Should I Retitle my Deed to Protect my Parents’ House from Florida Medicaid or the Nursing Home?

by Kellen Bryant

Today I’m going to answer a frequently asked question: “Should I re-title or change the deed to protect my parents’ house from Florida Medicaid or the nursing home?”

People also say things like, “Can I change the deed?” “Can I add a name on the deed?” and “Can I get the house?” Those type of questions are all the same and should have the same legal effect.

So, what I’ll do is go over the common things that you need to know in order to address this question.

We’re going to talk about:

  • The gifting rules of Medicaid.
  • Legal issues that also could be involved when you do things with a deed prior to going into a nursing home.

Typically it’s helpful to have an elder law attorney to supervise the process.  One wrong move could result in Medicaid being denied or you having to private pay the nursing home.

To watch this video from my youtube channel, you can click here.

In most cases, the answer to my question should be NO.

In many cases, when you change the title it’s considered a gift.

Now, there are exceptions to the rule, but the general rule is if you change the name on a property, it is considered a gift by Medicaid.

The Medicaid rules do not allow gifts.

That means if mom has a house, changing the title of the house to you as her son or daughter would be considered a gift. You got nothing in return. You didn’t pay mom or dad cash for that property.

The name change to the property is a gift based on the value of that piece of property. That can cause you problems down the road with Medicaid because the state can search the property records in the public records using your parents’ names. So be very, very careful with changing the names on deeds.

What you should do is involve an elder law attorney to help you make a sound decision concerning the home because it is not as simple as it sounds.

When you change the name on the property, or deal with fearing that Medicaid or a nursing home will take your property, you’re dealing with a couple alternative issues.

In some cases, you don’t even need to do anything because of Medicaid laws.

By natural status of the property as Florida homestead, the Medicaid laws may exempt the real estate from being counted as an asset towards the $2,000 that your mom or dad is allowed to keep.

You may not need to even do anything in many cases. But in some cases, there’s cash flow issues or family issues, that’s when you really need to talk with an attorney to figure out what you want to do.  Should you hold, sell, or rent?

What other issues should you consider?

An important thing to note with dealing with real estate, Medicaid and the nursing home is that there’s also income tax issues when gifting. Those could be adversely affected if you are to gift property from mom to you in addition to Medicaid problems.

Also, there can be issues with family dynamics and so forth. For example, if there are four kids in the family and one if you gift, one child may be upset that they didn’t get a portion of the house. So gifting is a precarious method of protecting the house from Medicaid, so you should contact an elder law attorney about the best way to handle the house.

If you have any more questions in relation to this subject or the subject of elder care, you can contact me on my website, and I’ll help in the best way I can.

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