If my dad transfers all of his assets to his children and step-children, can the nursing home ask us for repayment?

Asked by
Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Expert Answer
415 helpful answers
If your dad transfers large sums of money and has nothing to pay the nursing home, and applies for Medicaid within 60 months of such transfer, Medicaid will disqualify him for a long time (depending on what state you live in and how much was transferred). During the penalty period the nursing home will want to be paid privately; if your father cannot pay, he will not be admitted. Unlike hospital emergency rooms, nursing homes are not required to take in indigent patients (that's what Medicaid is supposed to be for, the payment to the nursing homes for indigent patients). As a result, your father will be refused admittance to any nursing home; they are not in the business of charity.
This situation has the potential for a major F-up if I ever saw one! Well - read one. Anyhoo-

This has to be an all or no one decision for everyone involved or you're gonna have - well, a major F-up. Sorry! Let's say some took dads gift and some didn't. Dad needs NH care but he doesn't have much money to last and Medicaid says "so sorry - try again in 15 months". What the heck are you suspose to do with dad?

Ask the siblings who took the money to pay it back? Yeah, right. Ask the siblings who took the money to care for dad in their home? Good luck with that. OR are the same sensible siblings who did NOT take the money gonna be stuck ponying up the money to keep dad in the NH? Maybe. Or are these same sensible sibling gonna figure out how they are going to split the duty of caring for dad in their home? I'd bet on that one. All the while, the siblings who took the money are no shows for respite care, visits with dad or even a phone call. Cause I'm pretty sure that's how they'll be cause if they really cared about dad, they wouldn't have taken the money in the first place.

Do more than opting out. Figure out a way to end this nonsense. Otherwise you can count on being sucked into the drama and heartache that sure to occur if dad follows through on handing out inheritances while he's still ticking. Know how I know? Cause you cared enough to come here and ask this question in the first place.
I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure they couldn't come after you personally as being jointly and severally liable for the whole sum of the penalty and/or fees; though maybe - certainly morally - for the money gifted to you. Which would give you two obvious layman's options:

1. Take and bank your share, and don't touch it, and be ready to give it back if it's called on.
2. Corral your seven - Lord! - siblings into a room and don't let them out until they've agreed to join you in prevailing on your father not to be a fat-head. He should keep his money in case he needs it during his lifetime; and deal with the equal division of any remaining estate in his will.

Or... does he have any long term care insurance? Any dedicated funds for his own care?
This is my suggestion. Do the transfers and then make a plan for all 8 to collectively be responsible to take care of Dad. Period

Plan it out so that each of the 8 know exactly which months of each year they will have Dad living with them..and they will provide the care that Dad needs.

Make a contract...all sign.

Then..proceed to do with the assets your Dad needs for his care as you wish...since you all will provide that care at no cost to him when he needs it.

Now..Medicaid is not in the picture...nor a nursing home. No more worry about taking those assets that Dad will need....you will make sure he doesn't need them. Problem solved.
I agree that he needs to keep his money, for his own health care. My mother lived to be 96. Her health care was expensive, but that is what her money was for.
Sounds like a good plan to me, katiekate, if everyone could work together like that. But it might be like herding cats.
As I understand it, if your father divests himself of all his assets and then applies for Medicaid to pay his NH fees, then Medicaid will decline his claim for a penalty period calculated according to how much your father has given away. So your father, or his family, will have to meet the full cost for that period. Some states do have filial responsibility laws which could make his family liable if they try to evade payments which they could easily meet by, for example, using the assets given them by their father.

If your father is thinking of transferring his assets and defaulting on his contract with the NH...

I'm sorry: could you explain exactly what the plan is, here? Seriously, is your father (or his family) looking for a simple way out of paying for his care, which is what you've made it sound a lot like?
So looking at your post on the other thread, your father wants all children and step children to inherit equal shares in his estate; but he would like to advance one or more children part or all of their respective legacies now, and thinks the fairest way to do that is to divvy up his assets among all his heirs? Does it really have to be the whole lot?

Perhaps he'd do best to consult an estate planning specialist (lawyer or accountant). I'm sure there will be a way to do this that keeps the risks to a minimum, with provisos in case of.. oh, who knows, fire, flood, global banking collapse, whatever; but his current idea seems a bit gung-ho.
Why do I feel like everyone is so defensive on this site, I am just asking a question, not trying to cheat the system.
The answer is fairly simple. If your father could not qualify for Medicaid because he had transferred all his assets to the children, then he would not be able to afford to go into a NH. He would have no money left and Medicaid wouldn't cover him for a while. Unless the children paid out of pocket, other arrangements would have to be made for his care. Is he concerned that dividing assets among the children could not be done with a will? If he wants to give a couple their share of the estate now, then he can leave them out of the will. The bad thing about that is that he could incur a penalty if he needs Medicaid, and if he does have to go into the NH, then there could be little left to leave the others at the end.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support