Should mom jointly own her assets?

2 answers | Last updated: Nov 08, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom is 87 years-old and her house and her car do not have anyone else on their deeds. I am worried that if she should happen to go into a nursing home that she will not be covered as far as if we (her children) need to sell the house in order to pay for her care. Do we need to have someone else on these titles even though my sister says there is a deed transfer on death?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

The transfer on death designation is a nice and clean way for your mother’s house and car to pass to the next owners without going through probate. But the arrangement only goes into effect at her death, and will not be a bit of help should someone need to step in and sell her assets before she dies.

To empower someone to make that decision, your mom would have to appoint that person as her agent in a durable power of attorney for finances. She could specify that the document takes effect either immediately—or only in the event that she becomes legally incompetent to make her own decisions. Either way, your mom would have to agree to the arrangement and sign the document.

Community Answers

Wes hudson answered...


Yes, I understand your dilemma.  Is it possible she could stay in her home, and have someone come in and help her out?  If so, maybe a Reverse Mortgage would be something to consider. She could access a portion of the equity, and use for whatever she needs.  If she does have to go to a facility, as long as she stays there one 24 hr period in a 365 day calendar year the mortgage would not be due.