I'm sure this has been asked/answered here, but I was focused on other things. My mom is burning through her savings with 24/7 home care since my dad died last September. (She had a stroke 10 years ago and is in a wheelchair, declining mentally. She's 85). At this rate, we estimate she has a year of savings left. What should my next steps be? I have POA, she owns her own home. The attorney we've been working with (theirs; had to use her to fight for access to my dad's safety deposit box) is about worthless. We're in a very rural area with no elder care attorneys. Do I need one? I'm doing this from 3 hours away. I work 6/7 days a week and travel to my mom's most Sundays. I need to be as efficient with my time as possible. I'm already at the end of my mental rope fighting to gain her access to her investments.

i would say regardless where you are located, there is going to be some kind of attorney/lawyer that can help with getting things straightened up for your elder. it is wise so that you are not taken advantage of. she could get on medicaid but in the end whatever she owes will be taken out of the estate when she passes to pay for those medicaid bills. But really try to find a good attorney as close to where you or your mother is and get things started NOW. wishing you luck.
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Reply to wolflover451

I have to agree with other posters. Based on your location you need some help with planning for Mom. Try to find an Eldercare Attorney who is well grounded in the Medicad process for your /Mom's state and who will do tele meetings with you so you can use your time efficiently. You can check the association of eldercare attorneys website to find one -

If Mom has about 1 year of resources left you want to get a facility lined up for her that will accept Medicaid when she runs out of private funds (most AL's in NJ have very limited Medicaid beds). You will have a pick selection if she can go into one while she is a private pay. Try to get her on a list for facilities that have AL MC and LTC on the same campus to ease the strain of moving if her needs should become greater in the future.

Medicaid is administered slightly differently in each state but most will take a 5 yr look over the shoulder to make sure funds have not been "gifted" in order to qualify for Medicaid. Gather as much of the paperwork they will require before hand. This will generally include birth, marriage, death certificates, divorce decrees, title/ deed to the house, titles or bill of sale of any cars she has owned in the past five years, minimum of 3 years (5 is better) real estate tax bills, bank statements, utility bills .... you get the idea.

Sounds like she may need more care than can be provided at home but if you are hoping for home care again the eldercare attorney can tell you the resources that may be available in your area. You can also contact your state Office on Aging for resources.

Wishing you good luck on your journey. Please keep us updated.
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Reply to geddyupgo

Find an lawyer that specializes in elder law in her county. Make sure it is somebody that can do tele-appointments to make your time efficient. Plan to scan documents that might be needed by the lawyer. Use your days off to secure anything in her home that the lawyer will need regarding her finances.
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Reply to Taarna

PatsyN: Imho, my own late mother was on poverty wage of a little over $1,200.00 per month income, but she was very thrifty and managed to have a savings account. You may have to retain an elder law attorney, albeit even if there are none locally to you.
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Reply to Llamalover47

My situation was similar but as you see every timeframe is different as to the demise of the case was when my brother caretaker was literally
one week later that my Dad who was at home at 97 being cared for by my brother who passed at 69 yrs old, sick ,meaning he had to admitted due to wandering and falling in the house with some pneumonia, a UTI who knows but went to rehab to a NH during which time i decided that I could not take care of after the 60 days for medicare or whatever it was as I did not expect any of this...I had already gotten Dad Aid and Attendance which paid 900 dollars to his 800 social..for the past three years but he qualified five years earlier and we just did what any good kids do was keep him when he went in to the NH he stayed after I filed the Medicaid papers..........Now we never had gone to an elder attorney...never planned..we did not have any money in the bank other than his funeral expenses, 10,000...this I believe is what most people who are working class would just giving you a picture of most peoples situation..Dad did have a will and my brother and I owned the the way my brothers Funeral was 17,000 dollars...this for a wake,excellent Funeral home,plot and burial...................I fortunatly had money for this as well as his IRA where I borrowed thirty thousand to well as any bill for Dad at his nursing home which sent me a 3500 bill out of nowhere,including the hospital for brothers brain operation where I paid the 4500 by the way i did this and did not have to pay the hospital at all for my brothers you just dont know how this will play out....looks like the inclination of working class people is to avoid lawyers here you really did not know when the fallout would come but it did and I was in charge..had my Dad lived, he died four mos later...I think i would have brought him home..and had hospice here...but you just dont know certain things and the death of my brother had me in a griefstate..i suspect my Dad also but he had some dementia...thks to my brother who took very consientous care..perhaps to the detriment of his life...Dad did occasionally ask for his son I simply chose to fib and say he was on a vacation to Italy...he accepted this in his semi conscious state I believe I made a conscious decision to simply not upset the limited understanding that my Dad had.
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Reply to ckrestaurant1

Mom was in a similar situation. She moved to AL with minimal savings. We sold her house and auctioned the contents and banked all the money to pay for her care. I was her POA and managed all the money and accounts. She was running low on funds and I was in the process of applying for Medicaid when she died.

Make multiple copies of the POA to provide when required. Some financial institutions may required written, verbal, or in person consent from the account holder before that will allow access.

How long has your mom lived in her AL? While ALs are not required to accept Medicaid, in Ohio most will accept a Medicaid Waiver if the person has been a resident for at least 2 years. Talk to the director of her facility, they have lots of experience in this. To to their advantage to keep her as a client.

Get an appointment with a Medicaid case worker NOW to find out what information is needed. It’s better to have too much info then submit the paperwork and find out you missed something. You will probably need to sell the house, why should Medicaid pay fees when your Mom owns a valuable property? It can take weeks, if not months, to get approved.

Was your Mom or Dad in the military in a time of war? Check into Aid and Attendance VA benefits. We found out that Mom was eligible for $1200 a month due to dad's service in WWII. Korea and Viet Nam count too. They require stacks of confusing documentation but was worth it.

Have you considered a reverse mortgage on the property? It might be easier to just sell the house. If you expect to need Medicaid then don’t try to preserve the house for an inheritance.

If you don’t want to sell then you are going to need work with a lawyer to figure out how to transfer or sell the property to the heir(s). Then you will have to figure out how to cover her costs for the 5 year look back period before she qualifies for Medicaid.
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Reply to Frances73

Sorry for your situation. I agree with SVKING's comments but want to add to it.
I am going through it with my mom now. I had the experience of my cousins and brother-in-law to help me. I was 4 hours away and if a different state and going there every other weekend. Mom was living alone. She went into hospital and then into rehab. I found a place 20 minutes from my house AL,MC and NH all in one. That way as she needed more help it was all there. The was a huge stress relief. It was recommendation from a lawyer and help of my cousin. I tried the care advisor but they did not give me names near me that fulfilled the requirements. They do not represent all places I found out. This place would take Medicaid when she needed. We are in private pay now in AL/MC. Sold house which will give her another 2 years of care in MC. Get the list of items needed for Medicaid and start gathering them. Also I'm consolidating accounts. Keep good records. If dad was a veteran there may be some benefits. Wish you luck.
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Reply to Caregiver1955

You have her POA and can gain access to her investment information any time you want. She's wheelchair bound and declining mentally so now is when your POA takes over. Many elders are very secretive and don't want their family even their POA's to know what they actually have and where it is. They believe this is the way to keep in control and stay out of a nursing home. Legally it makes no difference in your case because you are the one in charge of your mother and her property now. It only makes your job harder. Not impossible though.
What is the care arrangement in her home? Does she have one caregiver who lives with her and takes care of her, or is there several? If she's paying hourly for round-the-clock caregivers that's a fortune. A live-in or two (they split the week) would be the way to go in her case.
What's going to happen is her money and assets are going to be depleted paying for her care one way or the other. Either it will be paying for aide care to keep her home, or it will be to a care facility. So if she's happy being in her own home with her aides, why not just let that continue until she's out of money?
When that happens she will have to go to a care facility and they will do her Medicaid application. Her house or houses (if there's more than one) will have to be listed for sale. Her investments will have to be cashed out and liquidated. All this you will be able to do with POA.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver

Patsy, I am in a similar situation with a relative in an assisted living facility that only has about a year and a half of savings left. Medicaid can help but only if your mom is in a skilled nursing facility or skilled floor in an assisted living facility. The facility can help with the Medicaid application process which is a complicated application procedure that can take months. You have to collect five years' worth of financial documentation (banking statements, tax returns, etc.) and account for any expenditures over $500 (cancelled checks) and financial gifts (This is the Medicaid sticking point. Any gift, Christmas, wedding, college tuition help, etc. comes under close scrutiny and must be explained. Gifts can affect Medicaid eligibility).

If you can't find an attorney to help or can't afford one, check with your state government Agency on Aging. All states have one. They often have staff people who can help with Medicaid applications or long term care planning for free. This is not an overnight process, so starting sooner rather than later will help provide the time you need to sort everything out. Praying for you because I'm going through the same thing. Try to set aside some time to focus on getting your questions answered from the state Agency on Aging. Don't try to do this alone. I learned quickly that help is needed with this process.
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Reply to svking

This is what I did. Mom was in an AL and money was running out. April I applied for Medicaid. Mom transferred to a NH May 1st. She paid for May and June and that spent down her money. June I confirmed that the caseworker had all the info needed and I proved Mom was spent down. July 1st Medicaid started. Moms SS and pension were needed to offset the cost of her care. In my State you have 90 days to spend down, get Medicaid info needed and place the recipient. A house is exempt when on Medicaid. Since Moms SS and any pension are required to offset the cost of care, there will be no money for upkeep for her home. I placed Moms For Sale.

Assisted livings are limited in the kind of care they can give. They are not skilled nursing. It maybe cheaper, though to place Mom in one. If her care is too much for an AL, then you may need to place her in a nice Skilled Nursing facility. Then you do what I did, pay privately. This will get you placement faster. When the money starts to run out, then u apply for Medicaid. Make sure the facility you choose excepts it.

Medicaid does have a program where aides are supplied but its rarely 24/7 care. It can be only 4 hrs a day.

You really need to talk to an Elder lawyer well versed in Medicaid.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I would have her get a needs assessment.

It sounds like she would benefit from a facility. Her needs would be met and she could have some socialization.

It is better to place her while she is still some what cognizant, it makes a difference in how someone adjusts to their new home.

I would also try to locate her closer to you. It will make your advocacy so much easier.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal


Igloo wasn’t being sarcastic. If you read her posts, she has much wisdom in financial/legal matters.

She is asking for specific answers, in order to give you informed replies.

Come back, and give us another try.
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Reply to cxmoody

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Reply to ALVISE

I've been sitting on my ass.
This was a mistake.
Also clearly.
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Reply to PatsyN
BarbBrooklyn Sep 11, 2021
Patsy, no one is criticizing. More specific information allows posters to better, more specific answers.
So where is her money? &
the POA, has it ever presented a problem for you to use?

When dad died, were all financials that were in his name or his SS# was attached to, changed so that all currently are in moms name if she was set to inherit or be beneficiary of OR did dad have pour over will so a Trust established? Or is the distribution of assets per dads will still not finished up in probate? or has dealing w probate not been done?

You mention the old atty seems useless…… useless in what way? Disinterested? or they do nothing probate related in their practice?

She likely has a checking & a savings account, right?
How many banks? Do you personally bank at any of these?
Her income (like SS) is all being direct deposited, right?
Are you a signatory at each bank on all her accounts?
& r all POD (pay on death) to you?
All this about figuring out how best to consolidate stuff.

You mention investments, what type?? if stocks, have you ever spoken with her broker? If it’s property (house, land), do you have the original paperwork on initial purchase, Warranty Deed, and Release of Deed and what is the market like to be able to sell a house or land?
if it’s CDs or T bills, when is the next expiration date?

24/7 is likely costing way more than a NH would cost. Her moving into a NH soon & putting house on market before winter sets in makes sense to do. Just what has kept this from happening now that it’s a year since your Dad died?
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Reply to igloo572

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