My aunt left $20,000 to her companion. Can the government take this inheritance?

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who is on assistance for 20 years raising 5 kids by herself. The lawyer is saying she won't get the money. She has no income besides some welfare--kids all grown up and she lives alone, she has medicaid. Any way to give her this money or should she just refuse the inheritance. My aunt also left her an old car. Will she be able to get that?

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Cwillie is spot-on!

But if there actually is $ left, although She can refuse the inheritance (so it goes to other heirs of the lady who died as per her will), under Medicaid rules the 20K will still count as income/asset for your aunt and will take her over Medicaid. So even if she declines the $ she still gets penalized as if she took it by Medicaid.

You know 20K isn't that much $ to do a spend down if there actually is $. If after the estate is settled, she is getting 20K, then I'd suggest you work with her to get it spent down asap within 30-60 days so that she can become re-elgivbile for Medicaid asap. Like she can do a pre-need no cash value, totally 100% prepaid funeral & burial policy (this will have a $ maximum under Medicaid & a good FH will know the amount); or she gets dental work done (this could take the whole 20K too); or if she still has a home, she pays for work done to the house. She basically spends the 20K on her care, her needs or her property. Absolutly NO gifting to you or others. Then she replies for Medicaid. Try to spend the $ so that it clears her bank account within her bank statement date; so she ends a month under Medicaid limits.

About the car, if she does not have a car, then owning 1 car is allowed by Medicaid. But if she has a car and then with the inheritance will have 2 cars, she will need to get rid of one. My suggestion is that if both cars are somewhat old, is to turn in both and get 1 newer and more dependable used car. Otherwise she will need to sell 1 car at whatever its BLue Book value is and the $ goes into the spend down.

really she needs to get whatever done asap to clear her bank account to reapply for Medicaid and become re-elgibile without ANY gifting of ANY $. No $ to church, to family, etc. All must be spent on her care, her needs or her property and keep all receipts of where the $ went too. Good luck.

Oh also, ask the probate atty or the executor just when the 20K will be distributed and what the value was for the car under the "Assets of the Estate" document. It will have been entered into probate - that's the value of the car that Medicaid will place on the asset. Hopefully it's accurate as to the true value and condition of the car. It could take months or longer for the distribution to actually happen…..if the estate has $, then she should get some sort of paperwork with IRS filing paperwork that will need to be returned to the probate atty or executor in order for her to get the distribution. Distribution will be up to probate atty & executor as to how done & will have to be filed with court and wait for order by judge to happen……I'd allow at least 3 months.
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I could bequest my heirs a million dollars, but if I only have 2 cents when I die they won't get anything. The caregiver can only get they money if there is sufficient left after all your aunt's debts are paid, including medicaid. It sounds as though the lawyer is saying there will be nothing left. Sorry.
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I'd discuss with the lawyer, but if she gets this money, it could disqualify her from Medicaid. That's tough, but, I don't know if there are any ways to handle that. If she is the beneficiary under the Will, you might ask if she Waives her right to the inheritance, would it then go to her heirs. So at least her kids would get it. It'd look into it.
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I don't understand the issues. Is this bequest in a will? Is your aunt deceased? Whose lawyer advised "she" won't get the money, and on what basis? Was he referring to the fact that since the companion is getting Medicaid the bequest of funds would affect her eligibility?

Could you provide more detail please?
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