Who Pays for Mom's House After She's Moved to a Nursing Home?


The home is one of the biggest assets you are allowed to own and still qualify for Medicaid coverage of your nursing home bills. For 2016, the equity in your home will be completely exempt from counting against you for Medicaid eligibility purposes, if your equity does not exceed $552,000. (Under the federal law, each state has the option of adopting a higher exemption, up to $828,000.) In addition, if your spouse continues to live in the house, it will be exempt no matter how much it is worth.

But what if you're not married, and you're in a nursing home? Who pays the real estate taxes, the homeowner's insurance, the heat and other necessary upkeep? The general rule is that you must turn over all of your income to the nursing home before Medicaid will pay for the nursing home bill. So generally, you cannot use your income to pay for these household expenses.

There is an exception for the first six months you are in the nursing home, if you can be reasonably expected to return home within this period of time. If such is the case, the federal rules permit you to deduct a limited amount each month to pay for certain house-related expenses, including rent or mortgage.

After the first six months, there are several options. First, your family members may have to pay these bills, to protect what they hope and expect will eventually pass to them following your death. Accurate records should be kept documenting who paid what and when, so that should they inherit the house as planned, everyone's share can be adjusted fairly based on what they paid in during your lifetime.

Second, you can rent out the house. This is often a good idea if family members simply do not have the cash to pay the real estate taxes and other monthly upkeep costs out of pocket. A local management company should be used to supervise the rentals and take care of emergencies (calling the plumber on a weekend, etc.). In truth, you should not be overly concerned as to the cost of such a company, since all of the net income from your rent simply goes to the nursing home anyway, saving the Medicaid program money, not your family!

Accordingly, it would be better to charge a little less rent if that ensures a responsible tenant, since your goal is simply to cover the ongoing carrying costs of the house, not make a profit.

Finally, don't forget that there is little point in your family paying for the upkeep of the house if it will have to be sold to repay the state under the Medicaid "estate recovery" program following your death.

K. Gabriel Heiser is an attorney with over 25 years of experience in elder law and estate planning. He is the author of "How to Protect Your Family's Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets," an annually updated practical guide for the layperson.

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The residential property is only excluded if the Nursing Home resident is coming back home or there is a spouse or dependent living in the house in determine eligibility for Medicaid application for Nursing Home resident.
Many times the home of a senior in that type of situation has a home in need of MUCH repair; i.e., outdated wiring, termites, mold, leaky roofing, drippy plumbing, overgrown yard, broken fencing, cracks in foundation, etc. The home may be in a prime location but... there may be a few angry neighbors with plans.
My mom doesn't own a house or anything like that. She had a stroke recently this past Friday. She was in a hospital, now in a nursing home. I need to pay her by this Tuseday if I don't get the rent for her when she gets better she'll comeback with no home to comeback to I can't get into my mom's account to pay for her rent and I can't get access to my so I can get food for me and things like because my mom is the holder of the bank account and still have under miner which is something it should of been changed a long time ago before something would happen. I tried talking with my mom about this at hospital and nursing home. She has what slurpy speech. And she thinks. Well my brother help's me a little because I am totally disabled and my mom thinks she can still help me with things. But not in the condition that she is in. I need I need legal help for someone before it's too late. My mom will be evicted soon. Tuseday the property manager will file an eviction and the manager can't be reason with. There is a word for why she wouldn't have a change of heart for that kind circumstances. But please help me fast. If I don't get help fast when my mom returns she will find her self evicted and most likely have a heart attack. Any help please ? I'm desperate. If something happens to my mom I wont be able to live with my self. Because it's more than that it's this crooked manager trying to illegally evict me or anyone else she wants to do that to. Please I'm begging. Someone help god I'll do anything. Save my mom.