My name is on the title to mom’s car, what legal rights do I have?

Q: My mother has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and a nursing facility is a possibility. Her name as well as mine is on the title to her car. What legal rights do I have to the car at this point?

A:  It depends on the exact wording on the title. It sounds like you may possibly be joint owners but the title would have to be examined to confirm this. If there is a lien on the car from a bank or finance company, the loan would need to be paid before the car could be transferred to another owner. If there is an underlying concern here that your mother may need to apply for Medicaid, given her condition, you should consult with an elder law attorney regarding all of her assets and not just the car. She may face a Medicaid penalty for a transfer of any asset of hers within five years of applying for Medicaid. If your mother is still competent to sign legal documents and there is no lien on the car, she can sign the titled over to you. You should have her consult with an elder law attorney.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.