I am the youngest can I be the power of attorney and own the house?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 17, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I am the youngest of 4. My Dad wants me to be the power of attorney as well as put the house in my name for 3 years now. My brother and sister fight my Dad on this and he constantly changes his mind. Now that my mom has dementia he wants to put things in my name. Can the house be put in my name even though we have the same last name? I am not financially hungry like my sisters.

Expert Answers

Your are the youngest of four, and your father wants you to have his power of attorney and to put his house in your name. Can he do this?

First, the legalities. He certainly can appoint you as his agent, both for financial matters and medical concerns, under a power of attorney for each. He can also legally transfer his house to you. The fact that you have the same last name does not matter. Legally, he would be making a gift of the house to you, which means that the IRS requires that a gift-tax return be filed. However, no tax would need to be paid. Currently, a person give or leave at death property worth up to $5 million without imposition of tax.

Next, and crucially, other realities. If your father transfers his house to you, you own it outright. Your (financially hungry) sisters would receive nothing from the house when your father dies. Is this what he wants? To me, it seems like a recipe for major family hassles. But I do not know your father's personal situation and wishes for his property after he dies. Without knowing that, I can only suggest that you be your father's agent as well as his executor, and that he leave the house to be sold (by you as executor) and the profits divided equally between the four siblings. I don't see what a transfer of ownership of his house to you accomplishes that would be desirable.