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Hello, My mom has dementia and my family is suggesting I transfer the house she lives in into my name. It is currently in both of our names. Is there anything more I should know? Should there be any money exchanged?

She currently lives off a trust fund, if that finishes she would be on medicare. Currently we take care of her at home and at our house.

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As others have said, you are best served by discussing your plan with an atty to find out what your moms options are for her assets & what type of risk is involved for both taxes, gains and future Medicaid eligibility. I'd speak with a NAELA level of elder law atty.

In a nutshell the transfer penalty is a # of days ineligibility equation based on the value of the property divided by your states daily room&board medicaid reinbursement rate that starts the day of the Medicaid application. Like for TX NH the r&b is about $155day so 100k transfer basically is 645 days of ineligiblilty BUT if your state reinbursement is $325 a day, it's only 307 days of ineligibility. As they are in a NH and already impoverished, someone in the family will have to private pay for moms stay. The facility gets the ineligibility letter as well and they will fully expect family to pay all costs. If you are in a filial responsibility state, the facility stands a good chance of being able to place the debt onto you.

Couple of things to consider.....You & mom currently own (no mortgage) the house 50/50 & it is legally recorded as such at the courthouse & in tax assessor records and this shared ownership has existed for over 5 years? if so, you are in a better situation to deal with a medicaid transfer penalty than most as you only having to deal with 50%. Now if the current tax assessor value (you should have this document around as taxes are due at the end of January in most areas) is accurate, that usually will be the figure used for penalty. But for many elders, the assessor value is way way off base. The house is one bought in the 1940s-1960's and really has not be renovated. Or not renovated to the H>V show standards with granite kitchen countertops & waterfall shower heads in the ensuite MB&b that buyers just expect & have paid for in your area. So the Realtor & Assessor comps used to get value is not representative of what value is. House is worth less and you should think about doing things to prove legally that is the case - get the house inspected & appraised & perhaps also a residential strucural engineers report if there are foundation issues. These need to be done by licensed & registered professionals with thier seal or state license on the document. They are legal too so if they show the house is 50k less than assessor value, you can us the lower value to enter for probate or for the transfer penalty value but it needs to be done within the period of time to be reviewed. The atty will know how to do these and who to contact if you don't.

None of this is a DIY project, really truly.
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PLEASE see an Elder Law attorney who knows Medicaid before any deed is transferred. There are rules and regulations that a lay person may not be aware of. It's worth a consult to have peace of mind. Beware of transfers. I would get legal advice on the options, then decide what to do.
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Thank you for replying. I am the Durable Power of Attorney. She is cognizant enough to sign the deed over, yes. They suggested it be transferred as to the time when the trust runs out if she needs to be in a living care center she would need medicaid. If the house is in my name it is safer. But I know there is the rule of transfer of assets within so many years. (I don't know how many).

If I moved into the house I would be able to afford taking care of it. If not, then I would rent or sell it and use that money to support my mom.

We cannot find her living will and I'm working on getting a new one. My lawyer asked to see the terms of the trust and my family has not sent it yet.

Thank you for your help.
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AM, there are some basic facts to address first.

First of all, your family's concern is not necessarily the best legal advice. I'm sure the believe they're right, but they're not attorneys, and this is a situation in which legal advice would be more helpful.

Second, is your mother still cognizant and aware enough that SHE could sign a deed transferring title of the house solely to you?

Third, does anyone hold financial and legal rights pursuant to a Durable Power of Attorney? And not necessarily on point, but has your mother executed a Living Well or Advanced Directive for medical decisions?

Third, when the trust fund is exhausted, will she need Medicare or Medicaid? There's a big difference.

Fourth, why does your family feel title to the house should be transferred? Are they aware of Medicaid rules on transfer of assets? If not, they should become acquainted with them.

Fifth, do YOU have the funds to maintain her house if title is vested in you alone? Can you pay utilities, insurance and maintenance for her house?

Sixth, what does your family feel will be accomplished by this title transfer?

Seventh, the issue of exchange of funds is far down the road. First address the issue of whether or not she'll need Medicaid, or Medicare as you write.

Eighth, if the family feels the house should be transferred, why not sold and the proceeds added to theassets of the Trust to extend the amount of funds available for your mother's support?
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