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Is it illegal to transfer my home to children to qualify for MassHealth?

I understand that I can talk to a lawyer about changing ownership of my home around so that I might qualify for MassHealth or other benefits. But I don't want to do anything that's even remotely improper or illegal. So is it illegal to transfer ownership of my house or other assets to my children for this purpose?

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No, it is not illegal.  However, the reason you should talk to an estate planning attorney about these types of planning strategies is that, if you do not plan properly, the transfer may cause you to incur adverse tax consequences or, more to the point, the transfer may result in your disqualification from receiving MassHealth or other benefits. As a very general rule (there are exceptions, of course), if you are over 65 and make a transfer of a valuable asset to a person who is not your spouse, you may not be eligible for MassHealth until five years have passed from the date of the transfer. 


An attorney can also talk with you about other planning strategies that, depending on your unique situation, may be more effective than the outright transfer of ownership to your children. Good luck.

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