Will they lose their home?

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My uncle lives in my grandparents home. He has his whole life. He is the caregiver to both of them. My grandmother has Alzheimer and has been in a nursing home for almost 2 years. Recently my grandfather was admitted to a home for rehab but things arent going well and they fear he wont be able to come home. They are running out of money fast and my uncle fears if they file for medicaid the government will take their home. He lives in Nebraska. Is there anything he can do to protect the home?

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Top Answer
Medicaid recipients are allowed to own a house. The state has claims on it after they die. The house will not be taken from him when Grandfather goes on Medicaid. He will not, however, have money to pay the taxes, insurance, upkeep, etc. Is Uncle making those payments now? Is he prepared to, when Grandfather's income goes entirely for his care?

When both Grandmother and Grandfather are gone, the state can recover part of the money it has spend on them through Medicaid. However there are a lot of rules about how this will work. Since Uncle took care of his parents in that home and kept them out of a nursing home for more than two years, the house may be exempt from recovery.

Uncle should keep careful records of what he spends on maintaining the house, so at the very least his expenses will be deducted from what the state will recover.

I think that applying for Medicaid is complicated enough that it is worthwhile to consult an attorny specializing in Elder Law. That professional can help ensure that things get done correctly and in a way that will protect Uncle's legitimate interest in the house.
Yes my uncle can pay the taxes and insurance on the home. Thanks so much for your answer! This is all very confusing and intimidating.
incwhite, While Medicaid will not count the house if the equity in it is below a certain amount as far as qualifying for Medicaid is concerned, Medicaid is required by federal law to pursue recovery of the money by getting the equity they had in the house. This means selling the house. With your grandparents both away from home, your uncle is no longer their caretaker and since the house belongs to them and not him, he has no rights to the house at all. Your uncle legally has no legitimate interest in the house other than living off of his parents his whole life which is rather peculiar but Medicaid does have an interest in recovering what they have spent and they are ferocious about that.
I appreciate your answer but not your judgement of the situation. My uncle has always paid his own way and never "lived" off of his parents. Over the years he did anything and everything to help them. If you want to be helpful, stick to the issue and keep the rude comments to yourself.
jncwhite, I repeat, see an attorney specializing in Edler Law. Anonymous119762 specialized in ignorant judgmental opinions until she was banned from the site. Pay no attention to that venom.

jncwhite - the govt doesn't want the actual house......
your brother is actually in a good situation if he wants to keep the house & your parents own the house (no mortgage) and he has an income source to maintain the house & has lots of patience and humor. Most of the folks who post a similar situation (child lives with parents and parents need to go into NH on Medicaid) usually have no real income and have been able to make ends meet, so to speak, by parents SS & retirement SS. Then the elder goes into the NH and presto and no surprise there is zero $$ as all the elders funds go to pay for the NH & the child cannot afford to stay in the house as they have no income. A total panic situation but you all have it different.

Under Medicaid rules, the elder can have a home. It does not need to be sold in order to qualify for Medicaid. It is an exempt asset. Now in some situations, if they have less than 6 mos to live, the state can rule the house non-exempt but that is imho kinda rare. As others have said, you & your bro need to see an elder care attorney or even a good estate attorney. You are going to be dealing with MERP.

If there is a home & 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. MERP is required to be done by the fed's in order for the state to participate in Medicaid a joint state and federal entitlement. Each state approaches recovery differently, some very aggressive others not. So much of this depends on how your state does probate, death & estate laws. Claim VS. Lein. For example, in TX MERP is a Class 7 claim so there are 6 other classes of debtors that are paid before MERP. So it's kinda low in TX but still happens. In other states, MERP is an equal footing debt with a lein on the property. While in other states, like in MS, it is an equal footing claim but the first 75K on the house is exempt from the claim as 75K is the statewide homestead exemption. Yep, confusing as all get out, this is why you need an attorney to work with you all.

MERP has all sorts of exemptions, & usually there is a caregiver exemption. So if bro. took take of mom & dad and his presence at the home and caregiving delayed their needing to go into the NH and thereby lessen the cost to the state, then he can file an exemption based on that with MERP once both parents die. But in the meantime, the house remains in their name and with their homestead exemption. I think filing the homestead exemption is mucho importante but ask the attorney.

My mom is in a NH now for a couple of years and still has her home. Homestead exemption files and everything is still in her name. I & another family member pay for all (taxes, insurance, maintenance, utiliies, etc) as if she is about to return to the house tomorrow. I have her do an annual "I want to go home once I get better letter" as per direction of her attorney. Once she dies, we will let MERP know that we will file a claim for all our expenses on the property against her estate. Under TX MERP rules all these $$ are deducted from the MERP claim. Now her house is empty, we do whatever we need to keep it safe & not go blighted but do nothing to increase it's value per se.

I don't know how it works when the house is occupied. Look on your state's Medicaid site. Again another ? for your attorney.

Your brother needs to keep meticulous records and even reconstructing the past 2 years to show caregiving history. Gather together all documents on the house: annual tax assessor statements, insurance, utility, etc. to take to the attorney. ALso when you go, get any other legal done like DPOA, updating wills, etc. Oh and 1 thing, if your parents have life insurance policies, have them changed so that they are NOT each other beneficiary as that extra $ could become "income" and kick them off of Medicaid. The attorney will know how to get this done as simple as possible. Good luck.
jnc - meant to say uncle not brother.

Does grandpa still have a car? If so ask the attorney how to handle that as giving or gifting the car can trigger a transfer penalty when & in they apply for Medicaid. Vechicle registration is done by the state so that information is just keystrokes away from being known.

Also if your grandparents end up going on Medicaid and really don't have anything of value but the home which they own and have bought a funeral & burial plan, ask the attorney if your state can do probate on their will as a Muniment of Title. Your uncle will be the direct interest for this as he has custody of the estate property and it will be super simple (in theory) to transfer the house to his name via the muniment. This is what we are planning to do with my mom's house as there should be real need for administration of the estate and there should be no debt to deal with in probate as she is on Medicaid & Medicare- so no medical debt; the house is owned outright with no debt other than our claims for expenses; she has a 100% of expenses paid funeral & burial policies- so no debt there. I've been executrix twice before and really if I never have to do that again it will be great.
Thank you so very much igloo572. My uncle is working with a lawyer, but I dont think he specializes in elder care. You have been very helpful. I will pass the information along. Thank you! :)

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