Can a nursing home force me to sell a home if my dad signs a quickclaim deed with me as the grantee?

Asked about 4 years ago - Moses Lake, WA

My mom has recently been diagnosed with alzheimers. My parents are concerned that one day my mom will have to go into a nursing home. They want to sign their home over to me in hopes that they will not be forced to sell it in order to pay the nursing home when the time comes. Can they do this?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Shawn B Alexander

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I agree with the previous answer and this is more of an elder law question than a real estate issue. You should have the deed drawn up, signed and recorded at once if this is the plan.

    Good Luck

  2. Matthew M Luedke

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . The short answer is yes, however this is not your only option.

    Option 1 - Transfer home to you. Under this scenario your parents can deed you their home right now. This will start a five year look back period and if either of your parents apply for Medicaid within this five year look back period the value of the transfer will count against the applicant as a period of ineligibility. There are a couple of problems with this strategy, namely that if someone needs significant care before the five year period has run, loss of stepped up basis, and loss of primary residence exclusion if your parents wanted to sell the home. That being said, if you told me that your mom would not need care for five years and you never planned to sell the home, I think this may be a good option.

    Option 2 - Wait - Update Estate Planning. Option 2 is not as sexy as doing something right now, but in your case may be the better advice. Currently a married couple in Washington have additional planning tools to assist them in qualifying for Medicaid for one of them. For instance if your mom needs to go into an assisted living facility, your mother can transfer all of her interest in their joint assets to your father. Now she is qualified, subject to your father meeting his own resource test, which can currently be overcome by use of a Single Premium Immediate Annuity, conversion to exempt resources, or spend-down. There will be no Medicaid lien on this transaction because the ill spouse would not own anything at her time of death (i.e. it would all be in your father's name). The benefits of this are that you don't lose the step up or exclusion, additionally, you don't have any period of ineligibility. Under the right set of circumstances, this may be your best bet. Your parents should also update their estate planning to include testamentary special needs trusts in their last will and testaments. It is imperative that they also have good durable powers of attorney and revoke any community property agreements.

    Option 3 - VA Benefits. Under the right circumstances, the VA Aid and Attendance program can help you pay for long term care. This is a much longer discussion and requires some additional criteria. I encourage you to google "Aid and Attendance" to learn more about this program.

    The bottom line is that there are options, and you should consult with an elder law attorney before you take any action. I am in Spokane and would be happy to speak with you more about your parent's situation and a strategy for preserving assets.

    As an aside, a nursing home can NEVER force someone to sell their home. DSHS can't either. The most that DSHS can do is to place a lien against the applicant's interest in a home. If your mother does not have an interest, because she gave it to your father, their is no lien.

    Regards,
    Matthew M. Luedke

  3. Matthew M Luedke

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . The short answer is yes, however this is not your only option.

    Option 1 - Transfer home to you. Under this scenario your parents can deed you their home right now. This will start a five year look back period and if either of your parents apply for Medicaid within this five year look back period the value of the transfer will count against the applicant as a period of ineligibility. There are a couple of problems with this strategy, namely that if someone needs significant care before the five year period has run, loss of stepped up basis, and loss of primary residence exclusion if your parents wanted to sell the home. That being said, if you told me that your mom would not need care for five years and you never planned to sell the home, I think this may be a good option.

    Option 2 - Wait - Update Estate Planning. Option 2 is not as sexy as doing something right now, but in your case may be the better advice. Currently a married couple in Washington have additional planning tools to assist them in qualifying for Medicaid for one of them. For instance if your mom needs to go into an assisted living facility, your mother can transfer all of her interest in their joint assets to your father. Now she is qualified, subject to your father meeting his own resource test, which can currently be overcome by use of a Single Premium Immediate Annuity, conversion to exempt resources, or spend-down. There will be no Medicaid lien on this transaction because the ill spouse would not own anything at her time of death (i.e. it would all be in your father's name). The benefits of this are that you don't lose the step up or exclusion, additionally, you don't have any period of ineligibility. Under the right set of circumstances, this may be your best bet. Your parents should also update their estate planning to include testamentary special needs trusts in their last will and testaments. It is imperative that they also have good durable powers of attorney and revoke any community property agreements.

    Option 3 - VA Benefits. Under the right circumstances, the VA Aid and Attendance program can help you pay for long term care. This is a much longer discussion and requires some additional criteria. I encourage you to google "Aid and Attendance" to learn more about this program.

    The bottom line is that there are options, and you should consult with an elder law attorney before you take any action. I am in Spokane and would be happy to speak with you more about your parent's situation and a strategy for preserving assets.

    As an aside, a nursing home can NEVER force someone to sell their home. DSHS can't either. The most that DSHS can do is to place a lien against the applicant's interest in a home. If your mother does not have an interest, because she gave it to your father, their is no lien.

    Regards,
    Matthew M. Luedke

  4. Erica Crohn Minchella

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . This is actually a question you should post for an Estate Planning or Elder Law attorney to answer. I, unfortunately, know a little about this, because I have had to deal with my inlaws home. You can have your mother sign a Quitclaim deed now and record it (as quickly as possible). There is a look-back period for Medicaid, so if she is able to stay in her home beyond the look-back period, they will not be able to force the sale of the house. Each year that she is able to stay in the home reduces the amount that Medicaid can claim for contribution from the house, so it is importantly to handle this transaction quickly. An Estate Planning or Elder Law attorney may be able to give you greater insights.

    This answer does not constitute legal advice and does not and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The law may vary depending on the state in which you reside. It is intended only to give some direction in which to seek assistance.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

23,899 answers this week

2,754 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

23,899 answers this week

2,754 attorneys answering

Legal Dictionary

Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.

Browse our legal dictionary