Can Wife Transfer Interest in Florida Property to Husband and Get Medicaid Coverage in Massachusetts?
My wife will need to move to a nursing home memory care facility within 6 months. We own our home in Massachusetts and I understand as the community spouse I can stay in the home. (It is worth $300K and we owe $181k on it.) My question relates to our second home in Florida which we own jointly with survivorship (we recently changed the deed). Can my wife transfer her ownership to me? Or since we only have $55k in equity and our total assets including the equity would be under the Massachusetts spousal allowance of $128k. Which way is best?
I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s situation. In terms of the Florida property, yes, your wife should transfer her interest to you. While you and your wife may keep up to about $130,000 in countable assets, your wife may only have up to $2,000 in her name. So her ownership of the Florida property would make her ineligible for benefits. In addition, there are no Medicaid penalties for transfers between spouses, so there’s no problem with the transfer to you.
I’d also recommend transferring your Massachusetts house and any accounts you may have into your name, even though the house in Massachusetts does not count against your wife’s $2,000 asset limit, since it’s your principal place of residence. There are two reasons for this. First, it will give you control if necessary in the future. Second, you could update your estate plan so everything doesn’t revert to your wife in the event you predecease her. You could leave it to your children, if any, or in trust for your wife’s benefit.