If my father recently passed away and my husband receives federal benefits that could be affected by my inheritance, what should I do?

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If my father recently passed away and my husband receives federal benefits that could be affected by my inheritance, what should I do?

He had no Will and I am the sole heir. My husband receives SSI and Medicaid so any money I receive could affect his benefits. My dad had a home with a mortgage that he still owes $52,000 on; it was originally appraised at $75,000. Should I give it back to the bank or try to sell it?

Asked on January 20, 2015 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Re-applying for SSI is a very painful and emotionally taxing process, so you don't want to do anything that would jeapardize his eligibility.  However, you may not have to give up the inheritance.  Depending on your current income, you may be able to structure your receipt or sell of the house in such a way that it won't affect your income too much so as to affect your husband's benefits.  To make a final decision on whether to keep, sell, or do something else with the house... talk to three different people:  1.  Talk to an SSI attorney so see what the administrators in your area will entertain, 2.  Talk to a finance specialist-- they can give you some options for how to set up trusts or investments to limit the actual income that you receive as result of the gift, 3. Talk to a realtor to make sure that there is equity in the home.  If the house has depleted in value-- then the inheritance may be a wash and you are stressing for no reason.  If the equity is very low, it may result in a small gift to you, but not large enough to affect your husband's benefits.


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