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Question DetailsAsked on 10/20/2017

How do I evict my mother in law from my house

My disabled mother in law lives with my wife and I, but she is verbally abusing my wife, son and I. She has not paid what we agreed on her to pay and will not follow any of our house rules. She has way too much stuff in her room and is a fall hazard and a fire hazard that she will not listen to us and clean up. I need her gone for physical and mental safety for my family.

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Because she has been living there without paying the rent (even if due, unless you have been diligently pursuing the payment) your home is also legally her home - so getting her evicted will be tough, to very very difficult in some states and cities like NY and CA and NYC which have strong anti-eviction regulations/laws.

For eviction, because you and your wife are both legal residents in the house, both of you would have to sign any eviction notice - because if only you signed it - even if the house is only in your name - your wife, as a legal resident, could just invite her to stay as a guest - so you need to be on the same page here. And unless you do an eviction notice per state/local law notice requirements and she leaves voluntarily (sounds like probably unlikely), you are pretty much guaranteed to need an attorney to help you execute an involuntary eviction proceeding - which can take months, and even years in some states if she claims that she has homestead residency rights or even adverse possession ownership rights in your house, which is possible depending on how long she has been living there without paying rent. Can get very sticky with or without the issue of her being a relative.

One thing which can help you with the eviction, but of course makes for an extremely toxic situation family-wise, is to have her arrested for abusing/assaulting a family member, then get a permanent restraining order prohibiting her from any contact with the family - which of course would mean she could not keep living in your house so you could force her eviction by having the police enforce the restraining order.

Another alternative, assuming you and your wife believe her ability to take care of herself safely, to perform the ADL's (the essential elements of daily living - google ADL for more on that), or to make good decisions is impaired or you believe she is suffering from Alzheimers or Dementia or senility or such or that her health is so poor you cannot take care of her any more, and also assuming you and your wife intend to continue looking after her welfare, would be to apply (which needs medical certification, typically by 2 doctors who examine her) to have her put under a Conservatorship.

There are actually two kinds of Conservatorship in most states, commonly done at same time but the Conservators (the person/people responsible for her care) can be different on the two cases. One is the Conservatorship of the Person - responsible for providing fro her personal care and life, and medical treatment and such - having the legal responsibility and authority to make decisions on her behalf on living conditions and medical treatment and such (with court approval for major events or changes like moving to a different location). The other is the Conservatorship of the Estate - responsible for her assets and bills and dealing with financial institutions and getting tax returns done and with providing her with any applicable monthly living expense allowance or incidental expense allowance and such. Can be a lengthy process to get done involuntarily if she objects. In each case (and rarely there will be a Conservatorship of Estate without one of the person, like if a person is having trouble keeping up with financial issues or doing math but is still able to take care of themselves OK) the Conservatorship (which is similar to a Guardianship, which tends to be temporary rather than permanent - though some Conservatorships are also temporary or only for limited purpsoes, but they tend to be general and all-encompassing as a rule) shifts the legal responsibility from the individual to someone acting in their behalf - so puts a lot of responsibility on the Conservator who holds the authority to act and make decisions on behalf of the Conservatee (the individual being cared for or protected).

Once Conservatorships are set up, then the Conservators are in charge of her living and financial arrangements and can, in conjunction with medical advice confirming the need, get her into an assisted living facility, retirement home or community, secure care facility (if dangerous to herself or others), or whatever is applicable to the case. Such major changes in living status or financial situation generally require court approval, and the Conservatee has the authority, in most cases, to object and to even have a separate attorney argue for what they want, so in some cases can be a continuing and very expensive (though the Conservatee's assets pay all the costs including those of the Conservator, assuming the proposed actions are reasonable).

To do anything like that you would need an Attorney specializing in conservatorships - since she is elderly would be a good idea to get a firm that specializes (possibly with differnt attorenys) in that as well as Estates and Probate, to assist with Estate planning and arranging for and eventually executing her Estate without having to jump to another attorney for that - because commonly the Conservator of the Estate also becomes the Personal Representative of the Estate/Executor when the conservatee dies.


Other less drastic measures, especially if she is just being difficult or a bit of a hoarder but not being physiclaly abusive or dangerous, could include getting a maid in weekly (someone she gets along with and enjoys talking to, for instance) to help with cleanup - maybe getting a couple of the $100 metal rolling racks or ceiling-height bookshelf unit at Costco or Amaxon or such to store her extra stuff on.

Setting up shelfs or racks in the garage or basement and storing a bunch of her stuff there might work too - moving things around on say a regular weekly basis if she wants specific things back into her room, swapping out items currently not being used. May or may not work - because the issue may be just trying to get a household worth of possessions into one room without throwing out prized possessions (which is understandable), may be hoarding (which is commonly associated with dementia or such), or may be fear of losing her prized possessions so she wants them all in sight all the time. For items never used - especially excess furniture - getting a storage locker (though oculd be same problem of getting her to pay for that dependably, too) might be a partial solution too.

Depending on what her disability is and how severe, there may be an organization which can help with the issue too - either one specific to her condition, or someone like the VA or Medicaid/MediCal depending on circumstances.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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