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My parents sold their house and built an addition on my house 11 years ago and moved in with me. My 91 year old father passed away in January and I am caring for my 89 year old mother who has dementia. She will need to move to an assisted living facility soon. Her investments and income will cover about 2 years of care. She may then be eligible for medicaid. My sister, who is the executor of my father's estate, has his financial documents showing the cost of the improvements my parents made to my house. She has also seen checks my father has written to me throughout the years to cover household expenses. And there was a loan to my business 8 years ago that he forgave. This is not being well received by my siblings. My father anticipated this reaction and drew up a notarized document two months before his death stating that all improvements to the house and financial assistance was a gift as acknowledgement of my role as my parents' caregiver and is not part of the estate. My sisters are telling me when they apply for medicaid on my mother's behalf I will be required to account for all financial assistance from my parents for the last 5 years and it may be viewed by the agency that they were giving away their assets to qualify. They tell me I could be forced to sell my house to repay the funds. Does this sound plausible? After living in a combined household for 11 years do I have any obligation to account for anything? I never wrote checks to myself - my father initiated it all.

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A poa is effective any time unless it is written specially. That's #1. #2, your sisters are correct. Medicaid will look back five years and exclude Medicaid benefits for as many months as it deems appropriate to recoup what it perceives as gifts to you. Sans a caregiving contract, it is very possible your sisters are correct. You need the counsel of an elder law attorney.
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I can only tell you that after your mother goes --cut ties with your siblings. I am so tired of the drama that happens when such tragedy strikes that I am okay with cutting the loss of siblings. Yes, I had similar drama and now the siblings want to get back together as if nothing happened. BS! Count me out!
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Wow what a great person you must be. Caregiving can be a very thankless endeavor. Please do your best to try and have homecare help first. Nursing homes by us are $13,000 a month. Rediculous!! She could be cruising around the world. Not sure you hear thanks enough for all you have done for your mother already but i would definately talk to a lawyer who can hel you keep on keeping on taking such great care of your parents!! God bless you and yours!
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That's a good point, captain, the fact that there's a transparent paper trail here shows that she was not trying to hide anything, and certainly putting an addition on one's home--you can't hide that! The point could very easily be made that the mom & dad ONLY did that addition on THIS daughters home precisely because this shows how much they TRUST this one daughter--over and above the other daughters/sons. I hope there's an update from the OP on how this scenario develops. I'm always on the side of the caregivers! And I totally know about the "green eyed siblings".
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alisson,
springing poa does have its drawbacks . when my mom was hospitalized with a heart attack and delirium , i was instructed to get the springing poa " activated " by hospital ( aps ) social worker . our attorney issued the documents but moms bank wouldnt honor them . our attorney said that the springing poa was so unusual that the bank decided if they were to err it would be on the side of safeguarding their client ( mom ) .
the whole end of life business is rough going . the honest kid leaves a paper trail while the sibs who actually bilk and mooch know to deal only in cash .
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Ok I see where your dad's letter was notarized. THAT is good. The home addition being 11 yrs ago should not trigger Medicaid penalty period. However, the business loan, what was the terms for paying that back? Loan made 8 yrs ago, to be paid back over following 5 or 10 yrs, then forgiven.....it MIGHT be counted as a "gift" by Medicaid. Definitely get a lawyer who can help sort this out.
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Seeking Serenity, I am doubtful (unfortunately) that things will turn out in your favor. Because there is a 5 - years look back for your mom. If dad "gifted" 2 months before January (mentioning it in the letter, saying the business loan is forgiven) then it is within 5 yrs. Also, since your sister is POA for your mom (who has dementia and cannot change the POA) then your sister, is in charge of applying for Medicaid, not you. If I were you, I would immediately file for Guardianship of your mother. Do you have irrefutable evidence that you were supplying not only financial, but physical assistance to your mom? Can mom's doctor office, for example, verify that you were the one bringing mom to all her doctor appointments? What you need, is a lawyer, and the lawyer is going to need lots & lots of Evidence, that shows only you were looking out for your mom. Also, think of the counter -case against you (yes there will be one, if there is not one already.....). How will a non-related Judge look at the addition put on your home? The business loan? And will the Judge say that letter was written under duress? Who has the original copy? Was it written in your dad's hand, and/or was it notarized? Did he have an attorney write it up for him? Lots of little alarm bells in my head over this. I truly hope it all turns out for you favorably, however the siblings don't want to see mom left without Care, and, unfortunately for you, if mom is denied care because you received loans & home improvements, I can see why they might insist you pay for mom's care until she qualifies (including liquidating the assets you received ). But a lot will depend on how the Medicaid application goes, and if your sister is in charge of that--look out! You need a lawyer!
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Because I have this genetic autism disability, I will not have to move. I can own and keep the condo as long as I want to. I now live alone at age 59. However, when I do sell and move out or die, Medicaid OR will have to be repaid for the covered cost's of my late mother's care. And because I have lost my permanent job three years ago, now unemployed and currently do not earn money, Medi-Cal is providing my health care insurance free of charge. After I die, Medi-Cal will have to be repaid. Because I had no children and am also the youngest sibling of our family, I may donate any of my left over assets to charity.
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Just realized I don't think that is your question. How does a springing POA become effective? I'm not quite sure, but I've been warned it will be a hassle to get POA effective at an already chaotic time when the person becomes incapacitated. Hope someone else gives input about this. I am planning to have my father do durable POAs so as to avoid any later issues with getting it made effective. Good luck!
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There are different types of POA - there is a durable/standing (effective at signing and through any incapacitation), or springing (which goes into effect when person is incapacitated.)
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Thank you everyone for your feedback. Before my father's death, he and my mother signed a document giving my sister power of attorney so it would be in place if it was needed. He was getting everything in order and reviewed their finances with her, made her executor of their wills, and gave her medical power of attorney. But as I understand a POA it is not effective until they can no longer make decisions for themselves. I know Social Security would not talk to my sister about my mother's survivor benefits because she was not authorized. If a POA is signed prior to being needed, how does it become effective?
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My Aunt owned her house. She was on Medicaid and SSI. There is a lean on her house but...my cousin who lived with her is disabled and is allowed to live there. If he sells the house the lean will be satisfied at time of closing.
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I was born with a high functioning autism disability but lived with my mother for 38 years until she was 93. In 1991, we bought our condo (50% joint ownership). I was a full-time caregiver for the last year-and-a-half (2012-2013) until she had to enter assisted living in CA. Two of my siblings who live out-of-state were the only family who could help me with Mom's difficult assisted living arrangements during 2013 in CA. In late 2013, my brother in OR moved Mom to assisted living near his residence in OR when I could no longer be a POA to handle any of Mom's finances or assistance any longer; she also required a private room due to health and mental issues. My brother took over as POA. Mom went on Oregon Medicaid in December 2013 and died in November 2014.
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Your Dad was a smart man. I think Medicaid would take this onto consideration and won't penalize u. Are u ur Moms POA? If so, ur in charge until her death. Sisters being Dads executor has nothing to do with Mom. Executor only takes over upon death bf that POA is in charge. Call ur local Medicaid and see what they say. You r over the five year mark.
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Dear SeekingSerenity: First of all, let me ask why your sisters would think they would be applying for medicaid on your mother's behalf when you've been the caregiver. You're the one who should be making the decision when it's time. From what you've written, you stated that your sister is the executor of your dad's estate, but I'm not sure that gives her the right to decide when it's time for medicaid. You seem to be the main caregiver. I'm not good when it comes to legal things, but it sounds to me like you should seek help from your local Agency on Aging who could direct you to people who could help you. I hope this all works out for you in time. At times when our parents need help, it's sad that there has to be problems with siblings. The main concern here is your mom, and your sisters should be cooperative during this time and try to work with you, not against you. So sorry you have to deal with all of this. God bless.
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I don't know if they can do that, but I would suggest calling an elder law attorney. Call your local Council on Aging and get a recommendation. Good luck!
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