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My parents own a car. Neither can drive any longer so it sits in my driveway. Occasionally, I use it to take them to a doctor appointment just so it turns over. They incur costs of insurance, registration, maintenance, etc. However, they do not want to sell it because they like the idea that if I am not available to take them to the doctor they can hire a driver and know the car is safe. I am fine with it in my driveway - not bothering us. While dad still has the ability to think pretty clearly, I am wondering if the title should be put in my name so I could sell it in case of their needing funds for their care. We are spending more than they take in monthly right now and it scares me. Dad is the clearer thinker and he is having more seizures with more frequency so I feel like time could be short. (ugh that is horrible to say) Is there a downside to just preparing the title for sale to me so I can sell the car in a hurry if we needed to?

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Hello! You mention that your parents care costs are exceeding their income. In that case, depending on their longevity (may it be long) they could forseably require Medicaid Assistance. If so, selling the car is ok but it must be for fair market value and those funds must be used directly for your parents care or an irrevocable burial trust. Currently Medicaid has a 5 year "look back" which is why hiding or gifting assets is a bad idea. They can and will make you repay the funds.. A good Elder Care Consultant can give you the ups and downs of using your parents money. Save receipts for Medicaid's spend down process and don't forget, there's nothing wrong if you also require some compensation as Caregiver. We pay nearly $1000/wk for 24 hr care. Your life is on hold and this is the hardest job you will ever have. God bless.
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I concur with others but will add that you should either sell it or use it. I had a 1996 Chevy Tahoe that I sold in 2016 with less than $75,000 miles on it. It was a total piece of junk when we sold it because it had not been driven enough. Cars deteriorate from sitting.

My mother has a van that we do use to transport her (it has a lift seat) but she doesn't go out that much. My husband and I take it out for errands whenever it is convenient just to run it.

If you have POA, you can sell the car whenever it needs to be sold. If you don't have POA, have them sign the title but leave the purchaser blank. That way you can sell it or donate it later if you need to (be careful, some states require a notarized bill of sale to accompany a signed title).

I agree that you should not have them sell it to you unless a) you need a car and b) they sell it to you at fair market price. Print out a copy of the current Blue Book value when you make the transaction because it will change later.
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There are many downsides to just transferring the car to your ownership--several were mentioned already.

However, this issue brings up an even more important one:

You absolutely need to get POAs from your parents while they are still competent to grant them. That will enable you to sell the car when it comes time as well as arrange for medical care, use their income to pay their bills, and 100s of other tasks you may not have thought of yet.
See an elder care attorney to do this. Cost probably less than $2000 to do an entire estate review, much less for just POAs. It will be worth it.
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When my parents moved in I bought thier sweet ride from them,, for the minimum I could. 3 years later Mom is still going strong.. so I have no worries at this point about the "gift issue" Take a look at how long you think it will be before they get hit with a look back. We use it to take her around and she loves that dang car! We did gift my dad's truck to a nephew of thiers, which was somehow OK under PA laws. But it was 10 years old. And we could afford to take the hit if she needs the money later. But as both of them did not drive it was easier to get it on our insurance in our state than try to insure a car with no legal driver on the owners paperwork.
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Are you PoA? If not, do it now while your parents are still cognizent enough to understand and sign the papers. Then, when the time comes, you can sell the car and use the money for their needs.

As well, keep track of what you are spending out of your own pocket for their care and upkeep. You might be able to get that back (possibly from the sale of the car).
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Do not transfer the car to yourself. Medicaid, if they should need it, will then be denied as the car will be considered a gift.
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Sitting and not being driven is bad for a car. They are built to run, and you get corrosion and rubber deterioration and gas goes bad... Another consideration is what make, model, year the car is. Some older cars are increasing in collector value, and you might want to find out if this might be the case. This is something you want to be very careful about, there are people out there that watch for collectible cars and make low-ball offers. You can find websites that have valuations for cars, and the prices vary widely depending on condition. I have been in this business for 40+ years, and have seen people "give away" cars that deserve better, and also seen cars that aren't worth what you might think because of the cost of restoring it properly. And there are cars that are worth a minimal amount just because they run.
But you'd be better off selling it while it runs! That might a good point to make with the folks--if it breaks, it's money going into the car, not money out.
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My parents kept their car for years after Dad last drove it. It was there in case there was an emergency and my parents needed to go somewhere. Oh great, a driver and a passenger, neither of which could see very well.

Then I was the chosen one to drive that Queen Mary down the highway... oh how I hated that car... would get car sick just backing it out of the garage !!

And when it snowed, Dad [who was in his 90's] would be out there trying to shovel the driveway. I tried to help, but I was pushing 70 so eventually I had to say "no". Again, the shoveling was in case there was an emergency and he needed to drive Mom to the hospital. Ah, hello, you can call 911, the para-medics and firemen have shovels.

I finally did a happy dance when my Dad said it was ok to donate the car to charity :)

I agree with Guestshopadmin, do NOT put the car title in your name. If you have financial Power of Attorney, later on you can sell the car if your parents need money and they can no longer understand what they are signing.
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If parents need Medicaid, transferring the car to your name is seen as gift to you and will cause transfer penalty. It could also be seen as elder financial abuse if you have nosy or difficult relatives. Hiring a driver is a problem with auto insurance as a hired driver is not covered by their insurance without a specific rider that costs extra. Consider selling the car to reduce expenses, if they are spending more than taking in with big medical expenses, Medicaid may not be too far away.
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