Uncategorized September 2, 2022

Eating an Elephant One Bite at a Time – Part 1

 But I’d Like To Stay Where I Am…


If you’re a senior, particularly if you’re living your “golden years” (80+), you may be experiencing greater difficulty living at home alone. Sometimes this difficulty is hard to discern because it occurs so gradually. Even if you can’t feel it directly, changes in your daily routine may tell you something is off. Perhaps you’re drinking less water these days, so you won’t have to use the bathroom so often. Or maybe you’re losing weight because you haven’t gone to the grocery store and aren’t cooking like you used to. Or perhaps, showering and bathing have become a chore, so you do it less frequently. If you aren’t noticing these things yourself, are your children or your doctor asking if you’re drinking water? If you’ve eaten? If you’ve bathed? If you “have help at home”?

Given a choice, most seniors would prefer to “age in place.” Many will be able to do so by adding a visiting nurse or home health aide to their daily routine, and modifying their home to accommodate increasing physical needs. Happily, for many seniors, your current home will be forever. But others may be forced to consider alternatives such as assisted living, skilled nursing, senior apartments, or congregate care facilities. Your doctors and/or children may also be encouraging you to make a change.

Moving is an overwhelming behemoth for anyone. It doesn’t happen quickly, and it doesn’t happen without help. If you’re lucky, you have some time to sort things out, and friends, family and neighbors to help. Nowadays, you can also call on companies that specialize in “senior moves”, and do everything from “decluttering” to packing and unpacking (more about these companies later). Unfortunately, the necessity to move often arises out of some form of urgency, and it’s your children and/or an attorney who is charged with moving you out and selling your house.

Seniors are faced with a unique set of issues to consider when selling a long held family home: What are the tax ramifications of a particular type of move? How do you protect the sale proceeds  from Medicaid? How do you ensure the proceeds are distributed effectively and swiftly to beneficiaries? Eating an Elephant One Bite at a Time will help you identify which professionals to consult for answers to these questions, as well as the following:  Where do I start? How do I pick a good Realtor? What’s my home really worth? What kind of paperwork should I expect? How do I get my house ready to sell?

The goal of the Elephant series is to help you (and your adult children if they’re involved) understand the process of getting your financial affairs in order, readying your home to market, and then selling it, achieving the highest price possible. Chances are, you’ll need the money from the sale of your current home, to afford your next one, regardless of where that might be.

Even the most experienced sellers become overwhelmed at the beginning of the home-sale process. While it can be complicated, stressful, and confusing, breaking it down into manageable Elephant bites will help simplify the process and hopefully, lead you to a happy ending.


The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. Contact an attorney for specific legal advice.