develop Asked April 2012

My husband has to go to a nursing home. If he goes on Medicaid will he take my money?

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My husband is to go in a nursing home we have 10,000 in saveing but I also have my own money in a account under my name. If he has to go on Medicaid will they take my money?

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EXPERT Carol Bradley Bursack Apr 2012
I believe that since you are married, your money will also be counted as assets. You could see an estate attorney to see if you have anything special that makes your case different, however.
Take care,
Carol
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igloo572 Apr 2012
Your probably best served spending some of "your" $$ with an elder care or estate attorney to give you the definite on how your state views individual V community property and when assets are co-mingled and viewed by your state's Medicaid.

So say you have 100K in investments in your name and SS# and you wholly owned it before you ever married - yes that is separate property - but the interest $ is put into a joint account. So you are co-mingling the $ and it could be viewed as a joint asset. You need good legal done to get it clearly separated. Another thing to think about - if your spouse is going on Medicaid - is what should happen if you die before him. If he inherits, then he will be off Medicaid and who is going to be his advocate or manage his affairs? This is a super sad situation and you can use "your" $ to set something up, like a special needs trust, for him if you die.

Spend "your" $$ on an attorney, really.
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igloo572 Apr 2012
No hiding money, you will get hit with a "transfer penalty".

Transfer penalty could come months later after they are on the Medicaid program and they have been living at the nursing home. The NH will get a letter from the state indicating that they have found the resident has a penalty of X # of days. You or whomever is the responsible party will get the letter too. Penalty is based on what each state benchmarks as it's room & board day rate. For Texas the penalty is $ 142.92 per day. So if you transferred something worth 30K - like a car or savings - then that is 209 days that someone have to private pay to the NH asap or you will get the dreaded 30 day eviction notice from them and face a collection action. This is a total panic situation to be in. You don't want this to happen.

When you apply for Medicaid, you sign off to allow for any and all financial access for Medicaid to review, plus you have to provide all insurance, retirement information with the application. Medicaid is a needs based entitlement program that is tax payer supported, you have to have very, very limited resources in order to qualify. If everybody went and took all of their parents or spouse's $ and transferred the house on Monday and could apply for Medicaid on Tuesday, the system would collapse. You have 5 years to plan this out.

Your financial info is just a couple of keystrokes away, there really isn't a way to hide income and assets.
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desert192 Apr 2012
Agree with above. Get an elder care/estate attorney. In California you keep house, car, and $103,000 (I believe this was 2010 limit). If you have mortgage, pay it off along with equity line of credit, credit cards, and any other joint debt.
Also, I think even though you keep house, if it is sold, Medicaid can "recover" their costs for NH from your husband's half of sale price.
Make sure you get an attorney who specializes in estate planning and elder care.
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KariSue Apr 2012
When you are married, it doesn't matter whether your money is in an account with only your name on it (at least it didn't matter for me). I received an inheritance from my mom when she died in 2005. This money was set up in an account with only my name on it and my daughters as beneficiaries. When my husband went into a nursing home, they counted my inheritance as joint property and since he was already in the nursing home, I had to write $5,000 checks for private-pay every month until the money ran out. It was a nightmare. After that, I had to bring him home (I also have a retirement account and all this together made us ineligible for Medicaid). My husband is now in another nursing home and after a 6-mo approval process, he was just approved for Medicaid effective 10/1/2011. After reading all the comments, I sure wish I had sought the advise of an elder law attorney.
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diavalon12 Apr 2012
It really depends on what stat you live in. In California, we are a community property state where as if you are married an unless you have a pre nupital agreement then all the monies count whether his name is on the acct or not. However, there is such a program called spousial improvishment ( I may not have spelled it correctly) but is a program for Medical that will allow the spouse to keep most of the monies (income) without paying it to the NH. The resourse limits are quite high such as $113,000. and your home and car is exempt. If he is going to a NH you should contact your local Department of Social Services an asked to speak with someone about appling for long term care. I worked for SS for about 18 yrs. I do know that the rules change a little from state to state.
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sodapopp12 Apr 2012
Why is he going into a nursing home? I would take the money out, keep it hidden. If you can, then wait the 3 years before he goes. They will make you spend it.
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No no no hiding money! When it is uncovered, you'll have to pay big in Medicaid penalties. Do as the others suggested. Hire an Elder Care attorney now!! The Medicaid process takes a long time since the system is so backed up. I am doing this now for my father and my mother is the community spouse. If you have a home, you can keep it. If you have a car, you can keep it. Prepay yours and his funeral expenses. They will look at every account you have and very transaction over $1,000, within a five year look-back periods. There's no hiding money. There are calculations that will allow to keep a certain portion of your current income to live on. An attorney can tell you all this -- not some man... Good Luck!

-SS
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diavalon12 Apr 2012
There are some really good companies out there that deal wilth estate planning. Maybe contact one of them would be a good choice for you. But really, Medical does look back 5 years and they get information from IRS, the State and so forth,
so hidding money is not a good idea.
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igloo572 Apr 2012
desert - your have brought up a really good and overlooked point about the "house" issues with couples when 1 goes into NH and the other does not.

For many couples, the remaining at the home seems fine & dandy for a few years - especially if the at home spouse is younger & healthier than their mate. Let's say, Tiffany, is a 2nd wife and 20+ years younger. But if say 5 years later, Tiffany finds the house just too big or too much to deal with and Tiff sells the house and moves into a condo that is less money then she probably is going to have to pay part of the proceeds from the sale to the state's Medicaid program. If might be best to look at downsizing their whole lifestyle and paying off whatever debt before the entry into the NH so they are minimizing their exposure to Medicaid Estate Recovery. I bet there are quite a few Tiffany's in this situation too.
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