I have 5 siblings and my brother wants my parents to sign their house over to one of us. He said it was because Medicare may try to take their house, but why would he make such a suggestion?


One of my brothers wants my parents to sign their house over to someone else in the family (6 of us kids). My Dad told me my brother's reasoning was that Medicare may try to take their house???? My parents don't have tons of money but they are not hurting either. They both have Medicare and a VERY VERY good supplemental plan that covers almost 100% of what Medicare doesn't pay. They both have a Part D plan so they don't pay much for prescriptions. I check their insurance plans every year at open enrollment and everything is always OK. Does anyone know why in the world my brother would make such a suggestion? I truly don't think he is trying to be dishonest and he didn't say he wanted the house signed over to him, just "someone" else in the family. My parents would lose a major asset. Any ideas?

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Jammer - omg your ? Is attached to a thread from 2012......well it is interesting to reread my posts from almost 4 years ago. For your ?, I'd suggest you need to look at your states MERP medicaid site to see if you qualify for any of many exemptions or exclusions to estate recovery and then start to get whatever documentation that is required to get those exemptions or exclusions done. If the at home child provided caregiving for a period of time that kept parent out of a NH there is an exemption for this. But you have to provide the documentation to the state that caregiving was needed and provided. Whether this is easy totally depends on your situation. If you had a full time job at the same time, probably not gonna work. For the exemption in some states, you have to provide a on letterhead a statement from the elders MD or social worker with thier state license # that they attest to care needed and provided by you...if its been years since they were at home and they have been in a NH for a while, their old doc or SW may not do such a document for you. If the heir is low income or disabled those are exemptions but each heir would need to get an exemption for otherwise those heirs share is subject to recovery. None of this is simple.

But the biggest obstacle with parents home seems to be that the caregiver or family cannot afford to pay on all the costs on the home for possibly years & years that the elder is in a N.h and then through the probate & estate recovery process & cannot deal with the risk that the property may not be inherited. The elder has no $ to pay on any property costs once in a NH on Medicaid. So family will need to pay all costs. The property could be rented as an possible option as well.
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if a child was living with parent for several years before they went into a nursing home can they still take it
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Syl -If there is a homestead primary residence that was a non-countable asset at the time of the Medicaid application & they get Medicaid to pay for NH then there will be MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery Program - to deal with after death related to the home. Each state approaches MERP differently, some very aggressive & others not. So much of this depends on how the state does death (estate laws) & probate.Probate is usually how states enforce MERP lien or claim. Whether your state does the lien approach or a claim approach and your state's laws can make a huge difference in what happens with the house.

For example, my mom is in Texas and on Medicaid. There is no lien or claim on her empty home as such right now. She signs a "desire to return" letter and files a homestead exemption. However upon death, MERP can file a claim against her estate. In Texas, MERP is a Class 7 claim - which means there are 6 other classes ahead of the state's MERP claim. Because of that MERP in Texas is lower than in other states but it still could happen.

Now as I and another family member have been paying for costs associated with the house, both of us will let MERP know that we too will have our own claim against the estate for those costs. Now if there are other exemptions to MERP, like a disabled child who would inherit or someone living at the home who is low income, or whom provided care, then those people also need to let MERP know.
MERP needs to know all this, and quickly, to determine whether to file a claim.

Say Mom was in NH 4 years & her house has sat empty. All mom's $ has gone to the NH to pay for her stay. Someone needs to pay the whatever's on home.
You have paid tax, insurance, repairs for 4 yrs @ 8K=32K.
paid 4 yrs for NH, medications, therapists=70K
House value is 90K which could net a max of 81K.

You let MERP know you will file a claim for 32K. The most MERP could get is 49K (81 – 32) but only if you did a sale quickly (fat chance) before maintenance, taxes, etc continue. MERP declines to do a claim as not cost effective. You get a MERP certification & property release form, transfer or sell house as per the will 100% and finish out probate within the set time.

Or MERP could hard ball it and want 49K as MERP knows that there is an insurance policy that family got, property is in a high demand neighborhood (LOL) or that family seems to be interested in keeping the house.

Imho MERP wasn’t well thought out. If family is living in the house then they likely will need to work something out with MERP to get legal ownership. On empty houses it's a whole different situation. States aren't set up to deal with these properties. What are states going to do with a ton of empty homes with old people stuff in them that likely has a decade ++ of delayed maintenance? This on top of foreclosure homes – which usually are newer and more sellable properties. If I was a Realtor in a neighborhood with a lot of elderly and foreclosure homes I'd just quit. MERP came about 2000-2003 when housing was all a go-go. Totally different real estate conditions now.I'll eventually find out & will post my experience on this site. Should be interesting at the very least.
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Medicaid rules determined by each state & are state specific even though it is a federal & state program. Medicaid is needs-based and you are expected to spend your assets first and foremost before the state will pay. There are things you can do to reduce assets but these need to be done by someone qualified to do this that will pass your state's review. An certified elder law attorney is best.

For NH Medicaid eligibility, an individual must show that:
1) are 65+,
2) medical condition requires that level of nursing care,
3) monthly income at or below their states max (about 2K),
This is the “income test”– how much $ do you make. Texas is $2,094.
4) all countable assets are at or below 2K
This is the “asset test” – how much $ do you own.
5) not gifted away anything of value during 5yr look-back period.

If you do, there could be a “transfer penalty” when items are gifted. Penalty different for each state as it’s based on each state’s NH reimbursement rate. For example in Texas, it is $ 142.92 a day rate transfer penalty.

About the "state forced to pay", what I have seen is that if the state is put into this situation the state can make the person a ward of the state. That means that all family is completely cut out of any decision making for their parents. This is pretty ugly state of affairs and a total clusterf* to get through. I was executrix for 2 "aunts" estates and co-exe for my dad and all the ward of the state hearings are in probate court too, so I saw just so many unnecessarily sad stories with ward of the state situations, like a dad transferred to a NH out in the middle of nowhere because this NH had lots of openings & paid for the transportation costs.

Medicaid look-back is 5 yrs. Most states require 3 – 6 mo. of financials with initial Medicaid application. Can require more financials if something pique’s interest. Medicaid review does not have to tell you if they request something from the bank, IRS or county assessors office either.You sign off on that right by applying. Don't try to get cute and hide stuff. All data is just keystrokes away.

195Austin is spot-on about the "free meal" bad advice too.
Paying for the attorney should be from their assets. If you pay and benefit, then other family could file to find it a coerced document later on. Again, ugly.
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It is not what is right or wrong it is the law Judy see an Elder lawyer in your town-do not go to a seminar where they give you a free meal-go to an independent Elder Lawyer for advice I would think that your parents could pay for this because you are protecting them-he or she will give you the right advice-the state will never be forced to pay if there are any options available to them.
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My brother looked into this same thing regarding my parents' house. He was afraid that they'd lose it to the state if they needed to be put into a nursing home. Arizona has a 5 yr look back, so transferring it to one of us won't help if they need a NH in the next 5 yrs. Although... my parents can transfer their house to a disabled child of theirs and the 5 yr look back doesn't apply. One of my bro's is a quadriplegic, so that'd work, but my dad (nuttier than a fruitcake some days) won't even talk about it. Eh. Whatever. I'm just disgusted and throwing my hands up in the air lately. My brother says that its like letting the court jester rule the court to let Dad put up a roadblock. But, if we transfer the house to my brother, and then my parents need to be put into a nursing home, doesn't this force the state to pay for their care?.... and isn't this sort of wrong? Am I way off? I just don't understand it all.
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a family member had to sell the house they purchase for my parent's years ago.
I purchase the house for them so they would not have to move. I put the house in my mother and father name. (My mother is in a nursing home and my father health is starting to change he is 86 yrs old. I want to put the house in my name now. someone mention medicad can still put a lien on the house or doing the look back period can say they own the house. i have all the bank statement and money trail to show that the money came from my account. They can live there long has they want. Should i be concern about Medicad?
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Susan: it's not medicare or medicaide that will take your parents home - it is the state in which they reside. Medicaide is the health coverage of last resort for elders who've exhausted all of their assets. Each state is different so look back periods, assets retained by a spouse, spend down amounts for example, may be different. Generally, medicaide programs are handled by each state's department of health & welfare; there are usually great web sites that spell out all the details. What ever you do - DO NOT fall for any ads or attorneys that claim to guarantee medicaide coverage; they are theives and will take as much money as they can get. Talking with an elder care attorney is a good idea but the area agency on aging in the county where your parents live is also a good - AND FREE - resource. Best of luck to you and your parents.
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Susan, you sound like such a sweet lady. My dad is on Medicaid because he didn't have the assets to pay for a nursing home, and Medicare didn't cover it, nor did their insurance through mom's pension. Medicaid makes them do a spend down, to qualify. This means, they pay for their care until they spend down to what Medicaid allows them to keep. Dad could only keep $2,000. The house was exempt with mom in it, and as a community spouse, she can keep up to $20,000 in assets. Weird how that works. But they could NOT transfer the house to their daughters, because of the 5 year look back period. I agree you need info, but you can get it right from Medicaid, and not have to pay an attorney. Actually there are free legal services available to seniors. Have them try there.
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Thanks Austin.

If I am not being too nosy, why did you need to apply for Medicaid (I'm just asking b/c I don't understand). They have Medicare and a supplement to cover what Medicare won't pay. So I don't see how their healthcare would not be covered.

I am so sorry for the passing of your husband, I pray you are doing OK.
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