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What Steps Should We Take to Protect a Co-Owned House From Medicaid Recovery?

  • January 16th, 2014
Q
Father is in a nursing home with Medicaid paying. Mom is still at home. If my father dies and mom is still in the home, will Medicaid place a lien on the home?  Should we have a new will drawn up for my mother changing the beneficiary from my father to her children? Would the house then be hers when my father passes away, since they are co-owners, or would Medicaid be able to take all of the assets if sold, or would they only be able to take his half from the estate? 
A

All good questions. In most cases when a house is co-owned, ownership will pass to the surviving owner when one passes away. So just in case your mother passes away before your father, the entire ownership of the house should be transferred to her in order to protect it from a Medicaid claim for reimbursement. As you suggest, your mother also would be well advised to update her will, either bypassing your father entirely or creating a trust for his benefit. What makes most sense depends on your parents’ circumstances and the laws in your state. I strongly recommend that you consult with a local elder law attorney to determine the best approach.

For articles on Medicaid planning, click here.

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Last Modified: 01/16/2014
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