One common problem plaguing older couples is the need to sell the home when one partner has dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently 5.8 million people that suffer from this condition, and the number is only expected to increase over the next few decades.
The increase is longer life expectancies and population demographics, but regardless of the reasons, it leaves a big problem for those who have assets to manage.
Solutions to Property Sales With Dementia
To legally sell a property, it requires both parties to be of sound mind and mental capacity to enter such a contract. Having a medical condition like dementia makes a person’s mental capacity insufficient for such a transaction.
Thus, the other owner cannot act alone when both names are on the mortgage or deed. Thankfully, there are a few ways to handle this situation and sell the property legally.
1. The Court of Protection
It’s shocking to think that the number of people who have dementia after they reach 65 years of age is one in 14. Once a person reaches 80 years old, this number increases to one in six. Even with these startling statistics, many people don’t prepare for their future, as they leave things to time and chance.
The Court of Protection is the best option for an owner that has lost their mental capacity. This court will appoint a representative to stand in the individual’s place so that the home can be sold. However, this service will come at a significant cost, and the application process is quite lengthy.
In fact, the process can take anywhere from 3-6 months to complete. The court can opt for a hearing or bypass this step, depending on the complexity of the case. Another consideration is that once the court is involved in this individual’s life, they’re usually always involved.
This can cost further fees, more delays, and the added inconvenience to the spouse. Sadly, you’re at the mercy of the court and their timeline, as the home cannot be sold without such an order. Many buyers won’t want to go through the headache of waiting for such an extended period, especially since buying a home is already a lengthy process.
2. Making Legal Preparations
If you don’t want to go through the Court of Protection and deal with long wait times, high costs, and all the drama that comes with it, you have another option. A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is a document prepared while a person still has total mental capacity. The person can appoint an attorney as their legal representative to act on behalf of their assets.
By choosing this option, the person gets to decide who handles their assets rather than the courts. If the person prefers, they can appoint their spouse to handle the sale, but this is usually reserved for the more straightforward cases. Having legal advice in a situation like this is valuable, especially if children or other circumstances are involved.
Making Informed Decisions About the Future
Getting the Lasting Powers of Attorney agreement is a wise choice that can help families when the time comes to sell a home. The other option of going through the Court of Protection is costly, time-consuming, and may limit the pool of buyers. If you need more information or help regarding this matter, don’t hesitate to contact us to sell my house.