My home is paid off and I am 60 years old. I want to sell it to my sons at a fair price. Can I do this without them being penalized if I should need nursing home care in the future or if I die?

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My home is paid off and I am 60 years old. I want to sell it to my sons at a fair price. Can I do this without them being penalized if I should need nursing home care in the future or if I die?

I live in Winslow Township NJ

Asked on June 23, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, so long as they pay you current "fair market value" for the home, it will be considered to have been a fair or "arms length" (i.e. what you would get from unrelated 3rd parties negotiating in their own interest) transaction and the nursing home (or state health agency funding your care) will have no rights to the home. Only transactions for less than fair value, which are deemed to be efforts to hide or shelter assets, not legitimate sales, may be attacked and potentially set aside.
Fair market value is, of course subjective, and is generally a range: e.g. a home might reasonably go for anything  from, say, $450k - $525k, depending on how it is fixed up for showing, when during the year it goes for sale, how many other homes like it are for sale in their neighborhood at the time, etc. And if you are saving realtor fees by selling directly to your sons, it is reasonable to pass on that savings by lowering the cost--so you could sell it for more the lower end of the fair value. But no matter what, make sure you *do* sell it for fair value, and have them and you keep documentation of that (e.g. the comps you used to set the price; any appraisals; etc.) in case you need to prove that later.


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