Susan E. Piette, Trusts and Estates Lawyer

January 16, 2018


A frequently asked question of my clients is, “If I move into a skilled nursing facility, will they take my house?” The answer is no. No one is going to sell or take your house if you move into a skilled nursing facility. When you make entrance there, you have options. You could sell your house and use the proceeds for your cost of care. Maybe you want to move to a different facility closer to your family. You may wish to retain your home. One thing that you really shouldn’t do though, if you’re receiving Medicaid and in a nursing home is to sell your house for less than fair market value. Now, upon your passing, something called the State Recovery is gonna come into play. What do you have in your state to take care of the bill that you have accumulated for your cost of care under Medicaid? What’s in your state? Maybe that house. If your goal is to give it to heirs, do be advised that the State Recovery does take precedence over any bequest through your estate to an heir.

So, I’m frequently asked, “What happens to my stuff when I die if I don’t have a will?” And I tell them that, well, it’s always best to have a will put in place, a written document, stating where you want your things to go and to who. After all, it’s your will. If you don’t have that in place, then your things just don’t disappear or dissipate to whoever. In fact, the statute says that things will go to your spouse, if you didn’t have a spouse, to your children. If you’re married more than once and there are spouse and children, it gets a little tricky, we could talk about that. If not children, then to your parents, if you didn’t have parents, then to your siblings, after siblings here too, it gets a little bit more involved and we could talk about where your things would go if you didn’t have any of those family members. If you have any questions, give us a call.

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