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Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 10:48 am
by Sunnypad
hello all
long time no see

I think the last time I posted was when dad was diagnosed with cancer and wouldn't tell anyone. He has since passed away. Things have been unpleasant and stressful, of course.

I was in 2 minds about where to post this as I have some practical concerns as well, but in time I suppose I will post specific questions on the boards.

the main issues causing stress are that

- he left paperwork in total chaos
- he was a hoarder so things from 2018 are mixed in with things from 1960
- my mum never dealt with any of this kind of things so is in a total panic about everything
- there are two properties owned by mum but she never did anything, he managed them

so I'm left feeling like there's suddenly a lot to deal with. My main concern is my mum, who is not in good health, and of course is totally knocked out by grief.

Then the flats. She's not concerned about the flats at all, even though she doesn't know anything about them. Sis and I are hoping to persuade her to sell them but she is reluctant because that's her income, apart from pensions. Her pension is quite generous, but she's panicking about running the house from that, even though it's fine. Sis and I think the flats could be sold and the money kept in a care fund - care homes are obviously hugely expensive.

so while it's not a time for family disagreement about money, or shouldn't be, it looks like that's where things are going.

Just wanted to chat to people who would understand. I hate myself for complaining upon finding out that we have property, but neither sis nor I have any interest in being landlords and frankly neither does mum.

Regulars from the old board will know I've always hated Christmas but I must admit this year it seems worse!! Oh well, I suppose we will get there in the end.

It has been utterly bizarre. My whole sense of self has been turned upside down by losing my dad - things I thought were certain were not....but now I'm recovering a bit, perhaps they are?!

Re: Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 11:48 am
by Dod101
Hi Sunnypad. Things will get better. Seems the flats are your main cause for concern but if they are owned by your Mum (and your Dad's estate has no interest in them), then they are not an immediate concern surely. If they are running along providing income just let that carry on especially if your Mum does not want to sell. This does not seem a good time to be thinking about that anyway.

Obviously you want to help your Mum. You need of course to help but I would take it gently. Do you have a P of A for your mother and are you an Executor of your father's estate? If you are both then you at least have the legal right to get on with things. If not, or only one or the other, you will need to take things more circumspectly.

But do not rush into anything. Often things are done in haste whilst still grieving and you may regret it later. I wish you and your family well. It will get easier.


Re: Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 11:56 am
by Sunnypad
thank you Dod

re the flats, they are worrying us because although mum is landlady in name, she doesn't know anything about running them. so any problems with any tenants etc, she will simply come to me. My sister is a chocolate teapot in general (as you may know from old posts), so I will be stuck with any problems.

my idea was to give tenants 3 months notice after xmas and then get the flats on the market - maybe after Brexit though.

the alternative is telling my mother she has to learn to deal with them, but in reality I'm not that hard hearted - if she wants to keep them I suppose I would deal with the fallout.

I do see it as a worry that someone who has no idea of landlord responsiblities is doing that job - the kind of landlord I would hate to have. Also she thinks of them as providing a good income but when tenants go AWOL etc ...she is stressed out by having to do a household budget, I can't see how she will cope with any landlord problems.

I don't have PofA - mum wants to set that up, mostly so she can offload all her problems. She is the executor of dad's estate and inherits the lot. She also wants to give sis PofA.

when it comes to it, we might have to say "no PofA unless you agree to us selling the flats" because we certainly don't want them. I don't know if I am jumping the gun and perhaps ought to consider becoming the accidental landlord, but it just feels like a massive pile of stress on top of all the other stress.

I should add, none of us live anywhere near the investment properties and none of us drive. I can't start driving again as I feel the meds I take for depression and anxiety affect me quite a lot, and I often take something to help me sleep at night. Apparently dad didn't even view the properties for years, which concerns me. There is a letting agent in charge though.

Re: Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 2:03 pm
by bungeejumper
Seems to me that, if there's a letting agent currently in charge, then you've covered the first main worry base WRT the flats. The agent will probably call your mum (or you) if there's ever a problem (eg if major stuff needs fixing) - but even then, in our experience, agents tend to know a little man who'll attend to maintenance stuff. It's not always the cheapest solution, but it does get it dealt with.

Otherwise, though, it's surely well down your list of immediate priorities? You have bigger fish to fry, for the time being at least. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. :( Wishing you the very best of luck with the tangled paperwork.

One thought, though. Selling both the flats at three months' notice might need a little bit of thinking about, because you might find that there's a capital gain on the flats which could bust your mum's CG allowance for the year. A staggered approach might be more tax-effective. But, all things being equal, I'd say it sounds like the flats can be left on the back burner for the time being. Warning - I am not a tax expert!


Re: Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 2:10 pm
by staffordian
I was reading your post thinking I'd suggest the use of a letting agent to ease the burden and avoid the need for direct involvement. Then I got to the last sentence...

As an agent looks after the properties, I think I'd very much echo Dod's advice.

Get an LPA set up, sort out the estate as far as necessary then worry about the properties later. Selling may well be the best bet in the circumstances, but with an agent looking after the day to day stuff, I'd put this to the back of my mind until the more immediate issues are resolved, like a skip for the hoarded stuff ;) and getting all the paperwork filed. You never know, you might find the deeds to another dozen places there.

Serously though, once you get your mother and her finances and any care she needs on a better footing, the other problems won't seem so big. You can then decide if selling is best, and decide the best strategy for investing the proceeds. Some investment trusts might well provide an income equal to the properties, and without the hassle of tenants.

I wish you well.


Re: Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 2:35 pm
by Sunnypad
thanks for answers

in terms of other priorities, dad died a while ago. It wasn't my immediate worry, of course there was grieving and the state of mum....but with Xmas coming, time off work etc I have the time to go through the paperwork and understand what is happening, so it seemed like the flats, which in reality mum doesn't want either, should go.

also, at one point dad told us there was plenty of money for a good care home. Turns out he massively underestimated the cost of them. I understand that most of them will ask for about 2 years proof of funds, which with dad's accounts frozen, we can only show if we get the flats sold.

so what i'm worried about is that if mum needs to go in a home, we will be assessed and told we can afford it, but be forced into selling flats and house in a rush. I don't know how that would work, but it sounds like a horrible situation to be in.

re CGT I hadn't thought about that. Selling one next year and perhaps one the year after might then make more sense.

really what stresses me the most is that I believe, as landlords, we have responsibility for the safety of our tenants, and to some extent wellbeing. It just isn't something I was expecting or would choose and my sister doesn't count as a source of help.

I suppose I just have to cross my fingers and hope for no problems. In terms of costs, if the heating went off or something, I would expect an agent to bust a gut to get it sorted, but of course, at the moment, that is technically with mum. and then there's being anxious about fires etc. I do know the carpet was recently changed to a more fire retardant thing.

Really I have to hope that mum will be ready to talk about this soon otherwise there's not much I can do I suppose.

Re: Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 2:54 pm
by Sunnypad
I suppose really I posted because I'm aware there's a delicate balance between managing mum's emotional state and all these other things.

I will be asking practical questions when the time comes, but at the moment it's worrying me in terms of when we can address things...and the idea, for mum, that she might have to go into a care home at some point - well, she finds it terribly worrying and depressing.

I don't want to upset her, but equally I have realised what I am facing and would like to take steps to mitigate it. I don't want her ending up in a horrible care home because the funds for a good one were tied up etc.

Re: Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 3:40 pm
by Tempi
I understand these are all immediate worries for you, but they are not all yet and may not, if ever, be current problems for you to tackle.

In an ideal world, your Mum may adjust to living alone, live within her budget (she's of that generation) possibly without even knowing what her budget is, and may not need care until later in life, hence not needing the immediate sale of the flats, which have been professionally managed by the lettings agent (who are on top of the risks inherent in letting out flats and keeping things up to fire codes etc) in the meantime.... Now we know the world is not like that, and people have all sorts of problems thrown at them that they have to cope with.

So, if it were me, I'd write down all those worries in a list (you've started by posting here), and then
a) have a realistic think about the likelihood of those problems arising and finally,
b) who would be there that you could go to (in a professional capacity, eg letting agents/estate agents/doctors/hospitals/social services/banks etc) to help you with any such problems if they arise.

Then you have the beginnings of a plan of action that could help you sort out any problems if/when they do arise. And probably the first step is to get the LPA in place for you and your sister....

I hope this might reduce your concerns going into the Christmas period.

Re: Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 4:29 pm
by Sunnypad
Thanks Tempi

I probably do need to stop flapping

Unfortunately, with my dad's illness, everything that I would have liked to plan for needed to be planned for...and my parents were strugging with it, so I was constantly firefighting because they couldn't face planning.

Perhaps I just have to face up to going through it all again...! :shock:

I can only keep my fingers crossed for a quiet period.

Re: Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 5:11 pm
by staffordian
You mentioned in your first post that your mother is reluctant to sell the flats because of the income they generate.

Without mentioning it to her, you could make some enquiries of a local agent to get an idea of how much they might realise, either tenanted to another landlord or with vacant possession, and then investigate how much (worry free!) income that money could generate if invested.

It will perhaps give you some clarity if armed with some good information, and it is further ammunition to help persuade your mother of the wisdom of selling.

Make sure that any investments you contemplate are easy to dispose of. This is not the time or place to discuss attitude to risk etc but it would be wise to start thinking of concrete options along these lines. As I said above, a few hard facts make decisions easier and at the same time less daunting.


Re: Death, paperwork and caring!

Posted: December 14th, 2018, 6:35 pm
by Sunnypad

thank you, I am going to do that.

I've just had my mother on the phone and now I feel terribly guilty for even thinking about this....she is so unhappy. of course she is. I feel like she will never be happy again, and selfishly, I don't know how to cope with that.

she tells me not to spend so much time with her, every weekend, but she is so lonely, I don't think that would be right.