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Opticalman1

Can I buy my parents home ?

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MY parents are in their eighties and my Father is now in a nursing home. The cost is very high and we are trying to find ways for my Mother to afford to pay for his care. She has some money but at the rate that the nursing home is charging it will not last long.

I have lived with both my parents for many years as they both have had medical problems such as cancer for my Mother and Alzheimer's for my Father. They have not been able to get groceries or get to their doctor's appointments for many years. My Mother is afraid that if she applies for Medicaid that I would no longer get possession of the house when something happens to her. I am 57 years old and I have recently had cancer also and have spent most of my savings on the surgery and treatment of my own illness. I have been told that she can not give the house to me because the state has a estate recovery program that will place a Olin on the house if she applies for Medicaid for Dad.

My question is can I purchase the home from her to avoid them placing the Olin on the house if she applies for Medicaid. And if I can how will we find out what would be market value. The house needs repair but I don't want to put my dwindling monies into the house if it is going to be sold by the state after my parents passing. And I don't want to add to the value if I can buy it now. The tax assessment is higher than the house is worth in its present condition.

Nobody seems to be able to give me advice in this area does anyone have any thoughts.

Thank you in advance

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Ultimately, if your father needs Medicaid, your mom should be talking with the state Medicaid folks as to the issue with regard to any lien. It would unlikely be the case that they'd expect repayment of the lien unless and until the house is ultimately sold by your mother or after her death.

"They have not been able to get groceries or get to their doctor's appointments for many years."

Even if that's true (despite your living with them for "many years"), one would think they'd reach out to local elder services agencies, but never mind -- neither here nor there.

Your mother's first concern should be her husband's care, not whether you "get possession of the house when something happens to her."

If your father's name is on the deed, your mother would need to have a durable power of attorney or formal conservatorship over him via a court to do anything with his interest anyway -- and that'd be true even if there weren't the Medicaid angle. If she had such a power and literally gave his interest to you because she had the power to gift under a POA, the value of his interest in the property would still be taken into account as it relates to his eligibility to receive Medicaid assistance. Let's say his interest is worth $100k; they'd declare him ineligible for Medicaid assistance for however long it takes under a given formula (value of the interest divided by the monthly average nursing home cost to arrive at the number of months of ineligibility).

You're free to buy the house from your mom (assuming she has the power to sign for your father), but expect the Medicaid folks to take into account the value of any "discount" you get in terms of the sales price if you don't pay fair market value.

It's not a matter of the house being "sold by the state" after your parents die. And if you've help take care of your parents for two years before they need(ed) to apply for Medicaid, there's a child caretaker exemption in the law as it relates to pestering you about the Medicaid lien (at least until you die or want to sell the place).

Please have your mom talk with a local elder law specialist or the state Medicaid folks before she makes decisions.

"The tax assessment is higher than the house is worth in its present condition."

She's free to file an appeal of any tax assessment that doesn't reflect its true value, by the way.

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