Can I still inherit my mother’s home if she sold it to my brother before her death?

My mother sold my childhood home to my brother for $1 to avoid losing her home if she went into a nursing home. She claims that there was a contingency that the home would be left to all four of her children upon her death and that it is in her will. Is that even possible? Doesn’t my brother own the home outright and have no legal obligation to share it with us?

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

She didn’t sell the house to you brother, she gave it to him. One dollar is not a valid sales price of the house. Just an FYI, you can’t give it away and then turn around and apply for public benefits unless it met an exception to the rule (ex: 1. your brother is disabled or 2. lived in the house with her for 2 years before she went into a nursing home and it was his care that had postponed her entry into the nursing home.). The house transfer could have waited until she went into the nursing home if the exceptions were met. Otherwise, she would have had a 5 year wait before she would have been approved for Medicaid’s long term care.
As she gave it away, your bother owns it. It will not go according to her will. So, he doesn’t have an obligation to share. This may rise to the level of elder financial abuse. So, you could possibly be able to drag the house back through litigation if he doesn’t share it.

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Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

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The estate administration and estate planning attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for estate planning, probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

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