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My older sister and I have families and both live overseas, while our single sister K happens to live in Chicago. K who moved into our family home with our parents during tough financial times, losing job, selling her condo, studying for her Masters in Education, working as an Assistant while looking for a full time position as a teacher. My father was soon diagnosed with Acute myeloid leukemia and became his live-in caregiver. Once he had passed(four years ago), she was caring for our mother as well. Since K. has not gotten a full time teaching position yet, her funds are limited and she will have to live with our Mother who needs assistance. We would like to put our mother in a home, where she can get the full time assistance she needs, but K is worried about losing a roof over her head, since the house is in our mother´s name, it would be held in escrow. K is in a depression, constantly worrying about her future with the house, not to mention a full time position for stability and losing our mother, which is inevitable. Is there anything she can do to get the house in her name, even though our mother has dementia? Regards, Linda Eiken in Oslo, Norway

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1. Medicaid may not cover Assisted Living.
2. Rent from the house might help pay for Assisted Living.
3. Medicaid frowns on giving away the house.
4. K needs to be self-supporting at some point in her life.
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If your mom pays for her own care and doesn't run out of money for at least five years, there's a chance the house could be saved if it's taken out of her name now. If, however, she doesn't have the money to pay for her own care, before your mom would be eligible for Medicaid (nursing home, not assisted living), she will have to spend down her own money 'til broke, basically.

It's my understanding, I'm not sure on this, that if the house (an asset) is earning at least 6% net income, Medicaid will allow the house to stay in your mom's name; but all income from rental will go towards her nursing home charges.

IF THAT'S TRUE, then your mom could rent the house to your sister for at least market rent (providing that market rent earns at least a 6% return on the value of the house). I don't know, however, if, when your mom passed, the house would be free and clear. I suspect not.

To my knowledge, Medicaid doesn't pay anything at all towards assisted living. A prospective recipient is also required to be certified by doctors that he/she needs skilled nursing care.

I think the long and short of it is that, unless your mom can pay for her own care, sooner or later (and probably sooner) the house would have to be sold to pay for her care.

You really need the advice of an elder law attorney. It's quite a specialized field.
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Another thought...if your mother hasn't been formally diagnosed with dementia and she's still cognizant of legal transactions, she could quit claim title to the house to herself and to K, as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. When your mother passes, K would automatically inherit the house.

But the big question is if your mother is legally capable of executing documents such as conveyances.
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Given that K is the full-time caregiver, what's her assessment of your mother's condition and whether or not facility placement would be appropriate? Does K have any in-home help now or is she handling all the caregiving herself? And does she concur with your plan?

I'm not sure how the house "would be held in escrow." Do you mean that your mother would continue to hold title, but would execute documentation reflecting that the house would be inherited by K on your mother's death? Or that K would just continue to live in the house alone while your mother is in a facility w/o any formal documentation?

My experience with escrows is that they typically are a situation in which certain contingencies exist, and until that time conveyance or other actions are held in abeyance pending satisfaction of specified conditions.

The question then is what were/are your mother's plans for the house? Has she executed a Living Trust or Will? If so, does it provide that K would inherit the house?

You don't mention Medicaid but I'm wondering if your thoughts are that your mother would be applying for it.

As to getting title conveyed to K, if someone holds a Durable Power of Attorney which specifically creates the authority to do so, even while your mother is alive, then it could be conveyed, unless there's a Medicaid issue.

Are either you or your sister named as recipients of authority under a DPOA?

Has your mother actually been diagnosed with dementia?

It's comforting to see two siblings concerned about the welfare of a third. So often posts here reflect sibling rivalry, contentiousness and friction over the elder's care and assets.
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