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What would happen to her house, which is attached to our property, if this 62 year old ends up needing long term care and Medicaid when she's older? She owns the house not the property. Could our entire property be up for grabs by Medicaid? I hope she stays healthy and could enjoy living in her house for a while. But I'm not sure of my ability to provide a lot of hands on care if she ever needs it due to a condition that's keeps getting worse and affects my mobility. Thanks for any input!

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I'm no expert, but, mobile homes and trailers, that are mobile have VIN numbers and are registered like vehicles, normally with the state's DMV. In some states they can become part of the real estate if wheels are removed and they are underpinned to become permanent to the land, however, they become part of the land of the land owner at the time they are made permanent to the land. So, it's not an easy answer here, imo. That's why an expert like an attorney in Estate Planning and Real Property Law would be very beneficial. It's too risky to leave it up to chance, imo. I wouldn't want to get a big surprise one day when I wasn't expecting it.
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JoAnn29 Mar 22, 2019
I think the structure can be permanent but the land still belong to the original owner. Like a trailer park, you lease the land. You pay taxes on the structure.
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This how I look at it but u need to find out for sure.

Mom comes to live with you and you needed to put in a bathroom or like me, add a shower to a powder room, if Mom pays for the upgrade, that is considered a gift in Medicaids eyes. Its an improvement of your property and Mom would be penalized. So I would think the same with the tiny home. Its improving your home so her paying for it would be considered a gift. If you want to take that chance, then allow her to pay. Just be aware if she ever needs Medicaid that you may have to pay her NH bill until penalty is met.

Now her house being on your property, I would think, would be like a trailer. She doesn't own the land. She just owns the structure. If she goes on Medicaid she can keep the structure. Only upon her death would a lean be put on her structure. That would be where the problem would come in. This is what should be discussed with a elder lawyer.

You are probably not the only person who has done this for a parent. If I had the property would have been great for my Mom. They even advertise those Granny Structures.

If you find out how it works please come back and tell us.
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I don't see how the entire house can be up for grabs for medicaid. How is this different than your MIL parking a camper in your driveway? That wouldn't make it part of the property.

I think the best analogy is that this is the same as having a mobile home. She owns the home, she doesn't own the land underneath it. So medicaid may make a claim on the home, but they can't on the land.

Your mom is young at 62. I would say that medicaid is a far down the road unless something unexpected happens. Plan according just like your mom has had that house for decades to avoid recovery on that house. Set up a trust or execute a TOD if you live in a no probate state. 13 states only attempt recovery on assets going through probate. No probate means no recovery. How much is this house worth? If it's less than the probate limits, then it may not even go through probate.

You should consult a competent attorney to see what your options are.

Out of curiosity, why build a house instead of getting a prefab? Prefabs are pretty nice these days. They aren't the trailers of old. Also, as others have mentioned, why not a tiny house? Those are basically trailers and can be wheeled anywhere. A lot of people use them as RVs and tow them around the country.

As always, I have no idea what I am saying. I'm just mumbling via keyboard.
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arthritismama Mar 20, 2019
Needtowashhair,
My MIL is so picky that she did everything she could to avoid living in a mobile home or anything on wheels. Wouldn't settle for anything less than a house. It's her money but we made it clear that she really shouldn't pay more than half her retirement on it. Never thought of probate we need to check if it exceeds the limit. If it does, that could change how we do the ownership.
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Am I reading this correctly, the small house is under construction prior to consulting legal advice? And it is not movable once built?

Get to an lawyer right away and get the answers you need.

You say she is supposed to 'work a regular job' once the house is built. What has she been doing over the last two years?

I am studying financial planning and investing 50% of her assets into something that she cannot sell down the road is a big mistake, but if construction has started, you need to do get the best legal and financial advice you can afford right away.

The only option I see is for you to pay for the building of the Granny Flat and rent it out to her. That preserves her capital and should protect you from Medicaid look back.

62 is not old if she is in good health. My Mum at almost 85 lives independently and is currently painting the lower floor of her home.
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arthritismama Mar 20, 2019
Tothill,

If only we had the funds to pay for it. Otherwise that would have been what we did since the ownership would not be a problem. Looks like I'll need a consult about the legal ramifications of having a building that's not ours on our property. Hopefully she'll be like your mum and not be a problem. She wants the house to be ours eventually but nothing is in writing.
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Yes, I'd consult with an attorney about it. Things like that are tricky. It's not that common of a thing, I would't think, but, I'd get a professional opinion, because matters of real estate are really important and you really want to know where you and she stands. I'd be concerned that they could interpret her building on your land as a gift to your property, because I don't see where her name would appear on anything. The address says your name, right? And, land is titled by deed. How would she get a deed for house only and not land? So many questions. Lots of ways to look at it.
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arthritismama Mar 20, 2019
Sunnygirl1,
Good point about the house potentially being considered a gift to the property. That means it could be part of the 5 year look back period right? Hopefully we are shy of that being a problem since she's healthy. Good idea to get a consult.
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Does she have any medical issues? How are her finances? If it’s a tiny house then I am assuming that it is detached from the existing home? Medicaid can be tricky to say the least, and I would consult and elder law attorney to make sure everything is in order.
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arthritismama Mar 20, 2019
Abby2018,
Currently my MIL does not have medical issues and I'm hoping she's as healthy as she appears. As for finances she's on track to depleting her life insurance savings in the fall. FIL died suddenly a few years ago. She's using about half of FILs retirement savings to build the house. Will start using any remaining funds to live off of if she has a deficit. She's supposed to work a regular job once the house is moved into to cover living expenses. If not she'll run out of those funds in about 2 years. It's a small house on pier and beam. So not easy to move.
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