Can I buy my sister in law’s home after her husband enters a nursing home?

Q: She is almost ninety years old and they have spent most of their savings on home care- sitters and supplies and such. We were going to inherit the home later anyway. (Donegal, PA)

A:  If there is any potential of either of these people needing to apply for Medicaid funding for their hospital or nursing care within the next five years, you should consult with an attorney versed in Medicaid regulations before you do anything. If Medicaid is a foreseeable issue, the general rule would be that this home should not be gifted to you and only purchased a market value with careful documentation such as appraisals, photographs, repair bills, etc.

Should we gift mom’s home to ourselves?

Q: Mom lives with us instead of nursing home. She had several strokes and wants to move back to her home which needs major repairs. How do we this sell her home and not lose it all if she would have need more care. She is 89, she has health insurance. We heard if she gifts it to us we could lose it if there were medical bills. How can we safeguard our investment to the home to make it livable? She has a daughter with power of attorney who also would like this to happen.

A: A gift of the home or transfer of any of her assets without fair consideration (like for a dollar) would likely result in the imposition of a penalty if your mother needs to apply for Medicaid at anytime during the five years following the date of the gift. That does not mean she is without options. It may be possible for her to pay for a caretaker, which could be you, but it should be done carefully, under a contract drafted by an experience elder law attorney, who is versed in Medicaid law. You may also want to consider being her live-in caretaker. To provide an answer to this question, an attorney would need much more consideration including details on her financial estate, her medical condition and health and life expectancy. It would be wise to consult with a local elder law attorney, before you do anything.