Is it legal to give your home away 5 years before you go into a nursing home so you don't have to give it to Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP)?

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Lisa - in reading your profile, your situation doesn’t seem to be about Medicaid or it’s Estate recovery / MERP program. It’s to me more very tragic family mendacity done years ago..... so 2008, your brother got his & your blind mom to sign a document transferring her home to him. She asked him if it was as per her will (which had all divided equally for heirs) & he lied & said yes. The document actually transferred home into his name unbeknownst to mom in 2008. In 2015 brother dies & mom goes into a NH. I’m guessing mom is on Medicaid.  His son - son is unknown to your family - as  your brothers heir then sells the house. The son had to go through some type of court / legal process to do this...... could be a Muniment of Title if there was a will and no debt (TX allows for Muniment, it’s cheap & pretty 3 step simple) or a Lineal Heirship if brother died intestate (those kinda need an atty as there’s Notices done). He would need some sort of legal filing / judges order to sell house. It’s been too much time imo for your mom to do anything about this now. 

If mom included the home as an exempt asset in her Medicaid application, whomever is now her dpoa needs to let TX DADS know of the error in listing the home as an asset. Dpoa could do this now or wait till the annual renewal ((for my mom her TX renewal was sent a year & 2 months from her initial application date)). I’d guess dpoa will have to get certified copies of filings on the property from the courthouse if Medicaid gets demanding. 2013 would be 5 yr mark for Medicaid look-back of asset transfers done in 2008. 

Love the screen shot of your sweet mom. 
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Need - for an elder in a NH & on Medicaid but continuing to own their home imo a TOD or Lady Bird Deed can work if
- you live in a state that allows for them & hopefully your state laws don’t change AND
- the heirs / family can afford all costs of the widow or widower elders property from day 1 of NH Medicaid till beyond death and the property is transferred. Medicaid requires a copay or SOC (share of cost) of their monthly income less a small personal needs allowance. PNA average $50-60 a mo. Maybe enough for beauty shop & some toiletries replacement. Realistically elder has no $ to pay on anything on the house that remains in their name. Family will need to pay all property expenses.

If you’re the only future heir & can easily afford elders home for an unknown period of time, & you do not mind risk, terrific. You pay everything “house”.
But if your tight financially &/or one of several heirs, not everyone is going to happily just pay the co$t$ of a parents home till whenever with or without a TOD or exclusions to MERP or parent desire to keep the old homestead. That’s the problem that comes up again & again. Add to that if your living in the home & there’s multiple heirs, why should they pay a penny? Whatever the situation, You can’t force them to share the costs. And whether they pay or not, they are still entitled to their heirship. 

Dealing with MERP can be done. But to me you have to have the time, $ & wherewithal to understand exclusions / exemptions to recovery and have the patience to go the long view in the process. And doesn’t hurt if you kinda like some degree of risk. 

If TOD law should change, for some states property costs on non-occupied property can be deducted from Medicaid tally if documentation is provided to MERP. You kinda have keep documentation as you never know....
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There are many ways to avoid MERP with a house. Another is a transfer on death deed. I actually prefer that since there's no way it can affect medicaid eligibility since it happens after death. I don't want anything that's done now to effect my parents care. So anything that can be done after they no longer have any need for care is better IMO.

I would consult a medicaid/elderlaw attorney to see what's available in your state. Under the right conditions, part of the medicaid application process can be transferring the house to a child to avoid MERP.
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Anyone can gift or transfer an item of value. But it will have to have transferred ownership correctly & filed appropriately and pay whatever taxes due on the gift. Real property- home, land, cars - transfers are not imo ever DIYs as paperwork has to be drawn up correctly for your state.

This site is littered with posts from families who find themselves in a hot mess on diy’d Quit Claim Deeds on parents homes in an attempt to circumvent Medicaid. Find an NAELA or CELa atty who does Medicaid planning to discuss with your parents what you think you’d like your parents to do. And what the risk is in this for them & their family. If elder did this today and elder needs Medicaid before the summer of 2023, then their ineligible for Medicaid and you will need private pay for care till penalty period (its # of days ineligible) is gone; or they move in with you and your cobble together providing 24/7 care; or your elder becomes a ward of the state and the state appointed guardian looks into restitution for those that took advantage of a vulnerable adult. There is no risk free approach.
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Lisahernandez, unless one has a crystal ball, there is no way of knowing if the homeowner will develop an illness that requires a skilled nursing facility, as Jeanne had mentioned above.

The equity that is in that house should go for the future care of the homeowner, so that they have the best care available, and the best care facility.

Yes, it would be nice if a parent gives the house to the grown child(ren). At minimum, the parent would have to file an IRS Gift Tax return when you quitclaim deed an interest in your home to your child(ren).

And if the grown child(ren) want to sell the house later down the road, there will be Capital Gains Tax. And the "bases" used for this tax will be from all the way back to the value of the house when the parent had purchased. Instead, if the house is in the parent's Will, then the "bases" is the value of the house on the day the parent passes.
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Yes. How will you know when it is five years before your need for a nursing home?
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