When elderly mom enters nursing home, can I keep her house?

Q. When my elderly mother enters a nursing home, can I keep her house? I am her 24/7 caregiver and have no home otherwise. I have both medical and durable POA and I am responsible for 100% of the household expenses, upkeep and taxes. The deed is in her name. I don’t know what other details are required here. I have lived here and been her caregiver for 12 years.

A. Make sure your mother has a will in place that leaves the house to you. If there are no other children and she has no surviving spouse, you can inherit the house even without a will. However, it is best for her to have a will. If she eventually runs out of cash or liquid assets to afford the nursing home, you may have to apply for Medicaid/PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) for her. They may have an interest in the home but as a surviving child/caretaker living in the home, they will not force you out of it. When she dies, DPW can go after the deceased person’s property under the Medicaid Recovery Program. However, given the fact that you were her caretaker for over two years prior to DPW eligibility, you can file for relief as an “undue hardship” under the DPW rules and probably keep the house. See a lawyer for a more thorough examination of your mother’s situation in light of Medicaid rules and regulations.

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.