If I tearing a house down that my dad gave me and build a new one, is the house legally mine?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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If I tearing a house down that my dad gave me and build a new one, is the house legally mine?

My dad wants to give me his house and property. In turn we will tear his house down and build a new one with an apartment for him. If something happens to him and he goes into a nursing home, can they take the house from me? What I need to know is if the house would legally be mine.

Asked on August 7, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It depends on when he gives you the house vs. when he goes into the nursing home. Assuming he doesn't pay the nursing home completely out of his own money, there is a five-year "look back" period during which Medicaid or the state can undo or reverse ("void") any transaction which was not for fair-market value (i.e. where the house was not sold for what it was worth) in order to get at the property to seek reimbursement of the money it paid out for his care. This is so that people who are going into a nursing home can't hide their assets, like houses, by giving them to family and so avoid paying as much as they can for their own care. So if he is not likely to go into a nursing home for at least 5 years, you can do this; if he will need a nursing home sooner than that, you could lose the house.

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