LIfe Estates

You mother’s interest in the homes would be calculated by multiplying the current fair market value of the house x the percent interest of her life estate. These figures are set out in government tables. Under the current table, the value of a life estate for a person age 90 is .28221 (i.e., 28.221%). So multiply that by the current 100% value of the houses (i.e., what you could get for them if sold, today) to find out the countable value of her interest in these properties.
Since her percent interest decreases with each passing year, you would have to recalculate her interest accordingly (the underlying value of the homes changes too, of course, depending on real estate values in the area).

I assume you mean she was the sole owner until 2009? If so, then upon transferring the remainder interests at that time, she made gifts equal to the remainder interest x the then value of the properties. Once again, you need to consult the table to find out her percentage. If she were 87 at the time, the remainder interest was .67738, etc. Such gifts are indeed penalty-causing gifts if she applies for Medicaid within 5 years