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Also I bet that Sissy is confusing the IRS gifting rules with Medicaid rules. A 10K gift probably has no tax / IRS consequences. But a 10K gift will have a gifting transfer penalty for NH Medicaid.
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If mom has over 2K in assets, she just will not qualify for Medicaid (I'm assuming MediCal is California's Medicaid program). So you really should assume that mom will have to do a totally do spend-down to get to the 2K assets allowed under Medicaid. There will be no $ to be gifted or used by others allowed under Medicaid's rules. She is already in a facility, too, correct? If so you all really are probably beyond the point of being able to do very much with her $ except to do a spend-down for her care. Maybe do a prepaid funeral & burial but your options are limited once they are in a NH.

Every state administers or manages their Medicaid program uniquely under an overall Federal guideline. For my mom's application for TX Medicaid, I had to provide for 3 years and 6 months of all her financials. She was in IL at the time and still owned her home, so the pattern of spending as to where her savings (assets) and her monthly income (SS & retirement) went was pretty apparent to get her to the point of being "impoverished" as per TX Medicaid standards. TX Medicaid also did a 5 year look-back on all real property owned by mom too (this is all in state records so just a few keystrokes by caseworker to find decade + of ownership history). It's safe to assume MediCal will do the same for your mom's application.

If you do as Sissy wants and say transfer 3 - 10K gifts from mom's accounts, then mom will face a 30K "transfer penalty" under Medicaid. TP for $ are very very difficult to get around as the facts are just flat there in the banking records and will be found out. TP are done on a state specific formula based on your state's daily room & board reimbursement rate and benchmarked to # of days. For example, for TX the r&b is about $ 145.00 a day, so a 30K TP means 207 days in which mom will - although now impoverished & qualified for Medicaid - will be ineligible for Medicaid to pay for her stay @ the NH. 207 days of private pay at the NH will be needed BEFORE medicaid will pay a penny. That a is going to be a very long almost 7 months for you (as you are the DPOA) to be paying for the NH. The NH will get the TP letter too, so they will fully expect someone in the family to arrange for payment for mom's stay for the full TP period too. There is probably something in mom's admissions contract regarding this situation. So can & will Sissy do this? Can you & whomever else gets the 10K also do this?

As others have said, you need to review all this with experienced elder lawyer to understand the regulations and what your as DPOA responsibilities are and what options may be out there for mom's $.
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There's a 5-year look-back when someone applies for Medicaid. You will be asked to list all of her accounts and provide statements for that period of time. If there are closed accounts, they will track where the money went. If your mom owns (owned) real estate during that time period, Medicaid will make sure it was used appropriately, meaning, if she didn't live there, that she didn't let family live there for nothing. And, if she sold it during that period of time, that she sold it at full market value.

I was told by the nursing home's Medicaid Coordinator that any check written for $500 or more was suspect; it being family responsibility to prove that it was used for mom's care. Not Medicaid's responsibility to prove that it WASN'T.

At the end of the day, Medicaid will either accept someone onto the program from Day One, or will exclude X-number of months of nursing home payment to recuperate all monies they believe were gifted or used for something other than mom's care during that five-year period.

^^^That's #1.

#2 is that you, as her Power of Attorney, have a LEGAL OBLIGATION to use her funds in her best interest; not to gift it away to family. To even THINK about doing this shows you don't have a clear understanding of your duties and responsibilities as her Power of Attorney.

Use some of your mom's money to consult an elder law attorney. (That's a perfectly fine use of her money.) You need an education in your rights, duties and responsibilities as well as a discussion with an expert on what you just MIGHT be able to do to conserve mom's assets. (Probably not much)
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Well, your question left out a lot of details, like where is this money coming from, and are you expecting MediCal to pay for the nursing home. I'm assuming this somehow is mom's money. Mom can give financial gifts of $10k or more and there's no IRS tax issue. But if you then expect the taxpayers to cover her nursing home costs through MediCal while the family enjoys that money....WRONG. Mom will be penalized by MediCal if she's even eligible at all. Do not listen to your sister. Get out mom's checkbook and start writing checks to the NURSING HOME. And get an elder care attorney, as was said above yesterday.
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Stressed, I just glanced at your profile - it says you have medical and financial POA, is that still correct? If so, the calculations and decisions are up to you: I don't see where your sister's opinion comes into it.

I'm not even in the right country so I can't comment on Medi-Cal regulations as regards cash gifts to family members, but I'll bet Medi-Cal's own administrators can. Get hold of the rules, read them carefully, comply. Don't try to be clever.
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You need to talk to an elder care attorney...yesterday!
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