Q: My one son is on Social Security Disability and I want to make sure that if I should die, he would get 1/2 of the CD to help him pay his rent. My main concern is whether if I should go into a nursing home would they take all the CD or just 1/2.
A: The answer is more complicated than you probably realize and you may want to consult with an elder law attorney with whom you can share all the facts which need to be known. If your son is on SSDI, then he can receive this gift with no penalty. If he is on SSI, which is needs based government program, this gift may jeopardize his benefits. Also, it is worth considering is how this transfer will impact your eligibility for Medicaid, in the event you need to apply for Medicaid in the future. If this transfer is done within five-years prior to your Medicaid eligibility it could rule you ineligible to receive benefits to the extent of the amount of the transfer. Also, be aware that if you title the CD as joint tenants with right of survivor, he will receive the entire value of the CD upon your death. An elder law attorney may counsel you on other methods to shelter this money for him such as a special needs trust. It would probably be worth the consultation fee.