Cooperative Apartments Require Special Handling.

This is Strategy #10 from Lamson & Cutner’s publication, “25 Strategies to Prevent Financial Ruin from Long-Term Health Care Costs.” Click here to see the other strategies.

If you currently reside in a co-op and want to implement an asset protection strategy that involves transferring it to a trust, you will need the co-op board’s approval. This is another good reason to retain an Elder Law firm that is well equipped and experienced in addressing these matters. If the board says no, a knowledgeable attorney may still be able to persuade them to move ahead with the plan.

There are several approaches we’ve found have a consistent track record of success with co-op boards:

  • explaining the Elder Law plan and why it is important to change the title to the apartment
  • proving ability to pay the co-op maintenance
  • agreeing to put money in an escrow account to cover a certain amount of maintenance
  • entering into an agreement that the trust will be responsible for the co-op’s collection expenses if there’s a dispute
  • making a commitment as to who will or will not live in the apartment
  • agreeing to specific conditions of sale after the owner dies

The goal is to convince the board that the transaction can be consummated in a way that won’t expose the building to any additional risk. While no firm can guarantee getting board approval every time, a competent Elder Law attorney should succeed in a large majority of cases.

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