Transferring your house to your children can be a complex decision with various implications. It is essential to carefully consider the pros and cons before proceeding with such a transfer. In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of transferring your house to your kids, with a focus on medicaid planning, asset protection, and the use of life estate deeds. giving your house to your kids

The Pros of Transferring Your House to Your Kids

1. Medicaid Planning

Transferring your house to your children can be beneficial for medicaid planning purposes. By transferring ownership, you may reduce the value of your assets, potentially making you eligible for medicaid benefits if needed in the future. This strategy allows you to protect your assets while ensuring that they are not counted towards medicaid eligibility requirements.

2. Asset Protection

Transferring your house to your children can also provide asset protection. By removing the property from your name, it becomes less susceptible to creditors or legal claims against you. This step can offer peace of mind knowing that your property is safeguarded from potential financial risks.

3. Tax Benefits

Another advantage of transferring your house to your children is the potential tax benefits it may bring. Depending on the jurisdiction, there could be tax advantages associated with gifting property to family members. It is advisable to consult with a tax professional or estate planning attorney to understand the specific tax implications in your area.

Cons of Transferring Your House to Your Kids

1. Loss of Control

One significant drawback of transferring your house to your children is the loss of control over the property. Once the transfer is complete, you no longer have sole decision-making power regarding the property's use or sale. This lack of control may become problematic if disagreements arise among family members or if circumstances change in the future.

2. Potential Family Conflicts

Transferring property to your children can sometimes lead to family conflicts. Siblings may have differing opinions on how the property should be managed or whether it should be sold. These conflicts can strain relationships and create tension within the family. It is crucial to have open and honest discussions with your children before making any transfer decisions.

3. Ineligibility for Certain Benefits

Transferring your house to your children might render you ineligible for certain benefits or assistance programs. For example, if you require long-term care in a nursing home, transferring assets within a certain timeframe before applying for Medicaid could result in a penalty period during which you are not eligible for benefits. It is essential to consider the potential impact on your eligibility for government assistance before proceeding with a transfer.

Life Estate Deeds: A Potential Solution

One option to address some of the cons mentioned above is through the use of life estate deeds. A life estate deed allows you to retain control and ownership of your property during your lifetime while ensuring that it passes directly to your children upon your death, avoiding probate.

With a life estate deed, you become the "life tenant," granting you the right to live in and use the property until your passing. Your children, known as "remaindermen," automatically assume ownership once you are no longer alive. This arrangement provides a balance between maintaining control over the property and transferring it to your children without the need for probate.

However, it is important to note that life estate deeds may not be suitable for everyone and can have their own complexities. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help determine whether a life estate deed aligns with your goals and circumstances.


Transferring your house to your children has both pros and cons that should be carefully evaluated. Medicaid planning, asset protection, and potential tax benefits are advantages worth considering. On the other hand, loss of control, family conflicts, and potential ineligibility for certain benefits are critical factors to bear in mind.

If you decide that transferring your house is the right choice for you, exploring options like life estate deeds can help address some of the drawbacks associated with traditional transfers. Always seek professional advice from a Brooklyn estate planning attorney to ensure that your decision aligns with your long-term goals and protects your interests.

Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection
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