have to deal with when you are caring for a loved one. When a family has gone through figuring out if a person with dementia sell their house, sometimes a private sale might be the answer.

If you have a guardianship or power of attorney and are ready to sell your parents home then consider reaching out to a real estate investor like Gary to make the process quick, painless and personable. Gary has worked with clients just like you who need to sell a home and don’t want all the extra work of repairs, updating, staging and showing a home. You can cut through all the extra time and money and get straight to selling the home in a short amount of time and for cash when you work with Gary.

Gary is a trusted real estate investor in the state of Utah, you can see what his clients have to say about him by clicking here. He is ready to help you sell your parents home today.

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