Can I save my home?


Dad passed 4 years ago and I moved in to care for my mom with dementia/ Alzheimer's. I am power of attorney and executor on moms will. If I move her into memory care, will I lose everything to the state? She does not qualify for Medicaid as there is a fair amount of money in mutual funds as well as a home that we built when I was a young kid. I'd like to see all of the grandkids get to have something and most importantly keep the house as I have been living here again . I don't want to hide anything, just advice on how I may be able to keep my home...

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I'd suggest that as a 2 part first that you can do is this:
- Medical: look objectively at moms health situation. Go with her to her next doctors appointment. If mom does not currently see a gerontologist, then schedule an appt with one for her. All this to kinda come up with an idea on what moms needs are & what her future is likely to be. If mom is good on her ADLs, no significant co-morbidities but it's more of she gets confused & can't on her own take her medications, then she won't qualify for needing skilled nursing care in a LTC facility. And for many states, Medicaid is limited to those needing skilled nursing care which means they are in a NH. If your state takes this narrow view then neither MC or AL will be covered by Medicaid. So it's great that mom has $.
- Financial: find out what 2 NH and 2 MC charge in your area. Let's say it's 12k a mo NH & 8k MC. Does mom have over 350k between her MFunds & savings? Cause if so, to me, she needs estate planning atty & not a Medicaid planning atty. She's not likely to ever apply for medicaid. She has plenty of investment type of assets plus its not even counting in monthly income (like SS) or her home (exempt asset for Medicaid). It's more of figuring out how to access her money to pay for care without penalty in the future (@ MC), pay you now as a caregiver (by a personal Services contract done by her atty.), pay for funeral @ burial now, and move $ & assets into ones that can have beneficiary designations (so pass outside of probate & $ to grandkids to me need to be done after she dies as she may need $ for MC/NH, they can wait.....). Its estate planning issues. Not Medicaid eligibility issues.

Also on house, it sounds like you want to & kinda need to live there both now & after she dies. Tax wise it's best that you inherit the house. Mom may need to change her will to reflect house just to you. Mom needs to spend her $ on all things house - you should never ever be paying for house things. Moms new atty may be able to set up a property management contract for you so later on if & when she moves into MC or a NH, her money is still providing funds to you (as the personal caregiver day to day you did & got paid for is now over with).

Mom having $ gives her @ you as her DPOA lots more choices. It's going to be oodles more work than if she was on the cusp of all her $ & needing to do that last spend-down to be eligible for Medicaid. Please try to start on all this now, so that mom starts 2018 into whatever is the new plan. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (1)

The state would have no reason whatsoever to take your home. That only applies if they have spent money on her care, via Medicaid. Then they are entitled to be repaid. BUT even in that situation, the fact that your care kept Mom out of a care facility for at least two years would make your situation an exception.

If Mom needs Medicaid, she will have to spend her assets on her own care first. The house (and one car) are exceptions. If there are sentimental items that grandchildren would want, they can be given to them. BUT not if the "sentimental" item is a vacant lot or a genuine Picasso or Microsoft stock. Assets of value must be used for the applicant's care, before the applicant is eligible for state aid. (The house is an exception.)

If Mom is going to apply for Medicaid, I agree with geewiz that consulting an attorney specializing in Elder Law would be a good idea.
Helpful Answer (3)

As long as your mom is private pay in a memory facility and Medicaid is not involved, then then will not recoup anything from you. But geewiz is right - mom pays for her care out of her assets as long as she is able. Only fair.
Helpful Answer (3)

You can make an appointment with an elder attorney for legal ideas. BUT she (and all the rest of us) would be expected to pay for her own care as long as she has money to do so. Medicaid was designed to make sure that the truly indigent wouldn't be on the street corners with no care.
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