Can Father Give Entire Estate to Kids and Nothing to Mom?

by Bruce


My mother is in assisted living, applying for medicaid. My mother and father split their assets. Mother is below $4000 now. Father passed last wk he had 50,000 cash and I put the house in his name the day before his death. It's notarized and filed with the register of deeds. His will gives everything to the 5 kids; nothing to mom. I'm being told medicaid is going to take all the cash and half the house. What is your opinion on this?


One question is whether you had legal authority to transfer the house into your father’s name. In any case, a surviving spouse (that is, your mother) has a legal right to a certain portion of the deceased spouse’s estate regardless of what the deceased spouse’s will says. So if your mother does not demand that portion, Medicaid treats it as a gift from her to the children, resulting in a penalty period during which she will not be entitled to Medicaid. The exact amount that your mother is entitled to from your father’s estate varies from state to state; you would need to check with an attorney in your state to find out the exact amount. Good luck with everything!

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--by Beth Heikkinen
Marquette, Michigan
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