Want to keep my mother's house when she goes to a nursing home and don't want nursing home to attach it. So if she sells it to me cheap can they attach it if she's broke before she goes to assisted living?
You need to talk with an Elder Law attorney for other options. Selling a home for less than fair market value would be a huge problem for government assistance,.
The nursing home isn't what you need to worry about -- it's MassHealth. If the value of the house if more than $100 and the transfer is made within five years of the time your mother applies for MassHealth coverage for long-term care, she will be disqualified unless you are determined to qualify as a permissible recipient. Further, there are capital gains tax issues which the recipient would have if the property were to be sold. Your mother might need the money from the sale of the house to pay for assisted living, which is not covered by MassHealth except in very limited cases. Last -- what if your mother gave you the property and you were sued or needed to file bankruptcy? YOUR creditors could take the house out from under her!
This is a complex legal issue. Figuring out the right thing to do requires knowing all the facts in order to avoid unintentionally doing something that could blow up down the road. Your mother should meet with an experienced elder law attorney, who can help her develop an asset protection and estate plan that is right for her given her finances, estate planning goals, and health issues. You can find an attorney at www.naela.org
E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.
I absolutely agree with the other two answers. Your mother should seek the counsel of an experienced elder law attorney. What you are proposing could cost your mother dearly if she were to need care in the next five years. Moreover, as Attorney Golden pointed out, if she needs assisted living, she would not be entitled to benefits even if she were broke. There may be exceptions to this rule, depending on your and your mother's circumstances, so please have her see an attorney asap. Good luck -
Please note: The above is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to establish and does not establish any attorney-client relationship.
I agree with the other answers as well in that the sale of a home for less than fair market value just before applying for MassHealth is not a viable strategy to protect the home from MassHealth's ability to place a lien on the home and recoup what they spent on your mother's care via estate recovery after her death. However, I do want to add that Massachusetts has made considerable strides in their community based programs, which may be an option to explore depending on the level of her needs, of course. That said, unless there is a community spouse (non-applicant/healthy spouse) or unless some other exception applies (which I do not know without additional facts), planning at this point will take some effort and should not be done without first consulting with a local elder law attorney.
It is not the nursing home you need to be concerned with. It is Medicaid as managed by the Department of Human Services of PA. If your mother runs out of cash to pay her nursing home monthly bill, she will need to apply for Medicaid. In the Medicaid application process, all transfers within five years of the application that are made without fair market value could disqualify her from receiving Medicaid to the extent of the value of the Transfer. If you want to avoid problems, consult with an elder law attorney in your area now.
Listen to the lawyers from Massachusetts because Medicaid is handled differently in each state. Also, assisted living and a nursing home are different. Possibly Massachusetts Medicaid pays for assisted living; but, that is not the norm.
You could never successfully do this in Alabama. If her home is worth $200,000 and she sells it to you for $100.00, she would be penalized for $199,900.00. In other words, you attempt would be a worthless attempt.
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