My mother does not own real estate. Her assets are cash, CDs, bonds, and some mutual funds. They are held jointly with me, her child. Interest is reported to the IRS under her SSN. She has enough to pay her nursing home costs for a few more years. Can the accounts be changed to transfer on death to me as the surviving owner? Her will leaves everything to me. I just want to avoid the cost of probate should anything be left when she dies.
Generally, when your mother dies, the accounts would pass to you automatically. Consult a local attorney to determine if local law varies this general concept.
I agree with Attorney Sanchez, if your name is on the asset as a joint owner it is already yours, even though she is the one reporting the income. It would also pass to you upon her death if you are listed as beneficiary or transfer on death.
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I agree that as joint owner upon your mother's death the assets would automatically pass to you; however, I am always hesitant for a child to be a joint owner on a parent's account. Should you ever get sued the accounts could be subject to garnishment. That being said, your mother could prove the money was hers but it can be a time consuming and costly process. I recommend instead that the child be listed as the POD-pay on death beneficiary. If you change the way the accounts are listed please be sure you have a durable power of attorney in place in case you need to act on your mother's behalf with the money from her accounts while she is alive.
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You should meet with a medicaid attorney ASAP as avoiding probate is not the main issue.
Protecting the estate and getting medicaid benefits is your first concern.
Our office couldngive you a free consult on how this is done without spending down the estate.
Attoeny Joe Pippen
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.