Mom and dad were divorced, so Dad left his condo to my sisters and me. We deeded it to Mom for $10, but the deed said it would revert back to us if she moved out due to declining health. She did move out when the need for assisted living became apparent. Then another deed was filed, transferring the condo back to my sisters and me, for $10. Then we sold the condo, and the proceeds were split between us, the three sisters. So will Medicaid count that as my mom's asset if she needs to apply for Medicaid? She'll run out of money in about two years. Not sure what to do, sisters are no help.

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The answer to your question is determined by the Medicaid regulations in your state that govern "disqualifying transfers."

If your mother applies for Medicaid in the future, you will need to take a definite position on how your back-and-forth transfers of the condo fit into those regulations.

It sounds like your mother could claim she only returned to you and your sisters something that you had gifted to her. But you need the expertise of an Elder Law Attorney who has worked with Medicaid applications and who understands Real Estate law in your state.

In retrospect, you can see the value of working with an Elder Law Attorney from the very beginning, when you and your sisters first inherited the condo (before you sign and file deeds involving real estate).

The perspective of a potential Medicaid application in the future gives you and the Elder Law Attorney a timeline for making the best decisions on real estate transfers at each step of the journey.

By following up the "step transactions" that you have already made with the planning work of an Elder Law Attorney now, you give your mother the best chance for a smooth application process, if it is needed in the future.

Select an Elder Law Attorney who will be able to follow up any opinion and advice provided now with the service of Medicaid application preparation and filing in the future.
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You need to talk to a certified Eldercare attorney who is familiar with the Medicaid laws in mom's state.
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Was condo in the asset division of the divorce? & he had use of it but went to 3 upon death or if he moved out as part of divorce decree?
Or did he buy condo after divorce & left it to you 3 in his will?

Deed recorded @courthouse (CH) in each Sisters name equally when?
Deed recorded @ CH with mom as owner when?
Deeded back to you 3 when?
When sold? & sold at arms length? Like by Realtor or done FSBO to someone you all knew? Sale price was FMV? Please tell us that it wasn’t sold to a nephew or niece.....
For each recording @ CH by Warranty Deed or Quit Claim Deed?

Your imho going to need all these documents. If you don’t have them, their probably available on line for a minimal download fee. Buy them, as either you do or atty will & with research & paralegal fee. You imo need a very precise time line on all. If not on line, then trek to CH and take cash with change to chancery clerks office to get copies.

Well good part is you have 2 years to get a plan to get beyond this:):)!

Bad part is “nominal” sales - like for $10 - are sticky to deal with & beyond whatever issues medicaid might pose. Do they read “for $10.00” OR “$10 and other valuable consideration(s)”, it will make a difference as to how to get out of this. Latter gives you wiggle room, to offset costs paid - like taxes, repairs- into “valuable consideration” tally, although you need savvy a real estate atty to do.

So whats the backstory with the Sissies? Head in the sand till sand burying them type or it’s more ill will & mendacity between you 3?

Who is DPOA? When mom went into AL, who signed off her admission paperwork? and how did they sign? If you don’t have copy of admission agreement, get it. She’s current on paying right? So AL won’t be concerned, just say to billing office your organizing mom’s life. Really you need to know who might have exposure to be held financially responsible if her rent isn’t paid 2 years from now.

Right now what is the “gap”, the $$ shortfall between what mom gets in monthly income & what her AL rent is? That’s to me your worst case scenario $ that you 3 need to come up with in 2 or so years. Bet it’s manageable if all of you pay 1/3 share.

Another item to remember is that AL may not be covered by Medicaid.
You need to clearly find out if it is, if this AL participates, and what the conditions are for the AL she is in. Most states do not pay for AL, it’s NH only. Some do but usually it’s after 2 or so years of private pay and IF one of the Medicaid waiver beds are available. Also there is always the possibility that mom takes a fall or other serious illness takes hold and she’s no longer suitable for AL. So really good you are fretting about this now.

Medicaid is likely going to take date of transfer to you 3 as gift date & likely set $ amount on tax assessor value in that years bill. Both are fixed info in statewide database, so easy keystrokes to do. But gifting transfer penalty, will start the day mom applies for Medicaid not date of transfer. Transfer penalty basically is a math problem: value of gift divided by your states daily room & board reimbursement rate. 200k in state that pays $185 day = 1,081 days ineligibility. Painful & why family often pay the gap till outside of penalty period, comprende?

Between real estate atty & NAELA level elder law atty, they should be able to determine a conservative (lower) value on property & work in valuable consideration to reduce further. Yeah it will have costs, but a few thousand now for legal VS. thousands EACH month for a facility, it will be well worth it. Good luck & let us know what happens as we all do learn from each other.
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OldAdultChild Jul 2019
Dear Igloo572,

Thanks for the considered reply. In answer to your questions:

Deed recorded @courthouse (CH) in each Sisters name equally when? In 2007, the year Dad passed away. Dad purchased this condo many years AFTER he and Mom got divorced.
Deed recorded @ CH with mom as owner when? The latter part of 2007.
Deeded back to you 3 when? Before we sold the condo, maybe in March, 2019.
Each deed was a warranty deed. The first one was with a remainder interest. Yes, I have the documents. My former supervisor, a real estate attorney, helped prepare the first one. Both deeds state the transfer of the condo was for $10, period.

It's a long story to describe the current relationship with my sisters. I'm disappointed with them at the moment because when our dad was needing help, before he died, I was his only caregiver, and they agreed they'd help out with Mom as she grew older. Yet, here I am in Texas with Mom and they are both living on the west coast now. So I'm not sure how good they are at keeping their word. Plus, the youngest sister just moved to California so she could be closer to her guru and his "sangha" (group of dedicated followers). Which may sound all namaste and groovy but seems suspiciously cult-like to me. This is just my opinion, though, and may be off the subject. The middle half-sister is always bragging about how much money she makes as a federal employee, so maybe she'll help Mom out when the time comes, who knows....

Anyway, maybe the best thing to do would be for me to consult an elder law attorney about this since the sale of the condo (by realtor to an unrelated buyer) seems to complicate the calculations of when Mom may qualify for Medicaid.

Mom agreed to moving to a smaller, less expensive room at the assisted living place yesterday (they do not accept Medicaid), but today she said she thought that was a dream, us going to look at the smaller room. Today she doesn't want to do it, and I'm a bad daughter for suggesting it. However, she is currently spending about $1800 per month more than she makes from Social Security. Moving to the smaller room would save her about $600 per month so that she could afford to stay there maybe three years instead of two. It's a nice, for profit place. I think her things will fit into a smaller room, so I'm inclined to make the decision for her. The youngest sister had POA when Mom moved in there, in November 2018. I have POA now.

The sisters agree with moving her to a smaller room. I don't really like having to get their opinion about everything, but try to keep them in the loop so far. They may disagree about engaging an eldercare attorney, for example. I'm thinking of just doing it without asking them, at least getting the first $350 worth, or whatever the first hour costs, and paying for it out of Mom's bank account. It's not like they bother to keep track of what's going on. (I have to admit, I do have daydreams of moving to Europe and never being heard from again....) Anyway, thanks for the reply.
This is complicated, so I would trust only an Elder Law attorney with this one. They deal with asset protection and the law all the time; it is worth an hour of their time to ease your mind and have an answer.
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Omg the house transfer was just this Spring! Standard 5 yr lookback would mean summer of 2024 to be beyond that.

You all need a NAELA or CELA level of elder law attorney & ASAP.
Is there a DPOA for mom? If so they should take the lead in this.
if it’s you beyond great as you already have envisioned what a cockup this could end up being. If your not the dpoa, get mom to change it to you. If she’s in AL she’s probably ok to be cognitive & competent to do so. The new atty does this as well as go over the property situation to have options for mom to consider.

Also ask atty IF they have an existing relationship with a real estate attorney. Not that your boss did or didn’t do things right but whatever done needs fresh eyes to look at imho.

Thank goodness mom has 2 years of $ left. If your in TX or a state that allows Lady Bird deeds, might be able to Deed it back to her and then she does a lady bird Deed of it to u 3.

But remember, if she applies for LTC Medicaid, all her monthly income must go to the NH as the required copay less the small personal needs allowance. So everything “house” will have to be Paid by you all from day 1 of Medicaid till beyond death and Lady Bird Deed stuff is filed and title transferred by your atty. The property costs maybe manageable AND everybody is totally all Kum-ba-ya OR digresses into a turf battle with your siblings on getting them to pay their third or doing whatever things they promised to do (mow yard, pay insurance, etc.) and won’t. For the elder to keep their home as an exempt asset can be done, but someone other than them needs to have the purse or wallet to afford all if need be and afford for an indeterminate period of time till after death and Lady Bird filed or probate gets opened. It runs risk that stuff just may not work as you intended. Most folks are risk adverse.

Also helps if you need a pretty good sense of humor on dealing with the empty house... just sayin’.
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