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It’s a story I’ve heard all too often… a home remains abandoned year after year… because a family is under the impression that a property can not be sold without jeopardizing long-term care benefits under Medicaid.
While it can be a challenge to liquidate a property in this situation, there are a number of strategies that can help families sell… and legally, morally, and ethically avoid any accumulation of cash that could jeopardize benefits for a loved one.
The first question Tampa Elder Law Attorney Elizabeth Allen asks many clients is, “What are you doing with the house?” This is a critical question that should be answered as soon as possible if you own a home in South Tampa where lot values often range into six-figure territory.
It is critical that you work through your particular family’s situation with an attorney in the county where your parents live and own property. If Mom & Dad are in Tampa… make sure you work with an attorney based in Hillsborough County.
While an attorney can work across county lines, I have personal experience that what an attorney can do is not necessarily what they should do as each county court system has different protocols that can delay your case from being resolved.
So, please keep that in mind even if you are helping out Mom or Dad from another part of the state… even if you live just across the bridge in Pinellas County… talk with a local elder law attorney.
The two most important things you want in place if you are considering selling the family home in 10 months or 10 years are having a plan for the proceeds once the sale is complete and having a well-crafted power of attorney agreement in place to cover any number of issues that can occur as people age.
Different strategies may be available to families depending on the health of each spouse, the status of any Medicaid application, and the competence of the owners of any property that might be sold.
The time to make plans is BEFORE anyone is sick… but many of these strategies and tools may be employed at different stages… so at the risk of being redundant please talk with an elder law attorney about these options and others that may be available.
One of the first things you should have in place for an elderly family member who might be facing some long-term health challenges is a well-crafted power of attorney. Again, this is not something you can do yourself with a form you download online. A poorly crafted power of attorney may prevent you from selling a property or acting as agreed on behalf of a loved one.
So, again… make sure you share your long-term goals with an elder law attorney who can help your family have this important document in place. As noted in the link above… the more comprehensive the power of attorney document, the better.
When you negotiate terms to sell your property it is essential that you close early in the month… preferably during the first 2 or 3 business days that are available if you have an owner current getting Medicaid Benefits. This will give you until the end of the calendar month to execute any plans to transfer funds before cash on hand must be reported to Medicaid.
The earlier you close… the more time you have to execute your plans with your elder law attorney.
Flexible closing dates are one of the tools that we use at SouthTampaTeardowns.com to help homeowners hoping to sell to a builder. We can always close on your timetable, and often allow extra time to complete moving out.
If you are helping a family member with the sale of an older smaller home in South Tampa, or are just hoping to start putting plans in place so you can move when the time is right… give me a call.
My number is 813-784-4199… I’m happy to provide referrals to local elder law attorneys that can assist you with your planning or provide an easy way to get a fair offer for your property where you won’t have to pay for commissions, repairs, of closing costs.