Aging Options

Transfer My Title Now?

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My husband died and I have two adult married daughters. I was wondering if they could be put on the house title with me now. If I suddenly need a nursing home or something, the state couldn’t take my home. Or should I turn the title over to them now, and how long of a period do I have until they cannot come after the home, though I may have to give up the reduced property taxes.

If protecting the assets from uncovered long-term care costs is the primary motive, you cannot add their name and hope it is protected, you must give up the ownership of the home. I am always suspect of that because what happens if they are sued or have a divorce? It must be done very carefully. If you do not need long-term care assistance for the next 5 years, transferring the house out may trigger a 5 year penalty period in which you will not qualify for Medicaid assistance. You should check your other assets as well, because they may trigger other 5 year penalties if not handled at the same time. Once the children receive the assets, they may wish to place it in a safe harbor trust. This way if the kids are sued or get a divorce, at least your house assets may not come into play for their creditors.

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