What can they do so that someone does not lose the house to the creditors?

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What can they do so that someone does not lose the house to the creditors?

I am friend whose mother is in the hospital right now in a coma. They do not think that she is going to make it. They have hospital bills that are reaching almost $400,000. All of the bills are in her name and the house is also in her name. My friends father’s name is not on it at all. Suggestions?

Asked on August 6, 2019 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

There probably is nothing you can do, unfortunately, based on what you write. The problem is, anything you could possibly have done (e.g. transferring the home to a child; putting it into a trust) is something that must be done well in advance of incurring the bills. Once the bills are incurred, any actions taken to hide or protect assets (like a house) from creditors (those to whom money is owed to; e.g. the hospital) are seen as "fraudulent transfers"--that is transfers done to cheat or defraud the creditor out of the money it is owed. Fraudulent transfers can be undone by the courts: they can reverse the transfer so that the creditor(s) can get at the asset (e.g. the house) and get the money which they are owed. At this point, already having $400k in bills, if you do anything to the house (such as, again, transferring it to a family member, or selling it to a family member for far less than its far value) would be something that the creditor(s) (i.e. the hospital) could attack and have reversed.


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