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How do I change my will to have both of my daughters inherit my home upon death, but one daughter has the right to live in it.

Baltimore, MD |

I am a widow with two daughters . one is happily married and financially secure . the other was married to a man who was a gambler and abuser . After a horrible divorce and financial ruin , she moved back into the home I own and that she grew up in . She is a hard worker with a job but doesn't make very much . When I die , it is very important to me that she be allowed to live in my house until she chooses not to , or she dies . I heard this is called a life estate but someone else told me that it could affect Medicaid and be careful . I don't have any money except my house . Please help ?

Attorney Answers 4


It is unclear from your question whether you are concerned about your eligibility for Medicaid or your daughter's? If it is yours, then what you were told probably pertains to giving your house to your daughter during your life. That is a transfer that could trigger a 5-year look-back period. The penalty period and any other repercussions will depend on the state in which you live. The arrangement you want for your daughter can definitely be done by an estate planning attorney, either through your will, or as a life-estate deed. I have helped many clients create similar life estate interests for their children. I would suggest contacting an estate planning attorney in your state, particularly one who is also aware of elder care issues, such as Medicaid. Hope this helps!

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Yes, this is called a life estate. Depending on your objectives, this should be relatively easy and inexpensive for a lawyer to set up. I do not think this would affect Medicaid qualification, since it would only take effect upon your death. There are a number of options for setting this up, so I would contact an estate planning attorney to help you. You also want to make sure that you sign durable power of attorney forms for health and financial matters. That will help protect YOU, if you become incapacitated, at some point.

James Frederick

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What you describe is referred to as a life estate. The most prudent thing you can do now, is to schedule an appointment with a local estate planner to generate the appropriate documents. As well as to confirm whether or not such a modification to your estate plan would create eligibility or reimbursement issues for your state administered Medicaid program.

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Yes you can do that. I strongly suggest you seek the assistance of a lawyer. Do not attempt to do it yourself by adding it to your will. This is a complex provision. It is obviously very important to you. Only an attorney can make sure it is done correctly.

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