For many clients, their home is their most valuable asset, and the one they are most anxious to protect. Sometimes these clients have heard “don’t worry, the home is exempt.”

In fact, such statements are very misleading. When applying for Medicaid home care, your primary residence is not a “countable resource” if your equity in the home does not exceed $828,000 (in 2015). However, once the home is no longer your primary residence, Medicaid will put a lien against it, and ultimately recover the cost of the services that it provided from your equity in the home. Of course, once you sell or move out of the home (because, for example, you moved into a nursing home, or you passed on), it is no longer your primary residence and it is immediately at risk.

If we are working on a Medicaid plan for a client who owns a home, we will be taking steps to transfer ownership of the home. Typically, the home will be transferred to trust for various reasons (click here to read more about trusts). These reasons include avoiding capital gains tax on the increase in value that accrued during your lifetime.

Real property that is not your primary residence, such as a second home, a time share, or an interest in land purchased by your ancestors, is a Medicaid resource, and must be transferred in order to gain eligibility.

Transfer of your home or other real estate may be an important part of your estate plan, even if you are not applying for Medicaid.

Lamson & Cutner is well equipped to assist you with the sale or transfer of real estate, whether you own a single family residence, a multi-family residence, raw land, or a condo. We also assist with transfers of ownership of co-op apartments, although co-op’s are not real estate and transfers of ownership require permission from the co-op board.