What’s best way for my mother to leave her house to me?

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What’s best way for my mother to leave her house to me?

My mother and I went to the records office yesterday. She was going to do a quit claim deed and just add my name to the title but lady at desk said a beneficiary deed would be better, so that’s what we did and then filed it. My mother is pretty healthy at 82 but if she ever had to go to a nursing home at some point (which I’m going to do everything possible to keep her completely out of one), would she be forced to liquidate all her assets, including her house if she had to get financial assistance and couldn’t afford to pay for the nursing home or whatever unforseen circumstance in the future? How should we set that up so she can avoid loosing everything she has? Again, chances are very slim she would have to go to a nursing home but just wondered, being her daughter should I get on the title or even have her quit claim it to me completely?

Asked on December 29, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) If your mother goes to a nursing home and the state/government pays (e.g. Medicaid), then Medicaid has the right to make her use up or spend all her assets, including selling or using the equity in any home she is an owner or part owner of.
2) There is a five-year "look back" period during which Medicaid can set aside or undo any transactions which were not for market value: i.e. putting a child on a deed without the child paying fair market value for that share of the real estate. This means that if she deeds it to you without you buying the home for more or less what it is worth, if your mother goes into a nursing home in the next 5 years, Medicaid can potentially take the home (they can undo the transaction and get it back to her, then take it), and it doesn't matter how your set up or structure the transaction.
It is very hard to exclude or hide assets from Medicaid unless it is done more than 5 years before entering a nursing home. Planning for Medicaid and nursing homes is very complicated--there are lots of rules and exceptions, some of which may help you, most of which will hurt you. You are strongly advised to meet with an elder law attorney who does this sort of planning, to understand what you can and cannot do, and to set up any transaction(s) in the best way possible.


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