My wife and I want to purchase a bigger home so we can move my mother in with us and care for her. We are in Pennsylvania. We could not afford the home without putting my mother on the mortgage. Her Medicare, Social Security, and pension will allow us to qualify for the debt to income ratio to afford the new house. Once we sell our existing house we will have a profit to refinance and take my mother off the mortgage. What penalties or problems can occur with her benefits or getting her name off the mortgage?

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Well. To stay on topic is tricky because Monk is asking only about the financial aspects.

What went wrong *there*...

Not knowing that we would need to know about mental incapacity and all of that boiling, we didn't attend to powers of attorney and how mother's money would be managed. We were not advised, and she had forgotten, or it never crossed her mind to mention it, that she had already set up a springing DPOA to be administered jointly (not jointly and severally, which would have been a slight improvement) by my brother and sister. Having her finances handled by an independent professional or even a disinterested friend would have been fine, in fact it would have been an advantage; having them handled by family members with their own worries and agendas was... fraught. It was like having to submit every decision to a committee composed of individuals every one of whom could start a fight in an empty room. One of them was abroad for at least ten weeks of the year. The other was a self-employed depressive who didn't respond to messages or phone calls if he didn't feel like it. I couldn't get my mother's rooms' carpets replaced. I couldn't get the damp in her bedroom treated. These things were adjudged "a waste of money", and although I could have got Adult Safeguarding involved it would have taken months to resolve with uncertain chances of success. Adult Safeguarding expect families to sort these issues out for themselves - they already have plenty of serious, immediate abuse cases on their plates.

The house cost us a mint. Building works are *always* more expensive than you think they're going to be. And they never end.

I expected to continue to work. Forget it. If you're caregiving full-time, you will not be working.

I did not expect my mother to develop dementia. There is no family history of it, and I did not know, and nobody told me, about the strong association between heart disease and vascular dementia. In any case, what did I know about dementia? Well, perhaps more than many innocent bystanders did - but in practice? The reality of it, at two in the morning? I knew nothing.

I also did not know what "falls" meant. Specifically, I had no idea what it felt like to have responsibility for falls prevention with a person who seemed intent on making a career of falling.

With wonderful 20:20 hindsight, I now know how all of these problems could have been avoided or at least mitigated. But even so, there would just have been different problems because there *always* *are.*

You may fall ill and be unable to work.
You may sustain an injury or develop a condition that demands significant resources.
If you have children, double or triple or quadruple the risk that there may, without warning, be major changes in your priorities.
One or more pension providers may go bust. Don't say it doesn't happen. It *does*.

It's just life. It's just normal. But the difference is that if your *home* is closely bound up with another person's home, you are trying to swim while tied to her. It works for neither of you.

I haven't even started on the emotional impacts. Believe me, it may sound as if I have, but so far we're only talking about the money.

"Gosh, you are brave!" people said to me, when they heard about our plans for the move. I wasn't brave - I liked my mother! I wanted her to be happy, and to feel loved. I wasn't afraid of helping an old lady get dressed or dealing with her extensive correspondence or indeed a bit of hard work.

And I still don't know what solution we could have found that would have worked better for her. There isn't always going to be a perfect answer, sometimes you have to take the one that means fewest compromises.

But please. Open your mind and go through a LOT more options before you make this move. At least I can say that nobody told me what I was letting myself in for.
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I moved my mother I with our family and it has been draining emotionally and she does not even need much care. We are also looking to buy a home with a better floor plan so all can have our own space, but our mortgage company told us putting mom on the mortgage was not a good idea. We can qualify without her as soon as we have an offer on our house,so you might want to check on that. My best advice is to gat her on her own if possible; get her in AL if not. She exhausts us already.  And since we need something very specific; it’s not that easy to wait till you have sold to buy. 
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CM, it would probably be useful, if you can bear it, to outline a couple of the pitfalls you encountered.
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Monk, we didn't have the mortgage to worry about; but pooling resources so that we could buy a home jointly with my mother, thus - we thought - killing all the birds of where to live, how not to leave her behind, and how to solve her care issues with one stone - is exactly the scenario that seemed like such a good idea to us at the time, ten years ago.

I haven't the heart to go through the whole history. Just - don't do it. Too many unforeseeable pitfalls.
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Why don't you sell your current house before buying a new one?
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Monk24, this plan won't cause any problem with with her SS or pension, unless it happens to be a VA pension. Medicare isn't a factor at all. But if your question is regarding how this plan might affect a future Medicaid application, then you should probably talk to an attorney who is an expert in your state's Medicaid rules. However, in general, if your mother's name is taken off the house title at least 5 years before applying for Medicaid, then there shouldn't be a problem. However, if your mother is going to pay you rent, then be sure to have a reasonable contract in place for that, else that could result in a Medicaid penalty. And if she is going to pay you anything for providing personal care, be sure to have a reasonable personal care agreement (PCA) signed and notarized before you accept any payments to ensure that those payments don't look like a gift to a possible future Medicaid examiner. has information on PCAs at
Helpful Answer (2)

Her name can't just be removed; you'd need written concurrence from the mortgagee (lender). And it might even require a new mortgage as opposed to an amended mortgage.

If her assets are a consideration in being granted a mortgage, you'll have to prove that you can make up for the portion which she would contribute.

I'm confused though why the existing house sale income wouldn't factor into the application for a mortgage now. The mortgagee would take that into consideration, and it would be more reliable than the involvement of a 78 year old person - no offense to your mother, but age is a factor in lending.

How would your mother's Medicare help you qualify for a mortgage?
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