Q: In Wisconsin is it legal to sign your real estate over to a relative prior to your death?
It used to be that it had to be a number of years prior to death. But someone told me that you can not do it at all any more.
A: You can sign your house over to anyone you like at any time. However, if you do this, it will affect your eligibility for Medicaid for 5 years. If you apply for Medicaid benefits (to pay for Nursing Home care, for instance) within 5 years of gifting your home (or anything else), you will incur a penalty period in which you are ineligible for benefits.
The penalty period is calculated by taking the value of the gift (the home) and dividing it by $7,880.35 and that is the number of months you are ineligible. This penalty period does not begin until you are down to under $2,000 in assets, so it is pretty serious.
If you are thinking about doing this, I suggest you consult with an experienced estate planning and elder law attorney who knows the Medicaid rules.
** Disclaimer : Because you are not my client, any answer given to questions is hypothetical, and you cannot rely on them for your specific situation. Answering this hypothetical question does not create an attorney-client relationship, unless we later agree to enter into such a relationship. I would need to know a lot more about your situation before I could answer with any degree of certainty.**
Thomas B. Burton agrees with this answer
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