How to protect my mother’s house if she has to go into a nursing home?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to protect my mother’s house if she has to go into a nursing home?

She is 96 and owns a mortage on the house. If, in the future, she has to go into a nursing home, the house will have to be sold to pay for the nursing home. If my name is on the deed, will this prevent from doing this so that I may keep the


Asked on July 27, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, putting your name on the deed now will not protect the home if your mother goes into a nursing home within the next five years (and if she is 96, it is difficult to imagine that, unless she passes away before going into a nursing home, that she will not do so within the next five years). That is because there is a five-year "look back" period for Medicaid: any transactions which were not for fair market value (that is, where the property was sold for what it was worth) occuring within five years of when Medicaid starting paying may be voided or set aside as fraudulent to Medicaid (as an attempt to hide assets from Medicaid). If she puts your name on the deed without you paying the appropriate, fair market amount of money for you interest in the property, that would be a non-market value transaction and can be set aside, so they could get at/to the home.
Basically, you need to do Medicaid-related asset planning years in advance of when you might need the protection in order to protect the asset.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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