Is a home that was deeded to an heir with a life estate considered part of the estate when the parent dies?

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My in-law's wills state their assets are to be divided equally among my husband and our four children. They have about $30,000 cash. $10,000 is in a joint account with my husband. They have a few possessions that may be worth $5000 at auction. They signed a deed giving their house to my husband with a life estate for themselves several years ago. We think the house and $10,000 would be excluded from the will and would go directly to my husband and any remaining cash or items would get divided among my husband and our kids under the will. Which, depending on what we have to be used for their care, would be about $7000 each. The kids seem to think the house would get sold and proceeds divided as well. Do we need to ask his parents to clairfy this in the wills or are the documents correct as is? His mom is 97 and bedridden. Myself and a CNA care for her everyday. His dad still takes care of his needs, but is very weak.

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Coco - get an attorney and I'd suggest you find a firm that does elder law and also has guys that do probate, so they can dovetail whatever and have the files so that when the estate does go to probate it will be much, much more efficient.

I've been executrix twice and really a good savvy probate attorney is priceless. For my "aunts" (actually was married to a cousin, she was multi widowed and the estate was a jumble, over 4 years of nothing but fun) estate, there was a nephew who assumed would be named executor and when I was, got all huffy about what he was owed from the estate and he was going to challenge, yada yada....Now she had given him a significant sum over the years. (She had never given me anything except for celebratory gifts, it was a surprise to me to be named too.) He claimed that she was paying him for care and that he was still owed $$$ for all that he did. Here's what my attorney did: he did a letter that I, as executrix, sent him a letter thanking him for all his caregiving and letting him know that a 1099 would be issued for all the monies paid for the current year and that amended returns would be filed for prior years and that attached are W-9's that we need you to fill out and just to make it easier for you also enclosed is a stamped envelope addressed to the law office and oh if you don't return these there still will be 1099's sent and a noncompliance form will be sent to the IRS. You kinda need to be proactive and establish that you are the executor.

About the kids, my guess is that one or two of the son/daughter in laws are behind the "we are entitled" bs. And that they on their own are 1 will reading away from being able to afford a cheap used car. Money grubbers.

Good luck, get good legal and stay calm and keep a sense of humor.
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The brother-in-law of one G'ma, disliked that she had given nearly her whole estate to Dad: The house, contents, accounts she'd set up for him.
Her business went to her business partners.

Since her brother-in-law disliked her Living Trust [...must have been "revokable"], he lead her by the hand once she was fairly unable to process things clearly, mentally, to a new lawyer.
Those 2 proceeded to re-do her entire estate
...in as much as what she had left to Dad, to his detriment.

Then they tied it all up in a neat little bow, at the end of the documents, that stated: "IF anyone hints at contesting this will, the entire estate will be liquidated immediately, and turned over to the Boy Scouts of America".
THAT kept everyone intimidated, enough to cover the tracks of the lawyer and his lawyer son who later took over the estates they'd set up like that...plums they lived off of for years, reaping the fees.
UNTIL they screwed up, and didn't file proper tax documentation.

Once that started happening
[guessing sonny-boy failed to learn a few tricks from his dad],
my Dad's widow was able to contest who was the Executor, at least,
and take over the Executorship, at least for Gma's estate.
[feel sorry for all those these 2 lawyers screwed over]
She was not able to change anything, but at least she got the Exector's fee, instead of the crooked lawyers.

Saddest part was, the brother-in-law who did this, was dying of cancer when he did it, and knew it.
It was entirely out of spite against Dad, and made sure none of the grandkids got squat.
Families can behave so badly, it makes one just want to forget they ever knew 'em..
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It should always be kept in mind that, regardless of how well we plan and how 'airtight' our estates are, pretty much ANYBODY can sue ANYBODY at ANY TIME over ANY THING. So, the reason for hiring a good elder law attorney and getting your 'ducks in a row' is not just sound financial planning with the best tax benefits, but also for your estate to look as unlikely a target as possible in the eyes of an opportunistic relative (and their attorney) to sue.
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hmmmm...I wonder...how could legal transfers of assets NOT be legal?

Saying that others can take assets, despite clear wishes and legal documents stating who those assets truly go to,
is rather like taking an adopted child away from the adoptive parents after they've had the child for several years, just because the biological parent[s] change their minds, or make appearance of getting their lives back on track.

What point is setting up legal arrangements, if they cannot actually do what they are supposed to do?

I was told that if a house was deeded over to a child, even with a life estate to the folks, the house was the child's that it was deeded to.
I also was told, that a home could be gifted to a child, and, in cases of CA elder tax laws, the child would assume the same tax rates as the parent had while living in it. A true boon in high-rent districts!

The whole idea of a Living Trust,
is to assure easy, speedy transfer to the person intended to receive whatever assets are held in the Living Trust, avoiding probate..

Yes, there is about a 5-year look-back for those who receive Welfare Assistance [DSHS]/Medicaid.
HOWEVER, there is also something in the rules that most States have, stipulating that family assets should NOT be taken by the State, IF it results in forcing survivor's to exist on the welfare system themselves.
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This is exactly the scenario that people land themselves in when they dabble in elder law, estate law, and real estate law - and you might find that the answer you get is going to be very disappointing. It's possible that even though you own the house, the "basis" when you sell it will either be $0.00, or whatever amount your parents paid for the house. You must own and live in the house for a minimum number of consecutive years prior to selling it, or you will pay capital gains on the either (a) the entire sale price if the basis is $0.00, or (b) the difference between the previous sale price and current sale price. It also might be quite easy for heirs who have equal standing under the law to claim that you had undue influence, and essentially "scooped" the house because you were there to do it. It could get ugly. I hope you kept detailed records of the hours of care given, mileage to appointments, all that stuff - which accumulates and you can chargeback against the estate - perhaps to the tune of the value of the house. The only other thing that can be done is for their wills to explicitly state that they are giving you the house in its entirety to you and your husband for your years of caregiving and that they intend for the remainder of the estate to be divided. What you "think" is fair doesn't matter here - what matters is what is in writing and what a judge will rule if the wills are challenged.
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"hoping": I'd follow the lawyer's advice, particularly if s/he is an elder law attorney. As far as I know, if the title for the property was transferred outside of the five year "look back," then the property is not considered an asset during the Medicaid application process. The rules vary from state to state, so a lawyer's advice is invaluable in determining the best way to "spend down" any other assets they may have that could be used for their current care, the upkeep of the house, pre-paying funeral expenses and other things that are legitimate uses for their assets in the eyes of Medicaid. I can feel how hurt you are about being taken for granted by the other members of your family. Being compensated, even if it is in some small way, for all of your efforts might help heal some of that hurt. It would at least provide some recognition of your sacrifices. The few hundred dollars you would spend to sit down with a licensed elder law attorney would be well worth the investment.
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My parents have my brothers and mine name on the land deeds to go to us when they pass and they have the right to live on it and do what they want with it untill then the lawyer says that if they go to the nurseing home the state won't get this land but I think if the state wants it and has to take care of my parents they will get it. we did this about 10 years ago what about the items on the land would that have to be sold to pay the nurseing home. I am taking care of them and have been for almost 5 years by myself but who knows when I will have to throw in the towel I don't want to place them in the nurseing home but if I give up they would have to go I can't bring in extra help for my mother is scared and I would have to be there to babysit the help. My brother lives out of state and comes in a couple times a year for a week or so but now my mother gets afraid of him and I have to stay. I live about 1/4 mile away but never get to go home now very much and them moving in with us would not work. It would be a shame to loss the family land now after all the hard work I have did . I didn't keep them at home to get the land but I would hate to loss it now . I know the money in the bank would be the states but I was wondering about the land I read somewhere if you could prove you helped them and kept them out of the nurseing home the state wouldn't get the land. I don't know about that Good Luck coco490 I really don't think the grand kids should be able to make many decions on this unless they did alot of the work. That is just my opion but by law it doesn't work that way the son should get the property and then grandchildren after the son passes if he holds on to it. In my case I am doing all the work and everything is going to be divided down the middle it isn't fair but that is the way they want it I understand in a way how they think but they have no clue of what I am giving up for them. Wishing everyone a good day. Good luck coco490
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The kids could question it all they like.
But if an account is set up as "joint with right of survivor", it goes to the survivor who is the account's joint owner, NOT the estate.

As for the house, since the folks deeded it to the son, it's his, too.....
=="They signed a deed giving their house to my husband with a life estate for themselves several years ago".==
But this could be clarified by an elder law person local to you.

Please check with your closest Area Agency on Aging: they often have lawyers volunteer to come to that office, where people can go have a free consult.
Bring copies of documents from the bank in question, and copies of the deed arrangement.
It sounds like your folks were taking care of you, because they knew you were taking care of them.
It is too bad the kids seem to have taken on an air of entitlement not due them.

It is a great idea to get your parents to perhaps sign an additional document that states their wishes more clearly. I hope they are still lucid enough to do so.

It is my understanding [for decades], that a "numismatic will", that is, one handwritten by the person, dated, signed, in their handwriting entirely, stands as a legal will. These handwritten wills cannot be notarized, as that invalidates them.
A typed will, needs signed in front of a notary, to prove it was really the person signing it.
Certain elements must be present in a will, such as date, signature, and the content needs to say something about "sound mind", and include what goes to whom.
Hope you get it all straightened out soon!
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It's worth sitting down with an elder law attorney for an hour to sort out exactly what will happen if the current will stays in effect and then to ask his parents to change it if that is not what they intend to happen. There are also tax ramifications to a life estate that need to be considered.
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