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Can I Transfer My Interest in a House My Parents Own a Life Estate in Without Affecting Their Medicaid?

  • August 13th, 2020
Q
My parents have a life estate in a home that they gifted to me six years ago. I want to transfer the home to my brother. My parents own a dog that has been deemed dangerous, and I don't want the liability of owning the home. If we transfer the house, will the Medicaid look-back include this change? 
A

You can freely transfer your interest in your parents’ house to your brother without it affecting your parents’ potential eligibility for Medicaid. The five-year look-back period only applies to transfers by your parents, not by you. Transferring your interest in the house is no different from giving away anything else you own, whether it’s your house or funds or investments you may own. All that said, it isn’t clear how you would be liable for anything your parents did in the house. As the life estate owners, they have full rights of possession of the property during their lives and full responsibility for its maintenance. As a remainder owner, you have no right even to enter the property and can’t be held responsible for what happens there.

For more on life estates, click here.

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Last Modified: 08/13/2020

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