Q: My grandmother made a deed to her property 3 years ago. She has lifetime stay. At her death her adult son has lifetime stay. At his death it goes to my 15-year-old son. My grandmother now has dementia in a nursing home. My uncle says he’s going to the court system to take my son’s name off so my uncle can be sole owner of property. He says he needs to do this to keep Medicaid from taking her assets for payment of her care in nursing home. Can he go to a judge and have this deed redone in his name only, taking my minor sons name off the deed with my signature as guardian?
A: I think is possible, assuming your uncle is acting in your grandmother’s best interest in dealing with Medicaid matters and not to benefit himself. However, much more information is needed. Assuming Medicaid is in the picture here, this transfer was done within the 5-year Medicaid look-back period. That could potentially penalize your grandmother to the extent of the fair market value of the house which was transferred. Additionally, there are two consecutive life-estates, from what you describe, one to grandmother then one to herself. In many states, a life estate has a monetary value. Of course, the uncle would need to possess some authority over your grandmother to do anything on her behalf, such as a Power of Attorney or her Guardian.