Should my parents sell their house to me and my siblings?

Q: To prevent disputes after my parents pass away, my parents want to sell the house to my sister. How is the easiest way to do this? I have a sister that is crazy and we do not want her to cause chaos over the house when my parents are gone. I am hoping that a straight out sell will supersede any property rights that said sister may have. My younger sister has agreed to purchase the home and take control of my parents’ living expenses. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: f it is the desire of your parents to sell the house to your sister, and they are not doing this under any stress or pressure from other family members, then here is what I can say. First, if it is even remotely possible that either parent may need to apply for Medicaid to fund their nursing care within the next five years, then they cannot sell the house under fair market value. If sold under fair market value, your parent could be disqualified from receiving Medicaid benefits. Your parents need to consider that if this house is their most significant asset, or one of the more significant assets that they possess, the proceeds of it can never be used to fund their nursing home care. I strongly suggest that your parents consult with a local lawyer versed in Medicaid regulations. The money you spend on the consultation may be well worth the advice you receive on preserving at least some of your parent’s money. Additionally, be aware that at least in Allegheny County, they may lose any applicable senior citizen’s taxes. Your parents should also be aware that if your sister is ever sued and would have a judgment placed against her, it would act as a lien on the home. Transferring the family home to a child or children for financial or estate planning reasons, should be done with the advice of counsel and must take a multitude of facts into consideration, including but not limited to the parents entire estate value and income, their health and their intentions on equitable

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.