Q: My 83 yr old mom is in a health care facility and I want to get her home. There are many legal issues I need advice on. In January, our three story home suffered severe water damage by thawed water pipes in the attic and its taken four months to get the damaged materials out (inc. lead materials). I was sent a check payable to mom & her mortgage holder. I don’t know how to be sure that we’re getting contractual entitled benefits. I believe that there are circumstances going on that I don’t agree with. I need help to understand how to get the benefits she’s entitled to. FAST!! I’m in search of contractors now. They will be replacing walls & floors, possibly all appliances, for 3 floors in the back half of the house. That’s a lot of work. I just don’t know what detours the insurance company will send me to get everything
A: More information is needed. As long as mom is competent, and it is her desire, she can transfer ownership of her house to you by signing a deed. However, there other issues lurking out there that you need to be aware of. If she is receiving Medicaid, or may likely need to apply for Medicaid within the next 5 years, a transfer of the home to you for under fair consideration could result in her being ineligible for Medicaid. Plus, this is mom’s home. She may need to sell the home to pay for nursing care. Does she want you to have the home even if it means she cannot live comfortably in a facility of her choosing? In addition, mom will lose her Homestead Act exclusion for real estate taxes as well as any senior citizens discounts. Furthermore, is mom aware that any judgments against you will result in an automatic lien on the house if it is in your name? If you are having difficulty in dealing with insurance people and contractors, you may want to consider having mom sign a Power of Attorney over to you, either a specific POA or a General Durable POA, assuming she is competent. I think you could benefit greatly by consulting with an attorney.