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I am the only surviving child of my 81 year old father and have just recently learned that the family home, which was promised to me as my inheritance for the entire course of my lifetime, is now in total jeopardy of being lost to Medicaid. Both of my parents were always very real estate savvy where as I was more unaware for several (totally inexcusable) reasons. Normally a person of my age (53) would not be totally dependent on their future inheritance for a place to live, but I was forced to leave my long term marriage (26 years) with little more than a promise to be allowed to live in the marital home for life and long term alimony payments. Due to my own stupidity, naivety, and however else it could be described - I am now in a bad position and was totally relying on my parent's promises of the inheritance as my safety net. Now I learn that should my father need to go into a nursing home for an extended stay, even though he owns his home outright, there is a very high chance Medicaid will seize his assets before allowing him to enter any nursing facility, or else he will have to pay for his own medical care which will quickly eat up any savings he claims to have. This seems to indicate, in my view, that I am now very highly likely to end up totally homeless since he has never wanted to sign the home over to me, still to this day does not want to sign the home over and is content to just hope he dies suddenly and let everything stay as it is legally. I am beside myself with grief since this most likely means not only will I not inherit the family home (which my deceased Mother always viewed as my (and her beloved grandchildren’s future inheritance) but my six children, ten grandchildren, and the entire family will not have any inheritance from me or my parents. My grown children’s father has proven to be totally untrustworthy, unreliable, and mentally unstable and there is certainly no guarantee they will inherit anything from him either, as he has since re-married and cared only for his second family, although may soon be divorced from his second wife. This is a truly devastating situation and I am not quite capable of recovering fully from this terrible news, and feel very embarrassed to have been so foolish and not have learned more about the Medicaid system earlier. Be that as it may, I am still my father's only surviving child, and the only person who cares enough for him to help him in any way. He is totally proud, obstinate, offensive, controlling, demanding, and I am now finally accepting narcissistic. My original question was to be: how can an only child get over the resentment felt for the loss of a very needed home and still care (cheerfully) for her aged narcissistic father who she already felt much anger towards for other long standing emotional abuse issues? He still resides in the home, has many health issues, refuses any outside help, insists he is fine although will gladly give an itemized list of his ailments, and has an altogether dower look on life and always has. He refuses to take any antidepressants, is drinking daily, states openly he wants to die, and has begun to alienate even his doctors. I am at my wits end and still feel guilty just for writing this, let alone feeling these terrible, mixed up, confusing, debilitating emotions knowing he is very old, very weak, very needy, and very alone. I suppose we both need help now as the stress alone is completely taking over my life, and I really see no hope in the future, yet feel unable to contribute more to his care than being a long distance care giver and being there for him when he needs assistance for doctor and/or hospital visits. Other than that he is on his own and I cannot shake the tremendous guilt, fear, worry, anxiety, and other myriad emotions that accompany caring for someone I feel emotional attachment yet have to keep an emotional/physical distance from for self-protection. Depression does run very strongly in the entire family but was never recognized as a legitimate disease by my father, and has systematically been dismissed as “frivolous,” not deserving of attention (or medication) at least not for him. Perhaps he has changed his views in regards to the treatment of depression in the rest of his family but it is not something he has ever openly discussed, acknowledged, or spoken about with me. I want to be there for him, I do love him, but I am so emotionally distraught I feel like it is better to stay away rather than release any of this animosity towards him at this point in time. That does seem pointless and cruel as he is already suffering, sad, and simply waiting to die which is totally impossible to live with on a daily basis, at least from my point of view. I visit as often as possible, make meals that can be frozen when possible, and otherwise check on him as best that I can; but it feels far from enough, and I know he needs more help. The guilt is awful as is the anxiety, worry and fear.

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I absolutely LOVE that sally10 has posted this. She is letting us all know that she has derived some stress relief from coming here and talking to other caregivers. I for one am very happy that she feels calmer, that her father has acceded to visit the lawyer and that she feels she has a path. What I most enjoy is that she is telling us so. I haven't read every post ever written, but on the many I have, it seems the asker often goes away for awhile without offering any updates about the situation they were questioning. There is no requirement to do so and this is not a judgement of those who don't, but it is a plea hoping that more will. Being alliwed to stay in the loop so to speak, to know and understand path being taken and maybe even know the conclusion is more helpful than just answering the question.
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That was the nicest thank-you ever...I am very glad we could help. As you go through this whole thing, you may find that you can offer the same kind of help to others here, and being able to do that seems to give more meaning to what we have been through ourselves. I know that's why I am still on here...hugs, again!
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I would like to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to offer your thoughts and advice. This is most surprising to me because I have been wrestling with these questions, issues, and emotions for such a long time and have really felt very inept at finding any good answers, or even knowing who to ask. From what I have read here, and on other areas of this site, I now know much more than I ever thought possible, feel calmer and at least have some idea of how to move forward. I cannot express how grateful I am for your helpful comments, even those that sound somewhat harsh. Unfortunately, the reality is - and it is taking some serious time to let it all sink in, there really are no easy answers and these are truly very troubling issues for all of us: our parents, ourselves, our children, and our families. Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies and I will try my best to get a grip and seek out some professional legal advice. My Dad did suggest recently that we could talk to an attorney if I wanted, so I will try and take him up on that offer. Even if his attorney is not the best qualified, which I will prepare for now, the visit itself may spark up the right conversations so that some of these tough issues can be at least considered. Thank you all, again, and I hope to reach out in the future should I find myself once again paralyzed with guilt, fear and disbelief and totally dumbfounded as I have been for too long already. I love my Dad, but unfortunately we have all made some serious financial decisions that have left us in this predicament, and I have to try and regroup before there is nothing I can do about any of this. I am very grateful for your help.
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I really like momskeeper's note because you really do need to see what the paperwork situation is; if there is not an actual written will, state laws can vary quite a bit. Someone needs to have Dad's POA too if possible. Also, you have to think of what your income might be now and later when you are on your own to keep up maintenance and taxes on the home. At this stage, Dad likely cannot gift or transfer the home to you or put it in a trust because of look-back periods; in Pennsylvania, I actually had to get my parent's home OUT of a trust so it would counted as the (exempt) home and not counted as an asset when Dad needed Medicaid and Mom was the community spouse. I found a good elder-care attorney who did a consultation for us for about $300.00 and that was all we ever needed done. If it turns out all you need is a will written up, you might start a pre-paid legal service which usually includes that and can be handy for other things too. You might start by Googling "estate recovery Medicaid" and your state to get more information, and find the attorney if you need one by picking one whose website reflects sound knowledege of the Medicaid system. Also, in general, as long as the person states they intend to return to the home it is considered exempt, along with one vehicle, and any burial/funeral insurance policies; insurance with cash value may otherwise not be exempt, but life insurance policies without cash value are exempt and as long as someone pays premiums, the beneficiary still receives the payout and Medicaid does not have any claim to that at all.

Now for the heartache side. I am an only child too. I ended up selling Mom's home to pay for her care. I kept a bit of a journal and I wrote them that it was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. I still think it was. I still miss it. I feel guilty about missing it nearly as much as I miss Mom and Dad. You may not ever have to do that. If Dad can live in that house until he dies, from his point of view that might be what he really wants though it will seem absolutely awful at the time. That is what happened to my aunt, and my cousin never had to worry about paying for her long-term care, though I think - no, I know - she would have rather done that than lose her then, if she'd had the choice. But she didn't. My cousin just had to take care of a huge hoarded mess and pile of mutual credit card debit that my aunt left behind -despite being a professional, a PhD theologian among other things, she did not know better than to put her name on various accounts so she could help her mom handle them. I'm just saying - these things aren't our choices at all, necessarily; our parents made various choices, some the product of the era they grew up in, when there did not used to be anything like "estate recovery" - no one was taking anyone's house to pay for care, it was not so expensive and it was sometimes covered various ways that it is not covered any more. Your parents assumed things had not changed as much as they had. My parents assumed that a house put in trust meant I would inherit it too, I think. My mom assumed her care would be covered by Medicare and her "long term care policy" which actually wasn't one at all (it was bascially a Banker's Life rip-off scheme and did not come close to paying her actual costs, nor was it a simple matter to get them to pay anything at all...) They were well-intentioned and one step ahead of people who did no planning whatsoever, but they were sold some bad advice by salespeople that came over to the house and flattered them into signing and doing quite a few things incorrectly.

Look, give your dad the best care you can, make any happy memories you can, sounds like not many under the circumstances but maybe there are a few things to be enjoyed together - maybe a glass of wine or whatever he is drinking, just not too much of it?? - some stupid TV shows or movies?? remembering you can't make him be someone he isn't and bear as low a burden of guilt or responsbility for that as you can. And don't underestimate the value of being there for his medical visits and the other things you are doing. Unless he is totally unsafe and unable to live without more help, no one can really make him accept more either. It was harsh when I first heard it, but I expressed worry about "if my parents die" to an estate planner when they visited, and the nice man said they "WOULD die" ...and of course, they did, in a few more years...this is a hard road but most of us are on it.
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Your Dad had promised you the house. Is that in writing?? Unless you see it for yourself you need to be sure he has a will done by a lawyer. If he really wants your help he will be willing to do this.
An observation: When did it become so important that a parent leave an inheritance to their kids. I have seen too many kids sit and wait for their inheritance and when they got it they didn't have the skills to handle it properly and it was gone in no time. Or they frittered it away on things or drugs or friends who hung around until the money was gone. Do your kids a big favor. Tell them not to expect an inheritance. Go to school, get a job, make a life for themselves. Save for their old age. Then if they get a little or a lot when you are gone, it will be a nice surprise and they will smile every time they think of you. You will know they care about you for who you are not what they think they are going to get. If I happen to be killed in an accident my kids are going to be speechless and I will be smiling in my grave because I know how much they will get and they don't.
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I'm sorry for your situation, but agree that you need to grieve and then let go and get on with life. No one in this day and age should be hoping for any inheritance including our own children unless we are EXTREMELY wealthy. Healthcare costs, long term care insurance and/or care facilitities will be very expensive. Everyone can plan to stay in their home or think they can afford to hire "assistance" when the time comes, but it's not a reality. Assets will go very quickly.

My point is that you and your children should make sure you can take care of yourself, work and save, control spending and start long term care insurance whilenyounare younger and healthy.

Many people start from scratch and have been unemployed, re entering workforce etc so you will too. Nearly all of my friends have never been left anything because parents needed it or grandma and grandpa never had it in the first place. My parents got nothing from their parents and expected nothing. My mom is widowed and thinks she has lots of money, and gets along fine but has no reality of how fast it will all go if she has to go into a facility. I just want her safe and happy...so if she has to use up all her money and sell her home to be in a decent place...I wouldn't want it any other way.

You've had some tough breaks and have been admittedly naive about your future but time to get some legal guidance and get out and start planning for your future with or without an inheritance. Help your children now learn from your mistakes and plan for their future without expecting a golden egg down the road.
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If you take care of your dad yourself he won't need to go into a nursing home and you can inherit his house.
I say this not because I'm pushing the idea nursing one's parents. In fact, I don't plan to provide nursing care for my own father, BUT I also don't plan to inherit anything from him.
If you want his assets, then don't make him spend his assets on care. Medicaid is for people who don't have assets.
This is a cautionary tale. If your parent has 'promised' you their house, you and they should keep in mind that their house is pretty much like any other asset* (stocks, bonds, cash...) and they might have to spend it if they need to pay for a lot of care before they die. If they're adamant about having their children inherit it, they ought to give it to their children outright (and then be sure to live another 5+ years).

* there are some key differences if there's a spouse involved or if there's a chance a person will return to their house from a nursing home. See an elder law specialist.
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Sallie - I'm sorry for your situation. Your parents made incorrect statements and led you to believe you would inherit their home. You feel betrayed, abandoned, and foolish. I understand.

Get over it. Not in a mean way, but you can't stay paralyzed by these feelings. You need to accept that your future MAY BE different from what you expected. You don't know what will happen. He might fall down the stairs tonight and break his neck, and the house is yours! I assume that's not what you want, but lots of people die fairly quickly. He might be in the NH for 6 months, and his savings will cover that. You might inherit the house, and have it destroyed by a tornado before you can move in.

Calm down. I hate it when people say it could be worse, but it could be. Your father could be homeless already, and you might be needed to buy him new underwear out of your limited means.

Getting over it will take time, but the sooner you start thinking and learning and acting, the better. It's good you learned about this before he has to go to the NH. You need to read all the books in the library on MERP and Medicaid, so that you understand the rules. You need to have a calm discussion with your father to explain to him how it works. I bet he doesn't want the government to get its hands on his assets.

You HAVE to go to an elder law attorney with him because he won't listen to you because you're a girl and don't know anything. He also won't listen to you if you're hysterical. You may be able to save the house, but you need to calm down.

I had a good career, and my own house, but after my parents were gone and the house was sold, I felt like an orphan. Always I had it in the back of my mind that I could move home if I needed to. I felt uneasy when that was gone. Your feelings are natural, and I am sorry for how upset you are, but all is not lost.
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I am going to say that you need to go and see a Family Law Attorney who can spell this all out for you. If nothing else see if you can obtain guardianship over your father. Seek the attorneys help as it is long and difficult and costly but may be worth it in the long run. Get up and get busy, quite sitting there, you have no time to waste!
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Sally10 - You are overwhelmed and need to break things down into stuff you can deal with. First of all "Medicaid will seize his assets before allowing him to enter any nursing facility, or else he will have to pay for his own medical care which will quickly eat up any savings he claims to have" is not accurate.

It's really important that you understand how Medicare and Medicaid work (& differ) and how Medicaid is managed in your state. Medicare is federal and how it pays and for what is pretty well universal. If Dad gets hospitalized or discharged from a hospital to a NH for rehab, Medicare will be paying for this. Dad paid for Medicare from work and continues to a pay for Medicare from a deduction on his monthly SS income too.

Now for Medicaid, it is an "AT-NEED" program which basically requires that the recipient be at need financially and medically for skilled nursing care. Each state has specific ceilings and requirements for how the at-need is determined.Medicaid does NOT seize their assets. Medicaid does not get into anyone's bank account and take funds.

But Medicaid does require that in order to get Medicaid that they have limited income and assets. In general, it's 2K in non-exempt assets and 2K in monthly income for Medicaid. If their n.e. assets are above 2K, they will need to spend-down their assets before Medicaid. What they spend-down on is pretty wide as long as it is for themselves or their property. If your dad has savings or investments and does not do planning in a 5 year advance, he is expected to spend his $ on his care before the state will pay. Most often spend-downs are done on a prepaid no cash value funeral and burial policies; dental work; new eyeglasses & hearing aids. But really anything for themselves is OK. They can also spend-down by getting a car (check on state limit on value) or by repairs or expenses on their home. They & family can determine what would be the best place for spending, the state is not going to come in and say you can't get new eyeglasses. For my mom, we did a significant amount of $ in dental when she was in IL as dental is not really covered by Medicaid and we knew eventually (if she lived long enough which we thought would be the case) that she would go to a NH and run out of $ and apply for Medicaid.

Also Medicaid requires a co-pay. So if dad gets 8K in SS & 1K in retirement, dad's "income" is $ 1,800.00. Each state has a personal needs allowance that the NH Medicaid resident can keep. It ranges from $ 35 - 90 a month. Say yours is $ 50. So each month dad MUST PAY $1,750.00 to the NH as his required co-pay. All dad will have is 50 a month and really it is only enough to pay for barbershop, magazine, phone at the NH or clothing. I bring this up because IF there still is a home, someone other than Dad will have to pay for all costs on the home. Someone will have to pay the taxes, insurance, yard work, utilities, etc. on the house. If you or other family do not have the means to do this, keeping the home just won't work for the long haul. His home will be an exempt asset (in most states) for his lifetime for Medicaid, but somebody will have to pay for all home costs for the possible years & years of Dad's life. If dad is 95, then the statistics are maybe a year or two, but if Dad is 75, then a decade plus. It's something that can't be ignored when you are evaluating about what to do.

Also you need to see what the post-death exemptions are for Medicaid in your state. Most states have a caregiver exemption that allows for family who is a full-time caregiver at the Medicaid receipent home, who provided care for a period of time before they entered the NH (could be 2 years, could be less...again it's a state thing) and can document (usually a MD letter) that their caregiving for X amount of time kept the Medicaid recipient from going to a NH (which the state would have paid for), then that caregiver will get an exemption to any claim the state could make on the property after Dad's death (this is done through MERP - estate recovery). Understand?

There are also exemptions for family who would inheirit the property and are at or below state set poverty limits and would qualify for another state at-need program if they did not have the house to live in situations. So if you live at Dad's and qualify for Section 8 if you did not live at dad's house, you could get an exemption
for any state claim or lein on the home. Other exemptions are for disabled heirs,or property that is the site of family business or farm. Your state's Medicaid site should have a listing of the exemptions. The key with exemptions is that you have to apply for them after death and in the required time frame and with the documentation needed. Most are within 30-60 days.

You may find that you kinda have to become dad's full-time caregiver for the next couple of years in order to safeguard the house and have some degree of control over your future IF you can provide the level of care that Dad needs. And wait & caregive for the 2 or whatever years before dad applies for Medicaid. You have to be realistic on what Dad's needs are and whether you can do what is needed. Not everybody is cut out to be a day in & out caregiver for the elderly. I know I'm not.
Dad cannot gift you or anyone $ either but you might be able to do a personal services contract in which he pays you as a job (and you pay taxes on it - all totally legit and also builds your SS for your future).

At this point in time, you don't have alot of the long term planning options that the 5 year window allows. But really you need to speak with an elder care attorney to see what is feasible and needed best for Dad's situation. What works in 1 state may not at all work in another state. Good luck.
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corrections ... America home & miracle house were supposed to read: marital home & marital house.
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I'm a little confused by your story. You say you were forced into some kind of settlement to be able to live in America home for the rest of your life and have alimony? Did I misunderstand that? So even if Medicaid were to take your father's house how are you homeless? It would be helpful if you could explain it please...

Now, if something is going to change with that arrangement and you could find a way to live with your father and be his caregiver, even if he goes into a nursing home on Medicaid or on his savings or some combination of the two, if a family member is living in the family house and there is a hardship involved, Medicaid often does not pursue the takeover of the house. Depending on whether it you do or don't have your miracle house to live in, which again I'm not clear on, if you have a hardship reason to live in your dads house even passed his facility placement your dads house could possibly still be left alone.

talk to your dad about the two of you going to an elder care attorney, and getting things set up to protect the two of you. Laws about trusts and estates change dynamically and dramatically. You must convince your dad that not updating the situation well cause you harm.
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This will sound tough...but the home IS your father's and not yours. You may have been promised the home as an inheritance, but that was clearly promised without taking into account your parent's care as they aged. One way you could stay in the home is to care for your dad at home, perhaps?

Regarding your father, I think you simply need to draw a boundary, grieve you will not be able to have the home you thought you had the rights to, and create new dreams for yourself.
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