I have been caring for my grandfather since my mother died a year ago. When Mom was alive, Grandpa qualified for this VA aid and assistance pension. He then received an inheritance from his sister, which knocked him off the benefit. He was obsessed with keeping this benefit, although the inheritance was quite a lot. We met with lawyers, some of whom recommended an irrevocable trust to hide his assets, keep the benefit, and keep Grandpa qualified for Medicaid. In the end, he didn't go down this path. His son (who doesn't do any caregiving) convinced him to simply drop the whole thing, take the money he was inheriting, and lose his benefit. The entire episode was ridiculously stressful for me, as I was accused of somehow trying to keep Grandpa's inheritance for myself through this irrevocable trust. I was investigating his options and learned a lot (which many of you already know I'm sure) about Medicaid and using irrevocable trusts to protect assets. It all seemed to make sense, but I was seen as a schemer.
So I am actually just wondering if others have had experience using these kinds of trusts to help divest elders of assets on paper. My uncle was convinced this was a horrible idea and a scam. Yet three reputable attorneys recommended this to us. In the end, my grandfather trusted his son's opinion. I really have no idea what is best.
On the one hand, it seems like my duty to my grandfather is to help him protect his assets. But his son has this philosophy that elderly people should simply spend all their money in their lifetime. I can certainly understand that.
There was a day that perhaps some of you can relate to. I was cleaning up Grandpa's poop off the floor after an accident (he takes off the disposable underwear and tends to leave little trails). At that moment, Grandpa started telling me all about his son's opinion of the financial situation. And also that the son thinks we need to get a maid--so why didn't I just call a maid and leave the poop on the floor? It was infuriating, because the son never visits, but of course his opinion is just gold. I went into a depression that lasted several days after that. I just couldn't believe this son was being believed when he has helped in no other way, and the son's opinion of me is so bad, when I do all the work.
However, I am really curious if he is right in this case. Perhaps we just keep the money liquid and hope for the best. If Grandpa has to go into a nursing home, he'll potentially use up the money and end up on Medicaid. That's essentially where the situation is now. He lives with my family and his expenses are covered by social security, an annuity, and the interest he will earn from his investments. But soon his expenses will outstrip his income.
He is 91. We don't know how long he has--no one does, I guess. But I get nervous thinking about all of his funds being drained. On the other hand, I can understand my uncle's point that this is what the money is for, and we shouldn't try to qualify for government benefits we do not need yet.
Thanks and I would appreciate your thoughts.