Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
It’s So Easy To Deed The House. Lose The House But Save Hundreds!
(Not Edited For Grammar, Spelling Or Common Sense) (Not Legal Advice… Oh My No!)
If Your Only Tool Is A Sledgehammer Maybe You Should Not Be Washing Windows
Everybody likes to save money. Deeds are simple, quick, cheap, and effective. The future does not always work out the way we wish, hope, pray, and expect it will. Deeds are rigid and inflexible.
Will your kids outlive you? Will your kids always be nice? Are you OK with losing your house because your kid got divorced or bankrupt? If your kid refuses to deed the house back to you, is that OK? Is the world filled with sunshine and daisies? Is it worth risking your home to save a few bucks? Do bad things ever happen to good people?
Deeds are a blunt force tool. Once the deed takes effect, there’s no looking back. Thousands of people go all the way and irrevocably give the house to the kids while they’re still alive. Thousands more do “lady bird” or transfer on death deeds that are almost as bad.
Every tool has a purpose. Sometimes you can make one tool do the job of another. Who hasn’t used the handle of a screwdriver to pound a nail? But the job is done poorly. Deeds are very useful tools, when used appropriately. Deeds can cause as much damage as using a sledgehammer to wash windows.
Mama Mia, Here We Go Again!
My mother wants to leave her house to me when she passes.
I need to get my name on the deed. I need help to get it done.
You do not want to “get [your] name on the deed.” Bad idea. But there are plenty of folks out there to “help to get it done.” These helpful folks will happily help with a quit claim deed or ladybird deed. And when the world turns, they will just as happily step out of the way and blame you for the consequences.
Let’s start with what Mom wants. She wants you to get the house when she dies. That’s reasonable. Any other kids? You can’t just ignore them unless you’re begging for a lawsuit. But let’s assume you are an only child.
Gimme The Usual – Basic Quitclaim Deed
What if Mom does the usual quitclaim deed… maybe she delivers the house to you right now, entirely. It is now your house. When Mom dies, it’s still your house. No problem?
What if Mom needs long-term care in the next 5 years? And she probably will. See, people don’t just give away their homes willy- nilly. Most people start thinking about planning when they have a pretty good idea they will need the planning sooner rather than later. There’s (almost) always a trigger.
So, Mom quitclaim deeds the house to you. Three years later she needs care. Traditional nursing home now costs $12,000-15,000 per month. Assisted living rings in at $6,000-9,000 per month. When Mom is broke, Medicaid will pay for her care and let her keep the homestead. But she gave the homestead to you. So now Medicaid will not pay. The nursing home will sue Mom because the nursing home needs to get paid. Mom will explain that she gave the house to you, which is why she doesn’t qualify for Medicaid. The nursing home will now sue you.
If you have tens of thousands of dollars to pay for all the months of Medicaid Mom will not get, great! Pay and keep on paying.
Or you can give the house back to Mom. And then the house gets sold to pay the back bills. Mom gets the extra money. And because she has the extra money from the sale of her house, she doesn’t qualify for Medicaid because she is not “broke” anymore. Until she has spent every nickel on the nursing home, then Medicaid will step back in and pay. I exaggerated about the “every nickel”. Mom gets to keep $2000! Feel better now?
Whose genius idea was this brilliant strategy? Nobody’s stepping up to take credit for this disaster. After all, who brags about losing everything by straining to save a few bucks on proper planning? Why do you only hear about deed situations that “worked perfectly”? Do you have a friend with a “system” for winning at the casino? Does this friend have a nonstop series of stories about his big wins? Does this friend with a system brag about his losses? Have you ever heard about the losses? Gee, why not?
Same thing here. Blunt force deed planning can work. You just have no reason for thinking it will, other than luck. But the only stories that get repeated are the Big Wins. Families that lost the homestead, the cottage, the business… those folks tend not to shout it from the roof tops.
Gimme A Special – Lady Bird Deed
The transfer on death deed is often called the “ladybird deed”. It appears that U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s wife, Lady Bird Johnson, won a court case thereby establishing the “transfer on death deed” in Texas. You can look it up.
In Michigan, the “transfer on death deed” has been part of Michigan law almost since statehood back in the early 1800’s. So there!
The ladybird deed transfers property when the person giving the property dies. Until then, the giver can reclaim the property for any reason or no reason at all. This leads to some hilarious consequences!
Setup: Mom ladybirds the house to you. You put all kinds of improvements into the house.
Payoff #1: Mom sells the house and pockets the money. But, but, but Mom would never do that!
Payoff #2: Mom’s new boyfriend, who has Mom’s power of attorney, sells the house. Romeo pockets the money, goes to the dog track, loses all the money, and invites you to sue him.
Payoff #3: Your brothers and sisters convince Mom that it is unfair that you should get the house all by yourself since all you did was pay off the mortgage, fix the house up, pay the taxes, utilities, maintenance, and insurance for the last 15 years and otherwise support Mom in the family homestead. Mom agrees, revokes the 1st ladybird deed, and does a second ladybird deed that includes all the kids! Try explaining this to your spouse. Good luck.
Payoff #4: Your brothers and sisters cannot convince Mom to revoke and re-deed the homestead. Your brothers and sisters wait until Mom dies and then sue you for undue influence. Rather than rupture the family and pay lotso dough to those nefarious lawyers, you sell the house and divvy up.
Payoff #5: Mom needs nursing home care. Mom screws up her Medicaid application and loses benefits for a few months. Nursing home sues Mom and takes her house. You get nothing.
What if only 20% of deed-based planning fails? (I think it’s much higher than that, but let’s be conservative.) That means you have an 80% chance of not losing the homestead! Do you like those odds? If each time you got behind the wheel, you had a 20% chance of dying in a flaming car wreck, would you ever get in a car again? Why are folks so nonchalant about losing their largest investment? Why are you? Why not take 60 minutes to find out what is really going on? Take 60 minutes at the LifePlan™ Workshop to discover the Three Secrets. What could it hurt?
My mother and father died and it’s 5 kids. My brother and sister sold the house without telling the other 3. What can we do?
After my father died my mom lived alone in the house until she got sick. She ended up being in the hospital not knowing she’s in this world. So my sister ended up with keys to the house while our mom was in hospital went in her house and found papers to home and after she died about 2 years later because my dad and brother has same name because my dad name was on deed some kind of way they sold the house
First Round, Ninth Circle Of Hell Reserved For Traitors To Their Family
And It Is Worse For Those Who Fight Over Inheritances
Seven hundred ten years ago, in 1314, Dante described the fate of those who betray their families. Such traitors are banished to the lowest level of the Inferno, the Ninth Circle, which they share with other traitors and Satan himself. These sinners are frozen in a vast lake, up to their necks, in constant torment from the icy, stinking wind created by Satan’s wings.
Don’t you think it would be bad enough, encased in ice up to your neck for all eternity, your tears freezing immediately? It gets worse. Dante meets two brothers whose hair is interknit and whose foreheads are frozen together. They argued and quarreled while living and eventually murdered one another over an inheritance. Now they’ll butt heads through eternity while their sufferings are multiplied forever without end.
Did you want to leave your kids butting heads for eternity in a frozen lake next to the Great Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer? Might it be a good idea to do some planning that would encourage the better angels of their nature? Just as one bad act leads to other bad acts, so too, one good thing leads to other good things…
What Happened Here?
Mom and Dad owned a house. Mom and Dad have 5 kids.
Son #1 has the same name as Dad. Dad died.
Mom now owns the house by herself, legally. But Dad’s death certificate was not recorded.
Mom got sick. Mom went to hospital. Daughter #1 got the keys to the house.
Mom died. Two years later.
Son #1 and Daughter #1 file Mom’s death certificate.
Son #1 claims to be Dad. And proves it with his driver’s license and other identification.
Son #1 goes to the closing and signs his name to the new deed, selling the house to unsuspecting Buyer.
Son #1 and Daughter #1 split the money. The other 3 kids find out and are not happy.
These facts are my guesses based on the email. The house was sold only because: “my dad and brother has same name because my dad name was on deed some kind of way they sold the house”.
Son #1 had no legal right to sell the house. Mom and Dad (probably) owned the house as husband and wife. That means that Mom owned the house when Dad died. But not if Dad’s death certificate was not recorded. Then, when Mom died, Son #1 took Mom’s death certificate to the title company and asserted that he, Son #1, was actually Dad. We call this “FRAUD”.
What Can We Do?
Open a probate estate in Mom’s name, since Mom was the one who legally owned the house, not Son #1, not Dad. Subpoena the closing documents. Determine the sequence of events. Join Son #1 and Daughter #1 as defendants. Sue them for embezzlement and fraud.
The problem here is that Son #1 and Daughter #1 have (probably) already spent the money. Do they have any money of their own? Do they own their own homes? Do you want to see them prosecuted in criminal court?
Review the facts and sequence with an attorney who has been down this road before. Weigh the costs and benefits. Then decide.
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Employee Retention Tax Credit
You Overpaid Your Employment Taxes. And You Don’t Want Your Overpayment Back?
During COVID, Congress offered small businesses a deal: keep your people employed. Keep paying them. Keep paying their benefits. Even if they don’t work. Even if governmental orders shut down your business. Even if your revenue falls off the cliff and crumbles.
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Congress Turned Small Businesses Into America’s Unemployment Agency
Hundreds of thousands of small businesses went bust during the COVID. Millions of Americans were thrown out of work. Millions of Americans applied for government unemployment benefits. They broke the system. Congress wanted you to be the new national unemployment agency.
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