Is a house on leased land considered an asset in the eyes of the law?

My father-in-law needs to apply for assisted living. He is divorced and he and his ex-wife own a beach cabin on leased land. I believe this is considered personal property. Also, she stays there in the summer but he has had no access to it. Could this prevent him from getting help with assisted living? He has no money to contribute.

Asked on February 16, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An asset is anything with any net positive value owned by a person, so if it is not "underwater" in value due to a loan or any liens, it is an asset. Realistically, its value to your father in law may be low since he's only half owner and, as a house sitting on leased land, it may be very difficult to sell and not command a high price...but whatever value it does have, your father in law's share is an asset for this purpose.

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