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Get Legal Advice Before Selling the Family Home and Starting Nursing Home Care

Published October 5, 2011

Entering a nursing home can provide highly sought-after services and around-the-clock care. Family members and loved ones can have the expertise of skilled staff that provides peace of mind for your elderly parent. But if proper planning for the monies involved in nursing home care and estate planning are not done in advance, it can put your loved one at risk financially.

Especially for seniors on Medicaid, there are important considerations to take before moving into a nursing home. Many seniors own a home, and depending on what is done with a home before moving into the nursing home can greatly affect their assets. Before deciding on selling the family home or transferring it to a family member, it is critical to speak to a qualified estate planning attorney.

Transferring a home can incur penalties unless the home is transferred to a spouse, disabled child, specific trusts, a sibling with an equity interest in the home, or a caretaker child. There are strict rules of how long siblings and caretaker children must have lived in the home prior to an individual going into a nursing home. If a transfer or sale of home is done incorrectly, it can hurt a person’s Medicaid eligibility and make them have to pay nursing home costs on their own. Some transfers also have a Medicaid penalty period that is equal to the value of the transferred asset divided by the state’s average pay rate for nursing home care.

After a loved one passes away and if the home is not properly accounted for, the state can come after an estate or put a lien on the home for benefits given for the senior’s care. Skilled Medicaid planning attorneys know how to protect assets, the family home, and keep loved ones from incurring unjust hardships.

New York law firm Littman Krooks LLP assists seniors and their families to plan for nursing home needs, estate planning and asset protection, and preservation of Medicaid and government benefits. Our New York City, White Plains or Fishkill Medicaid planning attorneys are a trusted resource for many New York families. To learn more, visit or

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