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

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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

house?

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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.


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