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Can a Mother Give Her House to Her Caregiver Son?
Mom went in nursing home three years ago and has been private pay. Her son has lived with her since 1992. She became unable to care for herself about two years before entering the nursing home, and her son cared for her in the home. The deed is currently in her name. Assuming she eventually qualifies for Medicaid, will her home be subject to recovery? Can she deed the home to her son? She has Alzheimer's Disease.
Yes, if the home remains in the mother's name, after her death the state will have the right to recover whatever it has paid for her care under the Medicaid program. Fortunately, under the Medicaid rules, the son qualifies for an exception to the usual restrictions on transferring assets. The so-called "caretaker child" exception permits the transfer of the home to a child who has lived in the home for at least two years before the parent moved to a nursing home, and who during that time provided her with care that kept her out of the nursing home. The second issue in your case is whether the mother is competent to sign a deed transferring the home to her son. If she is not, the home may be transferred under a durable power of attorney, if one exists. Otherwise, it may be necessary to seek guardianship and court approval of the transfer. To implement the transfer and to make sure there are no local rules standing in the way, you will need to consult with an elder law attorney in your state.