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Young Couple Who Just Purchased a New Home
Colonial Style House


As part of our comprehensive Life & Estate Planning services, we represent clients in the following real estate matters:

  • Purchase and Sale of Residential Homes, Condominium Units & Cooperative Apartments

  • Purchase Offers & Purchase Memorandums

  • Real Property Condition Disclosure Statements

  • Negotiation, Preparation & Review of Contracts of Sale

  • Contract Contingency Clauses & Contract Riders

  • Home & Property Inspections

  • Mortgage Loan Applications & Mortgage Pay-offs 

  • Title Searches, Title Insurance Reports & Title Insurance Issues

  • Zoning & Planning Issues

  • Real Property Transfer Documents & Transfer Tax Returns

  • Attendance & Representation at Title Closings

  • Preparation of Post-Closing Accounting & Property Document Packages

  • Negotiation, Preparation and Review of Apartment Leasing Agreements

  • Strategies for Protecting Step-Up in Basis & Minimizing Capital Gains Tax

  • How to Best Legally Title Your Home to Fully Protect the Property

  • Trust Planning for Second Homes & Out-of-State Properties

  • Quitclaim/Outright Deed Transfers

  • Retained Life Estate Deed Transfers

  • Family Home Protection Trusts


Your home is one of the largest financial investments you will make in your lifetime. Therefore, it is vitally important to make sure that your substantial financial investment, as well as your legal interests, are fully protected throughout the purchase and sale process.

We represent clients in all aspects of residential, condominium and cooperative apartment sales and purchases.  Whether you're purchasing or selling your first home, purchasing a second home, (i.e., a vacation home or investment property), down-sizing to a smaller home, assisting a parent with selling a home, or selling a home following a parent's death, we stand ready to assist you.  

As your attorney, we will guide you through each and every step of the process; from the initial offer and down-payment, through the property inspection, the negotiation and preparation of the contract of sale, the mortgage approval process, reviewing the title insurance report, the preparation of the new deed, the completion of the real property transfer documents and transfer tax returns, representing you at the closing, and preparing and providing you with a post-closing accounting and property documents package.

As a client of our firm, you can rest assured knowing that your legal interests will be vigorously represented throughout the entire purchase and sale process and that, in the end, your home investment is fully protected.


There are many different legal strategies available for protecting your family home. However, before taking any action in this area, it's important to fully understand the advantages and, perhaps even more importantly, the disadvantages that come with each of the home protection strategies.  


You could gift your home to another individual, such as an adult child.  An outright transfer of the home would succeed in removing the home from your "countable" assets for Medicaid eligibility purposes. However, an outright transfer comes with several major disadvantages, including the following: (1) any transfer of the property for less than the full market value would result in a Medicaid penalty period during which time you will NOT be eligible for Medicaid benefits, (2) the home could lose any real estate tax benefits, such as the Senior Citizen, STAR and Veteran's exemptions, (3) your child would lose the "step-up" in basis tax advantage, and could incur a substantial capital gains tax liability when the house is sold, and (4) if your child subsequently goes through a divorce, experiences financial problems, or is sued for any reason whatsoever, the home would be vulnerable to the lawsuits and/or creditors.  


You could transfer your home to another individual (e.g., an adult child) while retaining a "life estate" in the property. The retained life estate means that you retain the legal right to continue living in the home during your lifetime.  You would also continue to be responsible for all the maintenance costs and property taxes.  Upon your death, the property will automatically pass to your designated beneficiary (i.e., the person you designated in the Deed) without having to go through probate. The retained life estate also has certain tax advantages, and it generally serves to protect the home from Medicaid with one important caveat - if the home is sold during your lifetime, and you are receiving Medicaid benefits, Medicaid could assert a right of recovery against the proceeds received from the sale of the home.      



You could transfer your home into a Home Protection Trust.  A properly designed Home Protection Trust would serve to fully protect the Home from Medicaid (as well as any other potential creditors) and, like the Life Estate, would preserve your existing real estate tax exemptions. In addition, upon your death, the home would automatically pass to your designated beneficiaries without having to go through the probate process; and, your beneficiaries would receive a "step-up" in basis, effectively minimizing any capital gains tax.  However, while the Home Protection Trust contains many significant planning benefits, it should be noted that any transfer of property into an Irrevocable Trust could potentially result in a penalty period for Medicaid eligibility purposes.


There are no "one-size-fits-all" solutions for protecting your home. Each strategy comes with certain inherent advantages and disadvantages.  We look forward to the prospect of reviewing each of these options with you in greater detail, and helping you determine which strategy makes the most sense for your particular situation. 

If you would like to attain peace of mind knowing that your valuable home investment is fully protected, call us today at (914) 686-7272 to discuss your particular needs and goals.

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