Sep 25

Mother’s Transfer of House to Daughter Is Proper Medicaid Planning

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A New Jersey appeals court holds that a mother's transfer of her house her daughter was appropriate as part of Medicaid planning and not a result of undue influence, but that the daughter is not entitled to attorney's fees. Estate of Guglielmelli (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., No. A-0375-17T1, Sept. 6, 2018).

Geraldine M. Guglielmelli lived with her daughter, Donna Mulford, who was her agent under a power of attorney. When Ms. Mulford could no longer care for her mother, Ms. Guglielmelli entered an assisted living facility. Ms. Mulford consulted an attorney about Medicaid planning, and on the attorney's advice Ms. Guglielmelli transferred her interest in her house to Ms. Mulford. Ms. Guglielmelli's other daughter, Denise Green, removed her from assisted living, and Ms. Guglielmelli hired another attorney to demand that Ms. Mulford produce accountings.

After Ms. Mulford produced the accountings, Ms. Guglielmelli filed exceptions, and the court held a hearing. The probate judge concluded that Ms. Guglielmelli voluntarily transferred her interest in her house to Ms. Mulford as part of Medicaid planning and awarded Ms. Mulford attorney's fees. Ms. Guglielmelli appealed.

The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, affirms in part, holding that the evidence supports the probate judge's decision regarding the transfer of the house. However, the court reverses the award of fees to Ms. Mulford, holding that there is no provision in state law for an award of fees in an accounting action.

For the full text of this decision, go to: https://www.njcourts.gov/attorneys/assets/opinions/appellate/unpublished/a0375-17.pdf?cacheID=avKhyqT