Hello from Texas,
I'm hoping you all can help me sort through some things so that we can be better informed to seek an atty or not.
About 2 years ago myself, husband and 2 kids moved in with my MIL. She's 83. It was a mutual decision to help us reduce our living expenses after a job loss but also to help her around the house and help with her expenses. Since that time we have split the mortgage and utilities 50/50, but we pay for all food. She buys her own specialty items like certain toiletries etc. We also split all home maintenance expenses. We do not have any kind of written agreement to this effect. My husband is her only child, so there are no other siblings to contend with. My DH has a POA for her, and she put him on her bank account in case of emergency we could access funds. We are her sole beneficiaries for her small savings, small life insurance, and her house. The strange thing is that she is a retired school teacher from Louisiana and never paid in to nor receives SSI. She says she "opted out" way back when, so she receives her retirement income and has medical insurance from her retirement, but no Medicare.
We are most concerned with protecting the house in case she should need more care than we can provide. I would like to protect some of the cash too, because it's her desire to pay for her own funeral expenses and she has some of it pre-paid but there will need to be cash on hand too. Her wish is to live as she does now, and die peacefully in her own bed someday. While I hope for that for her too, it's not a likely scenario. It's very difficult for us to even discuss nursing home care because she adamantly refuses it. I don't WANT to put her there, but I am afraid someday this might be a reality. For now she is pretty healthy, mind pretty clear, but she does have debilitating arthritis and can not hardly go anywhere except doctor appointments and the occasional restaurant. She does not drive, I do all errands and driving for her. She uses a walker full time and I do all the cooking and cleaning for all of us.
I don't even know if someday she would qualify for Medicaid, but I am assuming if the day came and we needed to put her somewhere, we would apply. If approved they take all her income, her liquid cash assets, and then put a lien on the house? Even if we live here and it's our home? Our name is not on the deed. Should we attempt seek an attorney to work on getting out names on the deed? Is there any way for her to set aside like $5k for burial expenses in my DH's name so that it wouldn't be taken? Aside from that I do understand them taking her assets, but the reality is that this is our home. We are hoping to stay here long term, finish raising the kids here and retire here.
We need to have a "family meeting" to discuss all this. Can you advise if there are any other questions I should be thinking about? Things to discuss with an atty? Things to bring up with MIL now, while there is no crisis, so that we are all prepared?
I'm a little overwhelmed with all of this. We really don't have money for an atty but will seek one if our case warrants it.
Thanks for any help and wisdom you can share!