Q.: My father and I own a house together that neither of us lives in; it's just a rental. Upon his death, does the house become mine, or does half of it go to his estate?
I'm worried that if he were to require long-term care, this house would be considered part of his assets. – P.R., via email
A.: With regard to your first question, it depends on how the house is titled. If the house is titled "in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship," then when one of you dies, the other guy owns the house in its entirety.
If the house is not titled that way, his half will go into his estate.
Unless your dad has reasons not to, I would suggest changing the title so it is worded that way if it isn't already.
If your father needs long-term care and collects Medicaid, the house is part of his assets and, upon his demise, his piece of the action could be attached by the state that provides the Medicaid help.
If you were to put the house in your name, you would have to satisfy the "look-back" period, which is five years.
That means that if your father collects any aid before that look-back time has expired, the house would still be considered his asset.