Should I put the house in my name? - AgingCare.com

Should I put the house in my name?

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If Mom were to go into a nursing home. From what I understand, they could take her house. I also live there as her caretaker! If this were to happen, would they be able to take it, and evict me. If so, would it be better to transfer ownership to me, as I am her only child? The house as well as everything is willed to me.

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My mother has a caregiver during the week while I work (from 6am-7p). Also from Friday morning thru Sunday morning. I stay with her during the weeknights and work a full time job. I travel an extra 50 miles a day, pay all her bills (with her money), grocery shop, keep up the upkeep on the house, etc. Are there any tax breaks for me? I do not get paid.
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I meant 60 MONTHS is the "lookback" period.
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THANK YOU Igloo!!! that is very helpful
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I met with the estate/tax attorney. It appears that an irrevocable living trust is the best option for us. I have to make certain that it is appropriate for both VA and possible medicaid, but I think it will help. Also, assets placed in an irrevocable living trust do not go through probate when my mother passes away.
I have a DPOA that will allow me to establish the trust for her. Now I have to begin collecting deeds and stock certificates.
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VIP's - my mom still has her home, is on Medicaid and I & another family member pay for all on the vacant house. Under MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery Program - there are all kinds of exemptions. One of those is deductions (from the MERP tally) of all & every costs paid on & for the deceased home:

Texas Administrative Code:
TITLE 1 ADMINISTRATION
PART 15 TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSION
CHAPTER 373 MEDICAID ESTATE RECOVERY PROGRAM
SUBCHAPTER B RECOVERY CLAIMS
RULE §373.213 Deduction Allowed for Expenses for Home Maintenance and Costs of Care
(a) An amount equal to necessary and reasonable maintenance expenses and taxes may be deducted from the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) claim for maintaining the home of the deceased Medicaid recipient, provided that sufficient supporting documentation of these expenditures, such as receipts, is provided to MERP by estate personal representatives, heirs, or legatees. Necessary and reasonable expenses for maintaining the home include real estate taxes, utility bills, insurance, home repairs, and home maintenance expenses such as lawn care.
(b) An amount equal to the necessary and reasonable expenses for the direct payment of the costs of care (including payment of personal attendant care) provided for a deceased Medicaid recipient that enabled the recipient to remain in his or her home and thereby delayed the institutionalization of the Medicaid recipient may be deducted from the MERP claim, provided that sufficient supporting documentation of these expenditures, such as receipts, is provided to MERP by estate personal representatives, heirs, or legatees.
(c) Requests for obtaining allowable deductions from MERP claims for expenses under subsections (a) or (b) of this section must be made in writing within 60 days after receipt of the Notice of the Intent to File a Claim by MERP.
All supporting documentation must be attached to the request and sent to MERP, Home Maintenance/Costs of Care Request, P.O. Box 13247, Austin, Texas.

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All states have MERP exemptions, but you have to file for them and do so in a very timely manner. MERP is a legal process and whomever does MERP in your state has to determine if they will proceed with the MERP claim in the first place.
That is why you have to get the stuff in asap after death, so the determination can be made if a MERP legal action will even happen.
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Abby33 - tax attorney.... do you mean an estate attorney? We used an estate attorney rather than an elder care attorney with my mom. Went well and experience does count. What your state law is like on death and lineal inheritance could make a big difference. Like in TX, you can do an enhanced benefit trust (aka Lady Bird Deed) rather an a life estate but in other states it's not valid. I know your thinking mom has plenty of $$ & won't need Medicaid but you never know and it's not ever too early to start planning for that possibility. 5 years = 2018.

My mom is in her mid90's and really if they live long enough, imho, they will eventually run out of funds and the caregivers will run out of steam and family will run out of nice. NH run from 4K to 10/12K a month and add whatever full freight private pay medical and ancillary services and easily you can "plow" through an easy 6 figures a year for a NH stay. And that could be $ better spent on farm needs.

I'm assuming you all are concerned about capital gains? I know for houses, if the house was bought a long time ago like 1950’s/60’s, could be a big $$ in capital gains. Now you can homestead the property before you sell it and avoid capital gains. I think it’s 3 out of 5 years homesteaded to do this. But you have to make the home your principal residence and file for homestead. I don't have any idea if this works for farms but it's something to look into.

If mom has a life insurance policy and she owns it, look into have the ownership of the policy changed so it's not an asset that she owns.

About farmland and ranches, if the elder's homestead is within a working family farm or ranch, then it seems to be that the whole property is an exempt asset for Medicaid while they are alive and qualifies for an exemption under MERP (Medicaid Estate Recovery Program) after they die. Now the Medicaid application will likely get evaluated by a specialist within the program because ranch land, farmland are pretty complex and above the usual caseworkers level. But really if you can talk with legal about moving it all from under her ownership now and into an LLC and perhaps a special needs trust set up from proceeds from the LLC.

If you're looking at a significant amount of $$, I'd seek the advice of another professional to see how they would structure changes. Since you're getting a legal viewpoint, maybe speak with a financial advisor. Personally, I suggest speaking with a stockbroker who has a series 7 license with a book that has other farm clients and is with a wire house (so if there is a problem they have a compliance department to go to for those issues). Good luck!
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I have many of the same questions, 2Tired. My Mom has a substantial amount of farm land and bank stock in her name. Her home and the surrounding property is in a living estate with my nephew. I'm seeing a tax attorney tomorrow to discuss the pros and cons of moving things out of her name. My DPOA states that I have authority to transfer property and funds as I see fit. I want to apply for the Veteran's Aid and Attendance benefit for her...not so much concerned about medicaid. The VA doesn't have a look-back period so it may be possible. My concern is the tax burden that will be placed on my brother and I regarding gift taxes, cost basis etc. I'll write an update after I see the attorney.
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Q: Some time ago, I was given POA. Would that also include bank accounts?

A: Not unless the POA says you have control over her financial transactions/bank accounts. And if your name is on her account you had better be sure you can justify what you are spending her money on. Anything that would be considered income that should have gone to her care that you used for something else would be a problem not only in qualifying for Medicaid (you have to explain her expenses and provide proof for those considered "deductible" toward her eligibility) but also could get you in trouble with Social Security if you are her representative payee as well.
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The 60 days is the "look back" period. Google it.

When you sell a home, you may become ineligible for Medicaid. Though Medicaid doesn't consider your primary residence to be a countable asset, it does count the proceeds of the sale. If the profit you make from the sale causes your assets to exceed Medicaid's limit, you will no longer receive benefits. However, if you spend the money from the sale over time, you can reapply for Medicaid once your assets are below the limit.

To remain eligible for Medicaid after selling your home, you may consider spending the profits to stay below the countable resource limit or transferring the assets to another individual. While Medicaid can't prohibit you from spending your money, you may become ineligible for Medicaid if you transfer funds to someone else. If Medicaid discovers you have transferred assets for less than their fair market value to be eligible for coverage, it may terminate your benefits.
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Avoid probate delays, estate leeches, and medicaid / irs sticky fingers.... If you can, put the house in your name. And anything else of value. Also, be sure your loved one has a will that says strictly what should occur upon their demise.
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