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FamilyAttorney
FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1195
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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I am caregiver to elderly mom and stepfather in

Customer Question

I am caregiver to elderly mom and stepfather in Massachusetts. Mom owns the house. My stepfather had pneumonia is now in rehab. My stepfather has a trust for his assets of $600,000. My mom and stepfather had a prenup which clearly separates their assets and states that the house will remain my mother's house. If my stepfather ever has to go to a nursing home, will any of the house be at risk for his health care costs? Thank you!
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 8 months ago.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 8 months ago.

The prenup is to be used in case of divorce or death in Mass. The problem is that there is no divorce here. Your stepfather can presumably access his trust and use those assets for his medical care. It is unlikely that the house could be used but that doesn't mean it can't. They are still married, and even though it's in her name, your stepfather could have done something to the house to improve it, thereby making it separate property which was enhanced by the stepfather, changing it to marital property, although of limited value as marital property. I would suggest you seek a wills and estates attorney to see if you can get your mother to get this house off the table completely -- maybe she will want to bequeath the property to someone else, such as you, or maybe she will want to put it in trust. Even though it's not in the prenup, it's not completely protected under Mass's equitable distribution laws. I would suggest a consult with a wills and estates attorney to make sure that the house is completely unable to be touched by your stepfather. Here, without a divorce, there is no guarantee it can't be touched. I know you'd like to have that guarantee, but I know you'd rather I be honest with you.
I am sorry that you and your family are in this predicament, but I would strongly advise a consult. If you want I can send names of estate lawyers near your area and explain how to choose a lawyer. We can't recommend any particular lawyer but we can send a list and give you a guideline as to how to choose one or two lawyers. I have a guideline which is easy to follow. Please let me know if you would like this info. I do this for all my customers here.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 8 months ago.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 8 months ago.

I meant to say that even though it is in the prenup. I wanted to edit that and I can't so I'm editing it here. The prenup doesn't give enough protection. Thank you!

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 8 months ago.

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you. Thanks and thank you for allowing me to help you.

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