As our population ages, many families are facing the difficult decision of how to care for elderly parents. Children are busy with their own lives and families and do not have the opportunity to fly back and forth to Florida for their parents as often as they would like to support them. This dilemma becomes more pronounced when one of the elderly spouses has passed on and now, the elderly surviving spouse has that much more trouble living independently. For some, the solution is to move their parents, who have migrated to Florida, to retire, back to New York because they no longer have the support that they need to live independently due to their age. This decision, known as “reverse migration,” can have significant legal implications that must be carefully considered as all of this can be daunting and stressful for both the parents and the children.
If your parents have existing medical conditions, it’s also important to consider the availability and quality of healthcare in the new location. You should research local hospitals and medical facilities to ensure that your parents will have access to the care they need. In addition, it is critical for you to consider their health care coverage back in New York. Will they live with you or in a nursing home? Is their medical insurance up to date? Will they need to apply for Medicaid?
One of the positive aspects of their move back to New York is that New York has better Medicaid availability. Meaning, if your parent was not able to qualify for Medicaid in Florida or any other state in which they lived due to their access income or resources in their retirement accounts, they may be able to qualify in New York. On that note, homecare is more accessible in New York as well. Home care is useful to assist people with their daily activities and can be a great help to adult children caring for their parents. New York offers many home care programs through Medicaid as well as federally approved waivers.
If your parents are considering a move back to New York, it’s also important to consider the financial implications of the move. Moving to a new state can be expensive, and your parents may need to sell their home, dispose of personal property, and pay for moving expenses. You should also consider the cost of living in the new location and whether your parents will need to make adjustments to their budget to accommodate the move.
You may need to consider what to do with their residence. If the plan is to sell their retirement residence, the principal residence exclusion is up to $500,000 on capital gains for a married couple. To be able to sell this property and qualify for this exclusion, one must have owned or lived in the property as their primary residence for two out of the five years immediately preceding the sale. To note, the two years do not have to be consecutive.
Another important consideration is the impact that the move may have on your parents’ estate planning. It’s essential to ensure that their wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents are properly updated to reflect the new state laws and regulations. This will help ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes and that their financial affairs are handled appropriately.
Perhaps most importantly, you must consider the emotional impact of the move on your parents. Moving away from familiar surroundings and leaving behind friends and neighbors can be difficult for anyone, but it can be particularly challenging for the elderly. It’s important to involve your parents in the decision-making process and to be sensitive to their needs and concerns throughout the entire process.
Beress & Zalkind PLLC attorneys can assist with the legal aspects of this process. We can help guide you through the process of relocating your elderly parents back to New York and advise you on the legal implications of the move, help you update your parents’ estate planning documents, and ensure that their interests are protected at every step of the way.
In conclusion, while the decision to move elderly parents back to New York to be closer to their children can be a deeply personal and emotional one, it’s essential to carefully consider all of the legal and financial implications before taking action. With the right guidance and support, however, you can ensure that your parents are able to live out their golden years in comfort and security, surrounded by the love and support of their family.
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