Are minor home improvements like new carpet and interior painting subject to Medicaid look back?


Our dad signed the house over to us kids 12 years ago with a right to life tenant. He is now living in assisted care and we are trying to get the house ready for sale. We will maybe spend 10k on carpet and painting and cleaning the property up. Is this subject to Medicaid look back?

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If you haven’t already done this, please Please try to definitely determine just what the ownership status is on the house. 
If the “Life Tenant” is such that dad is the 100% owner of the home & heirs ownership occurs only after his death, then the proceeds of the sale are his totally as he’s alive. But if it’s really more a traditional Life Estate, you need to look at the Remainder Interest table to see where dad & you all stand for both IRS & medicaid. IRS has tables. You might need a tax atty or CPA to sign off on the determination.

Regarding the 10k, if it’s dads $ being used to make property more “market ready”, it’s ok as it’s his spending his $ on an asset he owns. After all if 10k means property can sell for 45k more, it is worth it as that 45k will be more spend down funds to use longer & putting Medicaid application out further.

But if dad is without $ much less 10k and your fronting the 10k, you probably want to be totally ok to consider it a gift TO dad if need be. If you are wanting or needing to get reimbursed for things you pay for - like 10k for carpeting etc. to get house “market ready” - any $ paid from dad to you looks like gifting by Medicaid. Medicaid in my experience tends to look at whatever kids do or pay for as done for free and out of a sense of familial duty unless these exists some sort of done in advance paperwork for the parents spending. Like a Personal Care Contract or a Memo of Understanding between dad & you. Medicaid might just might say it’s fine but I’d guess what likely will happen is an transfer penalty inquiry which will stall his Medicaid application. 

Remember as he’ll have $$ from house sale, it could mean months or a year or so of private pay in the NH till he actually impoverished & applies for Medicaid. You imo really need to keep tabs on all receipts, agreement, etc if your fronting costs to support your position of a legit reimbursement. If it’s actually an LE with Remainder Interest then costs should be shared as to % Interest by all parties. 
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to igloo572

Who is paying for the improvements and who is getting the proceeds from the sale?
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Reply to CarlaCB

Are you selling the house to pay for dad's care?
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Reply to gladimhere