My 87 year old mother is in assisted living due to type 1 diabetes and heart desease. I have been paying for her assisted living and other

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medical expenses since January 2007. If I claim her as my dependent in 2009, will this effect my estate for any future medical debts she may have. Will I be liable for nursing home care in the future (if she is required)? Will this prevent any aid from medicare / medicaid in the future?

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You should have a qualified CPA handle this. There are tax deductions for taking care of a parent with cash from your own resources, but the tax laws are tricky. You also may want to check with an estate attorney who knows Medicaid laws. You are in financial expert territory here - where you need individual advice based on state and Federal laws, your income, and likely your mother's. Good luck,
Carol
Carol is right, see an elder care attorney or tax specialist for information on taking her as a tax deduction. Generally speaking, if you provide more than 50% the cost of her care you can claim her as a dependent. BUT - that means she probably can't file any returns herself, so it gets complicated if she has an investments and earns interest income. Based on my own experience - and knowledge of state law in WA, OR and ID, a patients need for medicaide is based on their individual financial situation not that of their children even if the child has been paying for assisted living. No liens may be placed on your property, income or assets to gain reimbursement for your mothers care or treatments. If anything is held jointly then you have a completely different situation. My mother put my name on some of her assets and property intending to gift it to me. At the time - 18 years ago - her attorney told her that in 3 years I could claim complete ownership. I did not because she was still very capable of tending to her own affairs. The law has since changed and now the state applies some calculation to determine my ownership percentage and Mom's ownership percentage. This is something we learned ONLY AFTER doing an application for medicaide. Even though I PAID an attorney to understand the current law, he was WRONG. So - it all depends on how the state views the assets, etc and the current law at that moment. You can always complete an application and see what they tell you. Good luck.

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