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After my Mom's passing I became co owner of a money market account with my Dad. As co owner of the money market account I was informed by the bank that I am entitled to half the amount. The money market comes up either renewal or termination next week. My father wants to place it in either the bank or re-invest. He also wants to gift to me and my family members. I understand the gifting laws as they pertain to re-paying should he need to enter a care facility. Considering the money is legally mine!

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Couple of things -,
-if Dad's SS# is shown on the MM, then it will show up in a 5 year look back. So anything done with the account or other financials between now & April, 2019 is subject to review for a Medicaid application. That is a long time……
- the bank is correct that it is 50-50 ownership, however for Medicaid, that doesn't matter. It is considered wholly his asset if it is keyed to his SS #
- now Dad should have gotten for 2013 taxes a dividend or interest statement on the MM, did the statement show his SS # or to yours? Again, if it went to him, then the MM is viewed as his asset (and a non-exempt asset too) for Medicaid.
- Keep in mind that IRS rules for gifting (e.g. "gift" 12-13K annually w/out any tax implication) or bank determinations are NOT the same as Medicaid rules to be "at need". Medicaid really requires that the applicant is impoverished and the 5 yr look back on all their assets tries to ensure that.
- now how will Medicaid know???……I don't know how other states do this but for my mom's application in TX, I had to get from her bank a letter from a bank officer on bank stationary as to the disposition of any & all accounts or other holdings in her name for the look-back years. Took almost a full morning and I had with me the last 3 years of statements, all her old CD, Tbill stuff too. The letter ran like this: CD # 12345 expired 1/1/09 for 5K deposited into account # 98765 of Jane R Smith SS # 1234455...; savings account # 234567 closed 1/1/09 for $ 5,600.13 deposited into account # 98765 of Jane R Smith SS # 123455…. I am pretty confident if any $ had not been fully transferred as a deposit to her main checking account that she would have had a transfer penalty inquiry letter from Medicaid. Even had to include the date that she closed & emptied her safe deposit box as it is considered a bank account tied to her SS #. The only account that would not have to appear would be TUTMA accounts as those are tied into the minor's SS# and therefore minor is the owner (don't know if all states do TUTMA's). The bank is just not going to leave something out for you. Oh for even more fun, the bank can charge a fee for doing this too - my mom's didn't but could have.

About the transfer penalty, there is a spanking new article on this site on this issue you really should carefully read it. Transfer penalty issues can put family in a total panic as usually the elder is already moved into the NH as "Medicaid Pending". Then about month 3 - 6, you get a letter of inquiry on a transfer. You or whomever is indicated on the Medicaid application as the contact person for the applicant will get this. Usually you have a very short window to provide details & documents, otherwise elder will be suspended from Medicaid. The elder still qualifies for Medicaid (as they are impoverished & medically qualified) but they are ineligible for Medicaid to pay for them until the transfer penalty is paid or the penalty period of time is over. Now for even more fun, the NH also gets this letter. The NH usually sends you a letter that they expect payment in full or a contract or agreement for payment & if not done this is your 30 day notice that they have to move. The NH can go after you or whomever is in the application for contact for payment too. With NH running between 5K - 15K a month, it is worth it for the NH to turn it over for debt collection. It's not gonna be a couple of hundred $ which is more trouble than it's worth. 3 months NH room, board, supplies is easily 40K.

So MM is 50K and you take 25K today. Dad applies for Medicaid next year. Now dad has properly spent-down his 25K from the MM to pay for legal, buy a funeral & burial NCV policy, dental work, etc. So he now qualifies for Medicaid as he is impoverished as by your state's Medicaid rules. The state sends you a letter asking about the disposition of the 25K that showed up in their asset search (by applying for Medicaid you sign off for an all access pass for their life) and details needed with 5 days or application will be declined. And the letter will likely state something like what the penalty for fraud is. The NH has a duty to tell the elder too that if this isn't resolved that they will have to move. There is no simple way out of this rabbit hole except to pay the penalty or move your elder into your home for the full period of time of the penalty. You are toast on getting into another facility too as the decline is in the system. For TX, a 25K penalty is based on the state's Medicaid daily reimbursement rate for room & board - about $ 145.00 day. So 25K means 173 days of ineligibility.

Many states are turning over Medicaid compliance and recovery to outside contractors. If your state is one who has, the 2 main firms are very very good at what they do and will find the inappropriate transfer or gifting. They get 12% - 18% of the take plus legal & administrative costs, really it's worth their pursuit.
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Never have joint accounts with anyone who may need Medicaid. They expect all assets to be spent on the care of Dad. Put your half in your name, put Dad's half in his name. Keep complete documentation.
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Your dad can gift it to you, if he requires Medicaid prior to the 5 years, HE will have a penalty, so in my opinion the only moral way to accept such a gift from an elderly person who may need it is to not spend it for 5 years and be able and willing to help dad should he be facing a penalty.
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Someone had recommended a free legal advice site avvo. I have used it successfully a few times. Because laws are different from state to state, maybe you could post your question to the avvo site. Ask specifically about your state under elder law,insurance and financial category.
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