Follow
Share

I just moved my mother into my house, her caregiver husband died. Mom has dementia. I am her Power of Attorney (POA) and caregiver now. I was told by an Elder law attorney to spend down her money to get her into a nursing home and on Medicaid. I am reluctant to do that. Mom doesn't have that much money, I'm afraid if I spend it then I can't find a nursing home that takes Medicaid or has a Medicaid bed available. The lawyer said she would rewrite the POA so mom would qualify for Medicaid and I could pay myself for caregiving. Could I write a caregiver agreement and let mom pay me for care, room and board, without going through an Elder Law Attorney? The attorney wants to charge $750 for the POA. I have found caregiver agreements online from AARP, and Alzheimers Organizations. If I spend her money on respite care, pay myself a modest amount would that count against her getting Medicaid when she needs it?

Find Care & Housing
I am so sorry for you, and I hope you can get things to work out. I am in absolute hell with my mom, her POAs, Medicaid, you simply cannot imagine how utterly complicated and insane the laws are. You can make one simple mistake and ruin everything. Do not, under any circumstances, make legal decisions based on the information you learn here in this forum. You need an actual attorney that is familiar with and trained for the laws in THE STATE you are in; POA documents and Medicaid rules are different state by state. If you have any intention of your mother being in a NH on Medicaid, any financial decisions she (or you have made for her) the 5 years prior to her application will be subject to Medicaid rules even retroactively. It may take years for you to find her a bed in a facility that takes Medicaid and has room. Please make sure you have a lawyer you can trust. In our case, a simple POA cost 200.00; Certified Elder Lawyer taking care of Medicaid, liquidation of all assets, etc., cost 3500.00. Good luck. Once Medicaid is involved, every single cent will be under their scrutiny, from the last 5 years.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to DesertCatlady
Report
thepianist Jun 24, 2019
"Do not, under any circumstances, make legal decisions based on the information you learn here in this forum."

I could not agree with you more. I shake my head at some of the advice I read here. There are organizations that will give senior citizens with limited means free legal advice. Yes, Medicaid looks at five years of financial resources and use. Medicaid is regulated by both federal and state law and you need an in-state attorney who knows medicaid rules.
(10)
Report
Stick with the attorney who has knowledge on every little detail for your state. The cost is reasonable. You may end up saving much more in the long run. You will find that as she ages her dependance on you will get much worse.
My suggestion is if she has few assets (a year or less) to do some homework. Search for the best nursing homes in your area that take Medicaid and get on the wait list. Residents who have personal funds have priorities over a Medicaid list. Once she qualifies, she will already have a good home and can stay. If you wait too long then she will be placed in the first open bed. That could be a poorly run facility or one that is several miles further than home.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to MACinCT
Report

In general no it wouldn't count against her getting Medicaid it will or should get her there faster. That said there is likely more than one way to handle this (lease for room and board vs caregiver contract or both for instance) and the right choice for you and mom is very dependent on the state and sometimes county you are in. However I don't know what it would have to do with your POA or why that would need to be re-written and based on her know Dementia I'm not sure re-writing that POA is even possible/legal, guess what I'm saying is before you fork over $750 to this attorney to re-write a POA you might shop around or have an initial consult with some other's that specialize in estate, elder care and Medicaid planning. It may be that a simple consult is all you need and they will tell you the forms you have found are fine or at least give you a sense of the pest path to take.

The other thing I want to echo here is that if your goal is simply to spend down her funds to prepare for Medicaid you might be better off simply placing her or getting her on the list for the residence of your choice (or top 2-3) while she would still be self pay and let that spend down her savings so she gets a bed in the place of her choice when she needs it (wait is usually less). Just make sure the chosen residence takes Medicaid residents as well so when it comes time she can stay there. This way the facility will often do the lions share of the paperwork and dealing with Medicaid too. You may find doing a mixture of rent and or care giving contract now while you look for and get her into a residence is the way to go too, much depends on how much there is in assets and her income but again this is different state to state. You are being very wise and a responsible POA planning this out as carefully as yo can and doing your research! Don't forget to stop and enjoy the love through this journey with mom.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Lymie61
Report
Sandalina Jun 25, 2019
All good advice, but what if I don’t want to place my mom yet? Our situation is the same as the original question.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
The only clear thing about Medicaid is how confusing and convoluted it is; even the Medicaid office does not know what they are doing because it's the government thriving off of red tape to justify high-paid salaries.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to cetude
Report
needtowashhair Jun 24, 2019
You got that right. Even lawyers don't understand it all. I've had "discussions" with our former lawyer about certain aspects. Then we take the Google challenge. Let's just say I wonder who should be paying who.
(4)
Report
See 1 more reply
Blues53, kudos to you for taking care of your mother. Yes, you can can write your own caregiver agreement without using an attorney. Below is an article from AgingCare about this with precautions and at the end of it a link to a sample personal care agreement:  https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/personal-care-agreements-compensate-family-caregivers-181562.htm
Before you implement the Agreement you could have your state's Medicaid office look it over to ensure that it meets their requirements.
Best wishes
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to bicycler
Report
cetude Jun 24, 2019
Laws vary from state to state and I would never advise anybody to do something as complex as this using online forms. You can get in a lot of legal mess doing it yourself.
(3)
Report
I agree with the person who said stick with an attorney. My mom has lived with us for 16 years and after a hospital stay went to rehab and now nursing home. It has been such a grueling time but besides the grieving of this situation, has been the awful paper work and made to feel as if we re criminals. Mom has nothing besides social security. We never hid money, there was none, but this process is so bad. Even in my trust in the Lord, I have had many days of tears and angst. We are almost to the end of all this so I feel for you and all you are doing. Be diligent and wise. Just because you are honest, they don't care, you still have to prove everything.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Marcia64
Report
anonymous927379 Jul 7, 2019
Omg Marcia! YES! I’m going through that right now. We’re trying to get Medicaid approval for my mom. We’ve had a combined household for 18 years. Who knew I couldn’t transfer funds between bank accounts?!!!! Right now I feel like I’m guilty of stealing all my mother’s money and all she has is 18k a year SS. She would NEVER have been able to survive on Long Island if it wasn’t for my financial help. I truly cannot take it.
(0)
Report
I agree with the wise folks who suggest that the attorney is the way to go. If you have power of attorney it is perfectly legitimate to pay for your Mom's attorney needs out of her own money. I also agree with the writer who suggests that placing your Mom in care now will accomplish getting the money spent down and will also give you access to Social Workers and others at the facility who can help with placement when there are no longer funds, and who can help you work through the paperwork. Your fee is not out of line. I paid 3,500 in California for paperwork that was POA and Trustee of Living Trust. The later was the most time consuming. California costs can "spend down money" fairly quickly. Wishing you good luck. Try to remember to take it one day at a time. There will be roadblocks and problems that can ramp up anxiety to an awful degree. But you will figure out how to get through them with good help.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Report

It won’t count against her, they look at her available assets. I am mom’s POA. The bank advised I get a debit card in my name as on her acct & I pay for whatever she wants that way plus allowance for us for utilities. They won’t touch anything not in her name so you can put monies in a savings for end of life expenses & that’s yours for her. Mom was just approved for LTC last week, they looked at what she had available. LTC takes all her SS minus $40/month which is hers. No bills can be paid, only her Medicare part B for meds. I did a new POA & Living Will online with Legal Zoom & it cost me ~$70 for both!! Just be sure to notarize!!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Lostinva
Report

You might want to look at the website:

https://careconversations.org/

I have found it informative and it has links to the state websites for Medicare and Medicaid as well as discussions about planning for the future of an elderly person.

I agree that you need to continue consulting with the Elder Law Attorney as they know the "little" details that pertain to the state that your Mom lives in and they can make your Mom's life and your life easier as your Mom becomes more and more dependent on others for care.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to DeeAnna
Report

If you mom has lost cognition the attorney will have to petition the Court to grant you POA. Don't go this alone or use online forms...the laws vary from state to state. Estate planning requires a lot of expertise and if you get paid from her estate for her care, you will have to pay taxes. See a tax specialist about getting a corporate tax account. You get more tax breaks.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to cetude
Report

See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter