ICLE Course Outline: Handling the House and Family caregiving Arrangements

by James P. Lampertius

More persons who are elderly or adults with a disability are choosing to live under one roof with family members. The residence is often a main asset for clients and directly related to their emotional security. Public benefits under Medicaid, SSI and the Veterans Administration prioritize and even reward remaining at home with family care arrangements.

As such, attorneys increasingly face requests to handle the house and family caregiving as part of the estate planning process. The desire to avoid probate, to protect the home against loss and to alleviate overall costs to the family make “simple” deed transactions quite common. Life estate deeds, deeds to a trust or joint ownership arrangements may seem a simple solution. These “simple”requests, however, often have significant legal, tax and Medicaid effects which are not contemplated.

In fact, family caregiving relationships often exact a significant emotional, physical and financial toll on the caregiver and other relationships. Accountability, access, safety and respite are difficult to clarify in the home setting. Concerns of undue influence, inappropriate control, earned income and gifting penalties have caused increased scrutiny with the probate court, Medicaid and the IRS.

Estate planning attorneys serve their best role in anticipating these “red flags” before they become problematic. At the same time, we are able to honor family preferences and strengthen the financial security of the client. This seminar is broken into four major steps to tailor the most effective legal framework for handling the house and family caregivers.


31731 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 170
Farmington Hills, Michigan 48334