Wife Has More Options
I am concerned that Robert J. Bruss has corroborated some poor (or at least incomplete) advice given by the attorney of one his Real Estate Q&A; letter writers (“Spouse in Coma: A Case Against Joint Tenancy,” May 3).
First, if the wife does not need a conservatorship for other purposes, there is a much simpler court procedure for obtaining authorization for the wife to sell the house.
California Probate Code Sections 3100-3154 set forth detailed provisions for the purpose, filing and use of a petition to authorize a transaction involving community property when consent is required of a spouse lacking legal capacity to join in or consent to the transaction.
Even though the property is held in joint tenancy, the court can confirm that the house is the couple’s community property and can authorize the wife to complete the sale. Conservatorships are very unpleasant and expensive, and the 3100 petition could save a substantial amount of time and money.
Second, and perhaps even more important, I hope that the woman realizes that the house is an exempt asset for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) qualification and that it may not be necessary to sell the house to pay for his medical expenses. She should contact an attorney experienced in elder law.
The writer is an attorney.