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Transferring home within five year masshealth look-back period

Is there any way I can transfer my house at a little below market price to my daughter who has taken care of me? I don't know if I'll need a nursing home right away, but I don't know if I'll make it five years without having to go into one. Thank you very much.

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First, let me start, as I always do when talking about MassHealth (Medicaid) planning, by encouraging you to talk to an experienced estate or elder law attorney.   Before you latch on to one possible strategy, you should talk to someone who can review your situation and give you a list of options.

Having said that, as you apparently know, when a person transfers assets for less than fair market value within the five year look-back period the transfer may cause a period of ineligibility for MassHealth benefits.  This is known as a disqualifying transfer.  However, there are exceptions to that rule.  You may be able to transfer your home to your daughter, without incurring ineligibility, if she lived in the home with you for at least two years prior to the date you ultimately enter the nursing facility and, while living with you, provided a level of care that allowed you stay at home, instead of going to the nursing facility.

Similarly, people in your situation can transfer their homes without penalty to; (1) a spouse, (2) a child who is blind, disabled or under the age of 21; (3) a sibling who lived in the home during the year preceding the move to the nursing facility, if the sibling already holds an equity interest in the home; and (4) a trust established for a disabled individual under age 65. 

As you can imagine, all of these options, including the one that may apply to your situation, have rules and exceptions that you must be aware of.  Talk to an attorney, and good luck.


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