Recently my fathers wife went into a nursing home. I am my fathers POA and his wifes daughter is her POA. They both had bank accounts, with the other listed as a joint owner.

Her family will be applying for Medicaid for nursing home care. The attorney told us to remove my dad from her account, and her from my dads account - and then to add the POA's to the appropriate account.

POA's have been added. My dad signed the paperwork to be removed from his wife's account, as the lawyer requested. So, her account is as it should be. Yesterday, the bank told me that his wife's POA told them she has changed her mind and will not remove her mothers name from my dads account. So, now, on my dads account is his name, his wife's name, and my name as POA.

I asked his wife's POA about what the bank told me, and she painted a different picture. She did say she is a bit confused at all the attorney has told her, and wanted to check with him again on if she really is supposed to do that. (Okay, I want to believe her.)

My question is, if his wife's POA is not on the actual account, can she withdraw funds? I know it was a big ordeal for me to get added to his account as POA. Can she just add herself as POA to the account as well? There really isn't a benefit for her to withdraw funds, since they are applying for Medicaid and would have to explain any withdrawal - and I do want to trust her - but, want to protect my dad as well. The money in this account is 100% his, as the money in her account (that he signed off of) is 100% hers.

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you !

I worked at a bank as a new accounts represesentative. It was the bank’s practice to never remove a name from an account even if a death certificate was presented.

The procedure was to close the joint account and open a new one with the existing funds. Either party could do this at any time.

Also we did not “add” a poa to any account. They also would have to open a new account for a title change. In addition, a poa was required to give a copy of the poa agreement for our lawyers to view and determine when POAs could conduct business for the account owner.

That was the procedure, however in practice many tellers would see the poa’s name on the account and let them sign on anything.

Many poa’s come to the bank asserting their importance and demanding access, same as trustees often do, when in fact, they have none according to the contract.

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Reply to CharK60

Glad to hear. One less worry for the new year.

Thank you for letting us know the outcome.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Thank you ! I did talk to the attorney directly and he did say that the paralegal was correct, and that my stepmother needs to come off of my dads account.

He also advised we open a new account and move the money, for peace of mind. Seeing that we have already presented bank statements - we have disclosed all of the money - so, nothing is being hidden.
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Reply to jujubee2222

I did not see the earlier answers.
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Reply to cmagnum

From our personal experience, it seems that the Medicaid-receiving spouse cannot have over $2000 at any time to remain qualified for Medicaid. So, Mom's ownership of any accounts (joint or not), will make all those funds subject to this rule.
A joint account is not 50/50 ownership. It's 100/100; and either joint owner--or his or her POA--can do anything the joint owner wants to do with it. Your dad, or you as his POA, can--and should--transfer all the money from the account to an account in his name only and close the current joint account. Your step-sister could do the same with it for her mom, by the way.
Your step-sister will want her mom's ownership off the account anyway eventually, because she will need to make sure her mom's funds don't exceed the Medicaid limits, and it's way easier to only have to watch over one account.
She may be honestly confused about this and being cautious because of the Medicaid application process, but the only real and viable reason she could have for wanting her mom to remain on your dad's account is so she has access to that money.

To protect Dad, I'd be taking him to the bank PDQ and transferring all remaining joint accounts to him alone. Or, you just do it as POA. Make sure you name a POD (Pay on Death) or joint owner on the new account that is not his wife, because his passing could otherwise result in Medicaid issues for her if she suddenly has over $2000.
You will still need to make all their financial records available for Medicaid review. If their total assets exceed the amount allowable for a community spouse, there will have to be arrangements made to circumvent that, perhaps by spend-down, before Medicaid will pay anything.

The whole Medicaid process is time-consuming and on-going, so just hang in there and work with your step-sister with the best intentions. When you close the joint account, if she wants to know why, explain to her that it's so she doesn't have to worry about her mom going over the limit, and you'll be happy to provide copies of statements or whatever is needed. Don't tell her it's because you don't trust her not to clean out Dad's money, but that's really your first concern; and if she does it, it's gone from your dad.
I'd rather be proactive and prepared than perhaps oblivious and blind-sided and broke.

Have a blessed Christmas! This will make everything different for your blended families, so prayers for peace for you and for all.
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Reply to Agingmyself

I think you need to call Medicaid and run this by one of the caseworkers. I think you received wrong info in changing accts around.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Sorry, doesn't make sense to me, they are married. As being married Medicaid will look at their income as one. Your Dad will become the Community spouse and will be left with enough money to live on.

I don't think anything should have been changed because of the five year look back. If her name was on any acct., Medicaid considers it hers. Same with Dad.

POAs do not come into effect until Dad can no longer make informed decisions. There is no reason to write a check if he can. And, I was under the impression that a POA could write a check without being on the acct.

In a friends case, her parents had 60k in the bank when he filed for Medicaid. Medicaid allowed her to have 30k. He had to spend down the 30k before Medicaid would pay.
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Reply to JoAnn29
97yroldmom Dec 23, 2018
My POA for my aunt allowed me to make decisions for her, write checks etc from the time it was created. The one I had for my parents was the same. Not all of them are the same.

Also, some banks will not accept the POA first presented to them and they require the banks POA signed. There have been several threads on that subject. Wells Fargo comes to mind as one that a poster had issues with.
But what can be done to get a bank account straight is a very different thing from what Medicaid requires.

We have recently had a poster report that two attorneys gave her incorrect information. (different subject but a reminder to shop until you find an attorney that knows for sure what is required). Here is that thread

What I clearly remember is Igloo saying that for a couple, when one is filing for Medicaid, it is not a DIY project.
You could ask the bank if step sister as POA for her mother (who is still listed as co owner to the account), could be added as POA. Sounds like she could.
However your step sister might be confused due to her mother’s Medicaid application.

I hope the attorney you used is a certified elder attorney with experience with Medicaid.

Since your dad can still sign, it would be easy to open the new account with just you and dad on it.
My aunt had to do that.
She had her SIL on her account as POD. When she made me her POA she wanted the SIL name off the account, so she moved all the funds to a different account and added me as POD.
This way her SIL didn’t have to sign anything removing her name. No funds left in the original account, so it was closed out.
Aunts SS# was listed first on the account, SIL had never deposited or drawn funds from the account. It was simple to do.

The part I’m confused on is that when your dad’s wife has to turn in the past five years financials, does she have to turn in your dad’s account as well since her name was listed as joint owner? I would have thought so. That’s why I asked was the attorney a certified elder attorney well versed in Medicaid? The step sister may be confused because she is looking at the application process for her mother and that may look like a conflict with what the attorney requested she do.

As a community spouse, your dad may be entitled to a portion of his wife’s social security to support himself in the community. Perhaps his assets are such that he wouldn’t qualify. But in reading these posts over the years, I’m not sure I’ve seen this scenario discussed.
Perhaps Igloo (expert on all things Medicaid) will weigh in.
I have never filed for Medicaid for anyone but I understand it’s complicated and more so when there is a community spouse whose interests have to be protected. That would be your father so check out your attorneys credentials to be on the safe side.
Let us know what you find out. We learn from one another.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to 97yroldmom
jujubee2222 Dec 23, 2018
Thank you for your response! The attorney we have is certified in Elder Law.....but it was actually his paralegal that told us to remove the names from the accounts. I really didn't give it much thought when she told us to do that, but, now that my step sister is hesitant, I understand why she needs more clarification - because of the five year look back. My dad did have to provide his bank statement for that purpose.

I emailed the paralegal and asked for clarification, and the reason what she told us needs to be done. We don't want to do anything to jeopardize my step mothers medicaid application. I have been unable to find any answer online to why their names should have been removed from each others account. So, at first I was nervous about her hesitation, but, not so much now.

I will post the reason for removing their names, when I hear back from the paralegal.
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To CYA, I would open a new account for Dad and move most the money into it.

I am in Canada and Mum had POA over stepdad and has it over family friends. She signs cheque’s on the accounts with her name followed by POA. The POA is registered with the banks.

But the problem is that Banks rarely check signatures. If Mum’s POA signs a cheque on Dad’s account Jane Doe POA, the bank may not even notice that it is not the correct POA.

Good luck getting this sorted out.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Tothill
jujubee2222 Dec 23, 2018
Thank you for your feedback. I will think about opening the new account.
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