Can I sell or rent home I have quitclaim deed for

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Can I sell or rent home I have quitclaim deed for

My mother owned a home. She was on
Mass Health once her health became
worse. Before she died last November
she signed a quitclaim deed to sign the
home over to me. The deed says
‘without the right to partition’. Can
Mass Health still put a lien on the
house? Can I sell the house and share
the proceeds with my sisters? Can I
rent the house?

Asked on June 14, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Mass Health can put a lien on the home, or even potentially void (or undo) the transaction, bringing the home back to your mother's estate and then seeking reimbursement of her medical costs from it. The law allows Medicaid and the state agencies administering it (like Mass Health) to seek compensation from a patient's assets, since the patient was supposed to use her own assets first for health care; and they can void or undo or otherwise legally ignore transactions made within the previous 5 years which were not made for fair market value or which otherwise were not "arms length" transactions but which were rather made to preserve or shelter assets or keep them for family. Quitingclaiming her home to a child for (presumably) no or little money is not a fair market, arms length transaction; it is one done to keep the home the family and avoid using it to pay medical, etc. costs. As such, it is the type of transaction they can avoid. If you sell it and they come after it, you (and your sisters) would have to turn over the proceeds and could not keep them. You can rent it out, and that's a safe way to proceed until you know if they are going to come after the home: worst case, they will be able to get some or all of the rental proceeds, but that will go against what they can seek and reduce the amount owed, so that even if there is still a balance owed it's smaller, increasing odds you'll get at least some equity out of the house later.


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