I received this question from Susan L. of Walled Lake, MI. Back in 2005, Susan and her mother purchased a small home in Wolverine Lake. They lived in the home together until this year, when Susan purchased her own home.
Recently, when Susan was going through some documents, she found that the deed to the home in Wolverine Lake had Susan’s name on it only. It did not name her mother. She now wants to prepare a quit claim deed, putting the home entirely in her mother’s name.
What is a Quit Claim Deed?
A quit claim deed is a legal instrument that is used to transfer interest in real property. When the quit claim deed is properly completed and executed, it transfers any interest the grantor has in the property to a recipient called the grantee. Unlike other types of deeds, it does not guarantee that the grantor even owns the property before they convey their interest.
Should Online Forms be Used for a Quit Claim Deed?
Legal forms, such as quit claim deeds, are easily available for download on the internet. But just because you can access and fill in a legal form on your own does not mean you should. Doing so without knowing the impact of the deed can have serious legal and financial consequences.
Impact of Transferring Assets
In this case, while deeding a free and clear home back to your mother seems to be the right thing to do, as a real estate and elder care attorney, the transfer of the asset into her name could affect her eligibility for Medicare benefits in the event your mother needs nursing home care later. Specifically, the government looks to a senior’s assets (e.g., money, homes, cars) as a resource that could have been otherwise used to help pay for nursing home care.
Most seniors are trying to get assets out of their name, not have assets placed in their name so that the government does not include a free and clear home.
So placing the property in your mother’s name at her age is not a good idea. There are other ways that you can protect your mother’s ownership interest in the property. But signing a quit claim deed at this juncture is not one of them, as it could cost your mother and your family thousands of dollars later.
Remember, only an attorney can give you legal advice on the far-reaching consequences of your actions.