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My mother is 87, still living independently, with some in home help. Her husband passed 3 years ago and his name is still on the house, and several banking accounts.

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Oh, maybe I should explain a little better, with a timeline..I hope I'm not boring anyone....if anyone has any questions or believes that we were steered in the wrong way, I'm willing to answer anything, and will call mom's attorney with any advice that we should be following. The home sold the same year my father died...2012..this was the year that we did the majority of the paperwork. The money from that sale went into our joint account.." If two or more people own a bank account in joint tenancy, but one person puts all or most of the money in, no gift tax is assessed against that person. The theory is that because the contributor still has the power to withdraw the money, no gift has been made yet. A taxable gift may be made, however, when the other joint tenant withdraws money from it. (IRS Priv. Ltr. Rul. 94-27003)" ok...our next move was to invest some of her money in I-bonds..."you can invest in electronic savings bonds (also referred to as book–entry savings bonds) each calendar year by purchasing as much as
$10,000 in Series EE bonds, and
$10,000 in Series I bonds." (This is from the treasury direct . gov website)
We purchased one in December of 2012, and one for just a little less in January of 2013. The certificate of deposit had me only as a beneficiary..not owned jointly..so that was never really an issue.
The amount of her estate will have receipts equal to that amount if we have to apply for Medicaid. I haven't been looking at half of anything..I still look at it all as a whole for her to spend towards her private pay assisted living facility. I tried to take care of her here for as long as I could, and we were very lucky to find a place that is only 1 mile from our home.
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Don't worry, I try to make sure we are doing everything legally. We made sure that things were set up per calendar year, under the gift amount. We aren't talking much money at all. We had help from a bank manager, and an attorney. All the money from the sale of mom's home has been spent between respite care and assisted living. That vacant lot is only worth about 5,500.00. So we were able to stay under the annual gifting amount.
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Brenda, that is good planning to avoid probate. Just don't tell the IRS, because they would insist you received a large and taxable gift. As long as mom won't need Medicaid until 2018, you are probably good.
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Hi again, yes, my father's interest was automatically eliminated upon his death. (I just pulled the paperwork to refresh my memory...I'm starting to think dementia is contagious after living with her for so long..HA). Anyway, her home and vacant lot were both "Quit Claim Deed"ed to her and myself. (I do remember that we had to wait until we could give an official death certificate to the attorney). The deeds describe her as, "an unremarried widow, whose post office address is......, grantor...THEN they name her again, with the same above info, AND myself, as joint tenants with rights of survivorship and not tenants in common whose post office address is....., grantee". Then it goes on with the legal descriptions. To answer your question...she is listed as the grantor and the grantee in the same paragraph on both Quit Claim Deeds. I hope this helps a little.
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If I understand correctly, your mother quit claimed to herself and you, thus eliminating your father's interest?

I wasn't challenging you, just trying to follow your points as you made some good ones.
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Hi again, I hope I didn't give incorrect information. I may have skipped over a few things regarding mom's home. She had intended to stay there, and did for a few months. Mom and dad had joint tenancy with "right of survivorship", so the home became hers. She wanted to add me, so we created a new deed used for inter-family transfers, not being of arms-length negotiation. Does this make sense?
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Brenda, you raised an issue which I overlooked, i.e., removal of Nana's mother's husband's name from title to the real estate.

Normally an interest to be removed via quit claiming would be done by that person.

Since he's not alive, a Trustee of his Trust (if he had one) or I believe the Personal Rep of his Will (if he had one) could do that, assuming the Will was drafted by an attorney and typically contained the authority to convey or release his interest in the property, subject to his wife's interest if that was the intent.
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Hi there, every situation is different, but this worked for us. My dad passed away in 2012. I'm an only child. My mother and I met with her bank manager, who helped us put everything in OUR names. This was done to avoid probate if mom should pass, just to make things easier. Her home was sold, but she has a vacant lot that is joint tenancy (mom and myself). She lived here for 19 months, and went to assisted living this past April. If mom outlives her money, we will be applying for a Medicaid waiver. I have kept every receipt, and think I have kept very good records. There was still a mortgage on her home, so this is a for instance...she received 18,000 (after paying off the mortgage, and closing costs) from the sale of the home. I have receipts totally that amount from respite care. She had a CD, I was the beneficiary. We recently cashed that in, and I have more receipts from the assisted living facility where she is now. We bought I bonds with some of her money. You can purchase 10,000 per calendar year..so it was done it December of 2012, and January of 2013. If you only want a name removed, that can be done easily with a quit claim deed, and a visit to the bank. If you are adding a name for joint accounts, you may want to get Power of Attorney, which I did, along with a codicil to add to her will. With your mother being 87, I would go ahead and speak with her about her finances, power of attorney, and if there is a will. She may be living independently now..and sadly, we never know the future of our loved ones. It doesn't hurt to have her deceased husbands name on her accounts, but it will make things so much easier to get your name on there if something were to happen.
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Twenty years later my FIL was still on the utility bills. The only difference it made was that I had to fax the death certificate to them when mom moved to ALF. To do anything with the bank, you would need both the death certificate and the Will proving you are Executor. With no Will, you need an attorney.
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Looking at the issue from a different angle, is there any reason why his name should remain?

It might simply be that your mother doesn't want to make changes because removing his name is another finality, another reminder that he's gone. Or myabe it just isn't a priority for her.

First, does your mother have a will or trust? Do you have a Durable Power of Attorney so that you can access the financial assets if something were to happen to her? Has she made arrangements or decided allocations for her own assets?

Second, if title was held jointly by your parents with full rights to the survivor, your mother would still have valid title to the house. But if there's no Will or Trust, she would be considered to have died intestate and the estate would be allocated according to state laws, which do vary.

Third, will and trust notwithstanding, it's a good idea to have the name of an adult child or other reliable relative on the banking accounts so they can be accessed to pay for bills and household expenses in the event of an emergency.

So I would really address this issue in terms of whether her estate plans are in order first, then whether your deceased father's name should be removed and replaced with someone who is either a Personal Representative (of a Will) or Successor Trustee.
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