In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson explains how DCEL can help you navigate the challenges associated with a Transfer on Death Instrument/Beneficiary Deed and Medicaid planning.
Greetings, I’m Wes Coulson from Dent Coulson Elder Law, and this will be your Elder Law Minute. We’re happy to present these because we think we can help inform you as to the ways in which we can help you and the things that you need to think about, uh, relative to the elder care and estate planning journey. Hope you enjoy.
A lot of times we have people coming in who have, as what they think, a measure to help protect their home from Medicaid. And that is that they are signing something called a transfer on death instrument, which is what they call it in Illinois, or a beneficiary deed, which is called what it’s called in Missouri. First, I want you to understand what that is. It is a deed that says if I still own this property when I die, then you, the person named in there, or people named in there, are going to become the owners. It also reserves to the person signing it the right to change their mind, to revoke it, and do something else between now and the time they’re dead. In other words, it’s going to happen, but it’s not completely a done deal. And it’s that not completely done deal aspect that’s problematic for Medicaid.
What people need to know, and it’s really important, is that a transfer on death instrument or a beneficiary deed is not going to protect your home from Medicaid. The state is still going to have the right to assert a lien against that property if it’s sold during your lifetime. The proceeds will be considered available to you and have to be spent down as a condition of Medicaid eligibility. The state can still assert a claim against that property when you die. So in terms of avoiding probate, they’re good things, but as a part of Medicaid planning, they don’t really help. Just an illustration, I think, of the fact that people really do need the right kind of legal help with these things. All of these things, you never know who’s going to wind up being in a nursing home. All of them have implications and you need the right kind of help. So, uh, give us a call. That’s us.
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.