The family home can be a place to hold the heart and soul of generations, and just like any good ghost story, if you don’t treat it right, it will come back to haunt you
The family home is often the most precious asset–its walls hold sentimental value as well as some real market value. It’s really important to make sure you make the right decision about your home for you and your family.
How could my house haunt me?
Don’t listen to the ghouls and fools who tell you that you can just gift your home away, or sell it for big bucks just before making some major changes in planning. They don’t know about the five year curse (5 year look back period for Medicaid) or the peril of probate!
And it’s not just some kitschy catchphrase–probate is no joke. Probate is the legal process of changing ownership of a deceased person’s assets. It can be a lengthy and often stressful process. If a home has to go through probate, maintaining the property and paying the bills can get complicated–and fast. Your house might not be haunting you, but it sure is haunting your loved ones.
Many folks think you can’t own a home if you’re trying to get on Medicaid, but that’s simply not true. In reality, gifts made within the last 5 years will be scrutinized in Medicaid’s crystal ball (mountains of paperwork). A homestead is an exempt asset that, under most circumstances cannot count against you; however, Medicaid will try to recoup some expenses through the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) at the time of your passing. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your home safe from the 5-year lookback period, the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program, AND probate.
Stop the Haunting, take Legal Action!
Texas allows for Transfer on Death Deeds, or Lady Bird Deeds, which keep the house in your name throughout your life and grant title to a beneficiary at the time of your passing. These two deed options are slightly different and speaking with a licensed attorney can help guide you to the deed that’s right for you, your loved ones, and your goals.
Now, you might’ve heard about a trust to keep your house safe; however, trusts can be more complicated than they need to be. Depending on the amount of property you own and your other estate planning goals, a trust might not be the best option for you and your family. After your passing, a trust must be administered which is a lengthy process distributing all of the assets in the trust.
The most haunting thing you can do is sell or gift the house before speaking with a licensed attorney in your area who is not only familiar with MedicaId but also your assets and goals.
Haunted House Special:
Ard Law Firm, PLLC wants to make sure your house doesn’t haunt you so from now until the end of 2023, when you hire us for your Lady Bird Deed or Transfer on Death Deed, be sure to speak the magic words, “UN-Haunt Your House” to get a free Deed Look-up.