Thanks in advance for your answers.

My grandfather passed around mid 2018. My aunt who he lived with and took care of him was the co-owner and beneficiary on all of his accounts so my understanding is that 100% of all his accounts default to her once he passed. There was no estate, trusts, or will ever set up. Supposedly he once wrote a hand written will but it was never notarized so it holds no legal value.

My mother is below poverty level and her only income is about $800 per month from social security.

My aunt wants to give my mother around 80k however that would cause my mom to lose certain public benefits she currently recieves like Medicaid, premium free Medicare part A & B, food stamps, and HUD subsidized housing.

In order to maintain my mothers benefits and not put her in a worse financial position than she is currently in, could my aunt simply wire the money to my account and then I could pay off my mothers car, any small debt she has, and moving forward when she needs something I can buy it for her online and have it shipped to her deducting it from that money?

My understanding is that if my aunt did this she would have to file a gift tax return since the amount exceeds 15k however it would not be subject to taxes unless she exceeds the lifetime exemption gift amount which is over 5 million.


Find Care & Housing
You need not worry about affecting your mother's eligibility for government benefits if the money goes to you vs directly to your mother. It is only assets in which your mother has a legal interest that are countable for government benefits (Medicaid, etc.) purposes.

By the way, a hand-written will is still valid even if not notarized or witnessed, although in your aunt's case, since all your grandfather's assets passed to her outside of probate (as jointly titled accounts), the will would have no effect in any case.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to K. Gabriel Heiser
ElmoHongZito Jan 4, 2019
Thank yoh Gabriel. I appreciate the clarification.

Doesn’t the legality of a non-notarized/non-witness will vary by state?

I know this doesn't apply to us because my aunt was joint owner on his accounts. But thought I would ask anyway. Thanks
Many of the replies referred you to an elderly care attorney ( from your mid December post) and now this post.

Doesn’t appear you’ve taken that advice yet. It’s true when a poster below stated the answers are the same as the first time you asked. Oh, sorry, it’s not an inheritance.

You received really good responses last month. I’m thinking you want Igloo back here so you won’t have to “pay through your nose” for a lawyer as you figure out how to get around the system. Laws vary in each state. I’m surprised you’ve waited this long to speak to an attorney in your state that is well versed in the law in your mother’s area.

Before you listen to anyone giving you “zero value” responses, why haven’t you contacted an attorney or at least paid for a consult?

How will you improve your mother’s quality of life when you are missing the most important part - her health? Paying off her car will do that? You stated she refuses to go to any doctor for treatment & that she’s estranged from her sisters.

She is unhealthy and alone. Money won’t solve that.

You wouldn’t think to provide her with better housing with that money? All she would have to do is give up her benefits and reapply when the money is gone. At 65 she is eligible for Medicare anyway. So she’d give up Section 8 & Medicaid only. You yourself need that money to pay off her car? You cant afford to take that on for your mother?

I thought the CD was going to mature by the end of December thus your urgency last month.

I agree with CM - nothing stopping your aunt from gifting your mother that money. Nothing stopping her to gift it to you for you to spend it on your mother either.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to Shane1124
NYDaughterInLaw Jan 2, 2019
So right.
See 1 more reply
A couple years ago, when my grandma died, she left me quite an inheritance. I was researching and asking questions about investing. One of the forums I joined was bogelheads, have you heard of it? Of course you have, this question is posted there. With a little more information such as the state which residency is, which by the way actually enforces filal responsibility laws. All of that information changes it or not.

Of course, curiosity killed the cat. Imagine my suprise this question is posted all over all free legal threads...except Avvo which is suprising because it is the most legit one out there and credentials are verified. I wouldnt like what I heard on those either, they are way harsher than this thread.

So lets see, I am in Accounting/Finance and HR, there are a few nurses here, someone who has owned their own business, a few full time caregivers and some retirees. So why, besides sympathy because others here have been in unfortunate situations, do you thing anyone here is qualified to give you any advice? Then transfer info between threads, lol.

Funny thing though, my first question on this board was about Medicaid. Out off all the posts, one person, whose comment was actually worse case scenerio, was right with all 3 of the Certified Elder Lawyers I actually paid to talk to. So excluding this post, on this thread you have a 2.7% chance of getting it right. Not good odds, eh?

Quit using forums and pay for a lawyer. There is nothing wrong with using a forum for research but it is mostly just opinions here not any type of real, legal advice.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to tacy022
Merlin1 Jan 5, 2019
You’re right!
See 2 more replies
I agree with frequent flyer. I think your aunt might be able to fund a trust and appoint you as trustee. A consultation with a lawyer is a very good idea.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Marcia7321

I find it very interesting that this poster wants to use tax avoidance vehicles in order to keep her mother on welfare. This poster wants taxpayers to continue to pay for her mother's food, housing, prescriptions, etc. This poster does not need caregiving advice but rather the advice of an attorney and accountant. This poster has not made her mother her dependent and is not claiming her mother as a dependent on her taxes. Is it any wonder that this poster does not like the answers given? People who want to commit welfare fraud seldom do like advice that costs them the free ride they've been given; they feel entitled to game the system.

Next time this poster - or anyone like this poster - asks our forum about how to stay on welfare while benefiting from a financial windfall, I hope someone will hit the report button.

Happy New Year to all the hardworking, honest, and selfless caregivers. Peace.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
ElmoHongZito Jan 3, 2019
First of all, where did you get “tax avoidance vehicles” from? Special needs trust has nothing to do with avoiding taxes. Get your insults straight.

What I am trying to accomplish is not fraud and that’s why there are legal vehicles for these type of situations that I am trying to learn more about. The fact that you do not like this reality does not give you the right to accuse people of commiting fraud while mocking them just because they are not a caregiver in your eyes.

You publicly make false accusations instead contributing usefull information to the thread. That sounds more like something that should be reported to the forum in my eyes.
See 2 more replies
There's nothing to stop your aunt giving you this money if she wants to (unless your aunt may need to apply for Medicaid within the next five years, that is). There is nothing to stop you spending it on your mother if you want to.

Is there any way in which possession of an $80K windfall could improve your mother's quality of life?

Ask your aunt why exactly she wants to hand this money to your mother. If she doesn't have a reason which works to your mother's benefit, perhaps it would be better if she didn't do it. It certainly sounds as if she earned her legacy.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Countrymouse

Just out of curiosity, why should my tax dollars pay for your moms housing, food and medical when your "gift" could for a few years? You are taking advantage of the system. There are alot of people with small children that live off less than that.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to tacy022
ElmoHongZito Jan 2, 2019
@tacy022 Because my mothers very low income and lack of assets qualifies her for MY tax dollars to pay for her housing, food and medical. That gift will NOT be used for housing, food and medical. It will be supplemental to enhance her quality of life. If these programs were not available to her and she had a serious medical issue, that gift would be spent in a very short amount of time.

I hope that fulfills your curiousity.
See 3 more replies
As far as your Aunt gifting the money how that is handled would be between her and her accountant. Now as far as gifting you the money, it would then be yours to use as you please. My mother is on Medicaid and we from time to time help her out with some expenses. This does not count toward her income or effect her status. Now if we were to gift her directly a sum of money or say pay for an expensive vacation that would certainly effect her status. I don't see this as subverting the system, it is mearly helping out our elders. If your mother should die before the money is all used up I doubt you would be expected to return it. As I said it is a gift to you to use as you please. I apologize for some of the negative posts on here. I did not feel that you were trying to find a way to scam the government. You are correct if your aunt gifts the money to your Mom it will screw up all her benefits at least for awhile and just based on the paperwork involved you want to avoid that.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Nancynurse

I totally appreciate your situation and I can't believe the nasty responses you've received! What you are trying to do is not cheating the system -- it's being smart, and any elderly care advisor would commend you for it. I was actually lead to your question after reading a previous article on this website about protecting your money --
It's a pretty good article and may help in some way. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to kdfo90

ElmoHongZito, this is complex. I would highly recommend you see an "Elder Law Attorney" who will advise you on the correct way to handle the money.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to freqflyer

See All Answers
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter