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"Advice for my recently widowed mother"
What a difficult situation to go through, both for your mother and your family as a whole! It sounds like you and your sisters have taken the right first/next steps in terms of streamlining her budget/financial priorities, given her limited income through Social Security.
Also, assessing her need for an affordable apartment (since the mortgage payment may be too high to pay on her own) is also a good idea, although a move at this time may be difficult (one, given the housing market and how challenging home sales can be; two, considering the trauma of the situation and the stress of moving after being in a home for years).
You may want to consider other options. Would you or one of your sisters, an older grandchild, or a close friend (who may be widowed/financially struggling too) be able to move in with her temporarily or permanently to help her with the payments? You and your sisters may also want to research MEDCottages; these small homes are fairly new but they provide an affordable option for low-income seniors to move to a relative’s property and be able to hook into their utilities (water, heat, etc.) but still have their own private space (http://www.medcottage.com/).
Additionally, check into whether the property would be eligible for a reverse mortgage, which may free up some cash for your mother’s short-term/future needs (to learn about this option, visit http://portal.hud.gov/). On the HUD website, you’ll also find information on affordable housing options for low-income seniors (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/information_for_senior_citizens).
If your mother is in good health and has an interest in working,you may want to consider helping her find a part-time job. Check out http://www.foundation.aarp.org/WorkSearch/ to find resources for job-seeking seniors.
Another possibility would be to meet with an elder law attorney; www.boomerater.com/attorneys/find-a-lawyer is a good place to search for attorneys in your city/state.
- submitted by Boomerater Staff
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Two weeks ago my father passed away. No life insurance, No will, Nothing. My 75 yr old mother is left with a pile of debt, held jointly with my dad as the primary on all accounts. Living solely on Social Security income, she can not afford to pay back all this debt, including their home mortgage. My sisters and I have instructed our mother only to pay for the essentials, i.e. electric, car ins, health ins. phone so she can save some money to move to an affordable apartment. I'm second guesses our decision. Don't know where to turn or what to do to best help our mother (who never worked outside the home) get thru this very difficult time. Any suggestions?