Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Washington

home deed and medicare

40 years ago my father purchased an acre of vacaction land, together we have built a house and garage on it since then. With age and declining health my father wants to deed the place to me,his new wife is telling me that medicare wont let him do this and that if I want the property I will have to pay the full appraised price. I have a little money but no where close to what its worth

Asked on 3/06/07, 8:19 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Susan Burns Law Office of Susan Ford Burns
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Re: home deed and medicare

Your step mother is correct that your father cannot directly deed the property to you because under Medicaid law, that is considered a transfer of wealth and will disqualify him for Medicaid for a period of time.

However, you can buy the property from him with payments over time, possibly using a land sales contract or a note and trust deed. This converts the property into an income stream and may work for your father's situation. You have to be careful in doing this, however, because the monthly payments on your purchase are considered income and may put his income over the amount he can have and still qualify for Medicaid.

You and your father will need to consult with a Washington attorney who is familiar with the Medicaid rules in that state to determine whether this will work for his specific situation.

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3/06/07, 1:12 pm
Elizabeth Powell ELizabeth Powell PS Inc
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Re: home deed and medicare

Because of the way you posted this I am understanding that the acre is in WA; if not, you need an answer from an attorney in the state where the real property is located.

Is your step mother an attorney?

She's offering her legal opinion, intending that you rely upon it. I suggest that you consult with an attorney who handles estate/medicare pay-downs to determine what's the best thing to do here.

I know that medicare is loathe to put seniors on full care when they have resources that could be used for their care.

Has your father considered leaving the property to you in his will? WA is a community property state, which means that IF your father dies before your step-mother, half of what he owns is hers, and the other half is available for him to leave to you (or somebody else) as his separate estate.

I handle real property matters all the time, but when it involves medicare pay-downs, I am going to refer it to a lawyer who handles those questions.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. I wouldn't take your step-mom's judgment as gospel, I'd find out for myself.

Sorry this isn't more helpful, but I hope it helps. Powell

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3/06/07, 11:46 am

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