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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 31789
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Can the government of Washington State take away your home

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Can the government of Washington State take away your home to help pay for the bills if you need rest home care and have no other money?
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Real Estate litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

Generally, Washington Medicaid or medical assistance will not take your home away during your lifetime. Under Washington law, a husband and wife can keep their primary residence. However, the primary residence for a single person is not exempt. This means that the state will place a lien on the house for each month’s Medicaid benefits paid. Once the single person passes away, the state will force the sale of the house and ‘recover’ the amounts that have been spent. Here's a good link that outlines this and other issues :

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My father and mother and I own a house in Washington State. The house is solely in my name however, my parents have a quick claim deed in case they need to prove that they own half of the house. My father did this 20 years ago when we bought our house to avoid the state taking their part of the ownership in case my parents would need to go to a nursing home. Was that wise???

Doing this would protect the house for your mother and father because if the house is in your name - - which means Medicaid can't touch it if your parents need care because they don't own the house.

However, if you were to need care, it would expose the house because you're a singe owner legally - - because you're the only one on the deed.

thus, the move was good for your parents, but not as good for you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My brother who is from out of town wants my father to file the quick claim deed and take off my name from the deed so my father can refinance the house and remodel the downstairs so that my parents can live downstairs now that they are in their 80's. My mother recently had a fall and is in a nursing home for physical rehab.My brother wants me to sign a quick claim form and have the deed in my parent's name only while they refinance. My father is 87 and my mother is 84. Is this wise???

This probably isn't the best idea because if the title goes into your parents' name, then the property could be exposed to Medicaid liens and could be taken by the state after they were to pass away.

Also, there's no quick way to give your parents the property temporarily and then give it back because there's a 5 year lookback period - - meaning that if your parents were placed on the title, they would have to transfer it out of their names and then wait at least 5 years before receiving any Medicaid benefits in order to keep the house protected. Because of their ages, it's likely impossible for them to meet the 5 year deadline.

Thus, if you want to protect the house, it is likely best not to transfer the property into your parents name/s.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can senior citizens with medicare income only refinance their homes?? is it wise????

Sorry for the delay.

Yes, seniors with Medicare can refinance their homes. There's nothing wrong with refinancing. The most dangerous issue for seniors is having the home in their names and having to go into a nursing home and receiving MEDICAID - - that's when liens are filed, property is taken, etc. as we discussed above.

However, if they're on Medicare, there should be no issue.
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Hi - I was checking to see if you have any additional questions or need anything further.

Our site had some technical difficulties today and was offline for some time. I just want to make sure I covered everything you needed to ask.