Sale of woman’s real estate complicated by illness

Senile co-owner needs cash to pay medical bills

DEAR BOB: About six years ago, my aunt insisted on putting my name on the title to her home as a joint tenant with right of survivorship. She helped me many times over the years, as my mother died when I was 14. We are very close. But in the last two years, she has become quite senile. I think it is Alzheimer's disease, but her doctor isn't sure. About six months ago, she fell and broke her hip. The surgery didn't go well. She has lived in a convalescent home ever since. I try to visit her every two weeks, but I live about 200 miles away so it is difficult. The nurses tell me she "perks up" when I phone to tell them I will be visiting on the weekend. But the last three or four visits, I'm not sure she even remembers me. The convalescent home administrator told me my aunt needs to be moved to a "Medicaid home" (meaning lower-quality care) unless her bills can be promptly paid (about $13,000). Her vacant, free-and-clear house is worth at least $450,000. I phoned her attorney who said my ...