Does the government have access to funds transferred into another's name?

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if an elderly person adds children to his accounts (not just signers, actual owners), and the child moves money out of that account and opens a new one, does the State / Government have access to that money that has been moved, in order to pay for nursing home care?

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You are talking about a fraudulent transfer of funds to evade payment to creditors, or at least to fraudulently obtain government benefits. Do you really think that governments aren't able to deal with this to protect the public interest from schemers? BTW Igloo, the SSN on the account is not definitive of ownership. An indication yes, but more would go into an analysis of the ownership of the funds such as the source of the funds in the account.
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TRG, have other people also been contributing to the accounts? This is a problem that several people have when taking care of the parent. They set up a joint account that has both the parent's and child's money. If an account is co-owned by anyone other than the spouse, the government will view it as belonging totally to both people on the account. So if your parent should need to go on Medicaid, an accounting and perhaps spend-down of the entire account would be necessary. If, OTOH, the child was to become indebted for some reason, the creditors could go after all the money in the account. This is why people are advised to keep their personal accounts separate and go the POA route for banking.

If you have co-mingled money, you need to talk to an adviser to see if there is a way it can be undone. If the money was only deposited by the parent, then no problem. It is the parents' money.
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TR - about the "ownership", whose SS# is the one tied to the accounts? If it is your dad's SS keyed into the account, then he is viewed as the owner by the bank and the IRS. I bet the accounts are set up so that the kids are signatures on the account, so they can write checks, make deposits or withdrawals on their own without Dad's signature.Co-owned accounts usually are held by spouses.

If you are Dad's DPOA, I'd suggest you go to the bank (dress nice, have your DPOA, ID & if you have a passport take that too) and speak with a bank officer (not a teller), and clearly go over just what the banking situation is for every account so that you know what the ownership situation is.

Is your ? about your concern on future issues with Medicaid? If you anticipate that Dad is going to need to apply for NH Medicaid and funds have been taken out by the kids within the past 5 years, it likely will show up for the Medicaid application review.

For my mom, Medicaid required 3 years and 6 months of all financials and did a 5 year review on real property (land, homes, car).I had to go to the bank and get a officer to do a letter as to the disposition of each and every account, CD, Tbill closed too within that period. Fortunately as accounts closed or CD's expired, the proceeds all went into mom's main checking account, so it was clear that all her funds went to her and were spent by her with no transfers or other funny stuff.

Now Medicaid cannot access your banking, BUT what they can do is not pay the NH for your parents care. If your parent gets a transfer penalty, the NH gets the letter too from Medicaid. The NH can have a claw-back of Medicaid payments and they will not be happy. The NH fully expects to get paid and will go after whomever signed mom into the NH or is the DPOA for the payment due. If mom gave your worthless brother 10K & he won't pay, then you or others in the family will have to cover the transfer penalty if you want mom to stay in the NH. Otherwise decide which room in your house mom will live in till the transfer penalty period is over. Realize the NH bill will still be there during this period of time and they can turn it over to debt collection if they want too and it is worth their doing. Transfer penalties cannot just be ignored and are sticky to deal with and usually you need to hire an elder law attorney to work the appeal.
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The state would definitely have the right to demand to know what had happened to the money taken out of the joint account.

Honestly, if there were simple ways to make inconvenient assets disappear off the books everyone would be doing it. There aren't any. Forget it.

And I know it is a sore subject, but I have yet to hear a cogent argument that explains why an elderly person should not pay for his or her accommodation if he or she does in fact have the money to do so. Concealing or wilfully divesting assets is not wrong because it amounts to tax evasion, it is wrong because it amounts to a fraudulent benefit claim. Desist.
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It doesn't matter if permission was needed or not. All assets in a joint account are considered the property of the person on Medicaid. They will get their money.
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Thank you - however, no permission was NEEDED, since the children were on the account as owners of said account. There was no gifting since they are joint owners. Just wanted to clarify -
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Ok, let's say $80,000 is moved. Mom goes into a nursing home at $8000 a month. Medicaid will see the money is moved and send a letter to you and the NH, about a year after you applied, telling you they won't pay for the first $80,000 of Mom's NH care. Since you are the POA, the NH will sue you for the misappropriated $80,000. They will win. PLUS the IRS is notified that a child received an $80,000 gift! So they send the child an audit notice for the year the money was transferred, and impose back taxes and penalties in the amount of $30,000. They don't even need to sue, they just put a sticker on your front door that says they are taking the house. Do you really want to do this?
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This is not a good thing to do. If money is moved from the account with permission, it will be considered a gift and Medicaid will penalize for the amount gifted. The amount penalized would have to be paid out of pocket before the person could qualify. It is actually a good rule, since everyone in the US could move money from their parents and leave Medicaid to foot the bill for all NH expenses.The parent needs to use their money for their own care until it runs out, then seek government assistance if needed.
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