Q: A number of years ago my parents transferred titleTitle refers to the ownershipOwnership is the absolute right to use, enjoy, and dispose of property. You own it! of a particular piece of property. to their house to my sister and me with the understanding (not in writing) that they could continue to live there as long as they wished. They paid the real estateReal Estate is land and anything permanently attached to it, such as buildings and improvements. taxes, insurance, and upkeep.
Now my sister and I are approaching the age (we’re in our 60s) when we might face having to pay for our own nursing home care. Although my father died in 1988, my mother continues to live in the house.
What arrangements can we make to avoid having to sell the house to pay nursing home costs if my mother wants to continue to live in the home?
A: It’s funny how a small thing like transferring title to a property can have some wide-ranging complications down the line.
Since you and your sister are not married (to each other), it’s unlikely you would be forced to sell the home to pay back MedicaidMedicaid comprises state public assistance programs to persons who are unable to pay for health care. Title XIX of the federal Social Security Act provides matching federal funds for financing state Medicaid programs., should either of you need it. However, Medicaid would put a lienA Lien is an encumbrance against the property, which may be voluntary or involuntary. There are many different kinds of liens, including a tax lien (for unpaid federal, state, or real estate taxes), a judgment lien (for monetary judgments by a court of law), a mortgageA Mortgage is a document granting a lien on a home in exchange for financing granted by a lender. The mortgage is the means by which the lender secures the loan and has the ability to foreclose on the home. lien (when you take out a mortgage), and a mechanic's lien (for work done by a contractor on the property that has not been paid for). For a lien to be attached to the property's title, it must usually be filed or recorded with a local county government office. on the property for your share or your sister’s share of the asset. When the property is sold down the line, the lien would be satisfied.
Your mother would be able to remain in the property as long as she/you can afford to pay the expenses and maintenance or as long as the arrangement is still working for all of you.
You should really speak to an elder care attorney or estate attorney who might have other ideas for you.
Jan. 19, 2009.