We need help! Dad is in a Nursing Home on Medicaid. Mom is in subsidized housing, but they still own a home. Need questions answered...


As Conservator, I have been asked to prepare a final accounting for one parent. Mom requested an appraisal on her many antiques and assets. Through this, we discovered they are worth much more than we heretofore realized. Her lawyer and Guardian don't want me to list them on the revised inventory, stating it will hurt dad's Medicaid elegibility. My sister covets inheriting all the antiques that mother want's "left in the family," (meaning giving them all to my sister who's already taken many, and wants everything). Mom has wages a Distortion Campaign against me, trying to discredit me, etc. It's an ugly mess.

My question is this: I think I need to disclose every asset (meaning the appraised value of their estate), regardless of how it affects dad's current Medicaid status. Otherwise, wouldn't that be considered "hiding assets," and committing fraud? I want to do what's right, even if it has personal costs, including the wrath of my family. (Nothing new there.) Unfortunately, everything is already in Probate, with me as dad's guardian and conservator. We need sound financial advice, or legal directives (Definitely not judgment by those who might not understand the whole situation.) Thank you.

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Thank you, sir, that was a lot of help. You both clarified some things for us, and confirmed our intentions. It is a so helpful to read your posts to others, as well. Thank you for sharing your expertise with your fellow Caregivers!

Yes much clearer. Wow what a dilemma! I wish there was a simple answer for this situation. It is interesting to me that an attorney would suggest that you essentially break the law and subject yourself to criminal prosecution (maybe I shouldn't be so surprised??).

The problem, of course, was having the appraisal done; not of your doing and much water under the bridge, I know...

Here's an option that might work: When it comes to Medicaid eligibility there are "countable assets", "non-countable assets", "exempt assets", and "unavailable assets".

By declaring assets "unavailable" you could disclose the amount and not have it counted against mom's eligibility. What would make them "unavailable"? Perhaps they are not locatable, are otherwise assigned or committed, or are not liquid. Since you already have an attorney retained, I would run this idea by him or her.

Also, there is a difference between "appraised value" and "liquidation value". If worse comes to worse, or even as a starting point, you may want to ask the appraiser if he/she can come up with another number. I would advise the appraiser of the result you are seeking beforehand.

Lastly, if your sister wants these items so badly and it is of no consequence to you, she could offer to purchase the items that exceed the asset cap for fair market value. Any funds received would have to go for mom's care, or you could use the money to pay off a mortgage or other debt. The money must be spent in the month it is received or it will be considered an asset and you are back where you started...

That's the best I can do for now...if I think of something else I will let you know.

We are concerned about the house, for which dad has a vested 1/2 interest. Or does he? It's still in his name joint with mom's, and has some equity. Does he own half the antiques or not? Does he own half the house or not? If something happened to mom, he'd own everything, right? Or did he lose all to Medicaid? Just don't understand this whole thing... What do we need to do?

I was my mom and dad's guardian and conservator. He went to a nursing home, and we applied for Medicaid. I was told to spend down assets. Actually, I paid off a LOT of just debts they accrued. All except for about $11,000.00 on a mortgage on their home. She moved to subsidized housing near dad and me, because the house was too big, and too hard to maintain and too expensive, and was 200 miles away from dad and me. Now she has a new guardian and conservator, but I am still my dad's. Both still living, so perhaps I caused the confusion by talking about Probate. With the transition of a new conservator, I must fill out a final account as previous conservator.

The initial inventory did not include their antiques, jewelry, furs, etc. I didn't think they were that valuable, until mom requested an appraisal. Their value exceeds Medicaid's limit for mom, which is $20,000.00 in allowable assets, so I'm being asked NOT to declare them on my final inventory for mom.

Another problem: a joint annuity was giving mom 1/2 to maintain their expensive home. Now Medicaid took away mom's 1/2 and has given the whole joint annuity amount to dad's nursing home. That doesn't seem right, because they still own the expensive house and mom has rent on a subsidized apartment.

I did the best I could, but didn't have any help when applying for Medicaid or with the spend down. I am very confused by this whole process, and didn't trust what an Elder Law attorney recommended. They wanted a huge amount of money up front, and it seemed like they were trying to somehow hide assets, so we didn't follow through with them, and just put dad's liquidated money towards their jointly accrued debts. I felt good about that, but don't know what to do now. Neither has much cash left, and I'm not sure what to do on this inventory. I don't trust the attorneys who say don't add the appraised antiques, etc. to the inventory list. That seems dishonest.

Did that clear things up? This seems so complicated to me, too.


I am totally confused. I'm trying to understand whose estate is being probated (is probate the correct term?). If dad is in a nursing home, and mom is in subsidized housing, who died that would effect there benefit eligibility? Could you please clarify who is where and who is married to whom and who is receiving what benefit and who is the conservator and/or guardian or lawyer for whom?

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