Both inlaws in nursing home, mother-in-law died, how much can my father in law have in the bank in the state of Maryland?

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They both signed off on selling their home last Thursday, mother in law passed the following Saturday. Is her signature still binding? There is $4200. in their bank account, they pre-arranged funeral, all paid for, can I remove the money for opening the grave? Also, the state taxes are due on their home and home owners insurance...and of course...the electric is being used at a minimum at the house. Also, they must pay for their telephone at the nursing home. We had been using what was received by Social Security from each for the month payments, which was $150.00 a month. Now that will be cut to $75.00 monthly and we will have the same bills. Can I access the money at the bank to spend down for these bills? Before I have to give it to the nursing home? Once their home is sold....can I put enough back into his bank account to bring it up to the minimum before the nursing home wants their share? They have not yet put a lien on the home.
Thank you, Jane

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The answer to your question(s) depends on the answer to several unanswered questions:
Is father-in-law (FIL) currently on Medicaid or is he looking to qualify for Medicaid?
Was mother-in-law (MIL) receiving Medicaid?
Did the closing take place before or after she passed away?
Generally, you may use their funds for anything related to the sale of the property and funeral expenses.
Otherwise, to remain on, or to receive Medicaid, FIL cannot have more than $2,000 in cash or equivalent assets. If he has substantially more than that as a result of the sale or otherwise I would urge you to look at ways to protect the money for his own benefit while on Medicaid. Simply spending it all down to $2,000 is a very bad idea.


If there was no lien on the house then there is no obligation to repay the state from the proceeds of the sale for MIL's care.
Was the
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I'd say the bank account and the house are two different issues. If your parents signed off on their house to pay and cover for the nursing home expenses then when your dad passes his estate will go into probate and the executor of his will will satisfy that the NH will get the proceeds from the sale of the house. His assets in his bank were not included in the sign-off right? I would just use the money to pay off what you need to pay and get him whatever he needs now and for the rest of his life. If your mom's social security is higher than dad's have SS change his social security to her amount.
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There are a # of things I'd be concerned about...
1. Banking - if the accounts are individual POD (pay on death) then whomever is listed as the POD can take money out. If it was a joint account, then dad can probably continue to use the account as before - so if you are his DPOA and have been doing his banking stuff, then you can just continue doing as before. Most banks place a freeze on an account once the obituary is placed and you will need to speak to a bank officer to make things work and have the freeze lifted.

2. House - OK are you saying the house was sold? If so, I'd call the Realtor asap about the timing of the signatures and the sale. If it went to closing and funds issued, it should be OK. OR are you saying they signed off on a contract with a Realtor to show and sell their home? Call the Realtor asap to see what needs to happen as some Realtors will need to place in the listing that the property is in estate or probate situation.

Now for another issue....were they on Medicaid prior to the sale of the house? If so, then the house may have a Medicaid recovery lein or claim on it (MERP). MERP would have been a notice within the Medicaid application if they applied after 2005 or 2006. For Texas, it is done as a Notice of Acknowledgement type of statement. Some states require that there be a MERP release from the state in order for a clear title to be issued. Depending on your state, there may not be an actual recorded at the assessor's office type of lein placed. Like in TX it cannot be a lein but a claim and so it doesn't show up as a traditional lien on the property. This can come as a surprise to both the buyer & seller as not all Realtors are aware of the hard issues of MERP and that it can delay or queer a sale. There are posts on this site from folks with after the fact MERP claims by the state that seem to be super PIA sticky to deal with.

3. Probate - you may have to actually do probate for MIL in order to get the proper legal releases to pay for her funeral & burial and other costs from her estate. IF there were costs for getting the property ready for going on the market and paid by you or other family with documentation, that can be filed as a claim or debt against her estate. Whomever was named as executor in her will can file a claim against the estate for management of the estate through probate too. So if your situation was say you & your SIL spend 6K for yard work on the house, and 1K to have the rugs cleaned to sell the house, etc, then you can tally all those up and have a claim against the proceeds of the sale which will be a part of her estate.

Really it's alot to ferret out and a good probate or elder law attorney can make all this so much less complicated. What may be suggested, if the house gets sold for alot of $$, is to take dad off of Medicaid and use the $ to private pay and spend-down in ways that is better that just turning it over to the state. Say dad needs dental work done and Medicaid doesn't pay for that - if you are in private pay mode you can use his money to get the dental work done and it is a totally legit spend down of his funds. Good luck, get your paperwork organized and see legal.
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Medicaid limits you to $2000 in the bank. The proceeds from the sale of ANYTHING within 5 years must go to their care. If the house money is set aside, medicaid will not pay, and you will be in deep doo-doo with the feds.
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medicaid......wants you to be poor and destitute......a 'street person'......and then they will take care of you......they don't want you to have any money to leave to your loved ones......medicaid comes first.......they want to control you
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Any money you receive prior to nursing home should be put in your husband's name. I think Medicare will only allow you to keep $3,000 and they only give a very small amount for spending money. Like $50.00 a month. Also, they are going back for 7 years on what they spent money on and if they show large gifts or big withdrawls they could make you pay it back. They are getting very strict. You can only draw her money out for a good reason. So, if you could take $1,000 at a time for a vacation or work on the house or anything she may need, they will not count that against her. But, any other money spent goes back 7 years. I cannot see how they can make it retro so far back but they have. I understand that they have to be paid to keep it where everyone can get in but I don't believe going back 7 years is reasonable. They are not going to let her have much so take our what you can for whatever reason you need and then put it in your name. She can withdraw cash, so it cannot be traced. It is ashame we are forced to do this but the government is forcing us to salvage what little they have left. My mother has $5,000 and they will take at least $2,000 and maybe more. The $3,000 may be higher than it actually is. I think it depends on the circumstances. But, they are at the mercy of the nursing home and government rules that are hurting the elderly who have so little cash as it is. This leaves nothing for them to live on for extra expenses or for the family to supplement a private room. Our elderly are being abused and neglected by our government while so many people get all the welfare and should be out working. I belive is you are under 65 and in good health it should be mandatory to work some kind of job. There are plenty service and labor jobs available but they get free everything, including cell phones. And they are taking from the elderly who have worked hard and earned what little they have managed to save. Only the wealthy can afford a private nursing home and most of us have parents who worked hard but are now living on meager Medicare or some retirement. But, most women in their 80's did not work out of the home or have a retirement. But, even with a small retirement and my Medicare disability, it is not enough for me to pay for a private nursing home.

I hope you can find a way to keep her money in your name so the nursing home will not take it. As for the house, in our State, you cannot sell it until after they pass away and we have to wait 6 months after that. Have you checked into a reverse mortgage? If there is a lot of equity in the home, it may be worth while but please check with an estate planner. They are well worth the cost and can show you the best way to keep what she has. Having power attorney is not enough. You also need an iron clad will. The power of attorney is no good once they pass away. I need to get POA for my Mother but she cannot decide between me or my brother so I just left it alone. His health is worse than mine but I want her to do what is best for her and makes her more comfortable. Either of us are capable of handling it and I don't mind if she gives it to my brother. He is as honest as the day is long and he will look after her best interest, just as I would. I am the oldest but she always depended on me but she has gotten closer to him since her Dementia and it will not make any difference which one of us has it. He is on her banking now anyway. And he manages her money online and does a good job. I am computer illiterate and I don't bank online. I do it the old fashion way. lol

My best and hope you can salvage all of her your MIL's savings. You will need it to help her when she goes to the nursing home and she no longer has an income.

Sunny in South Carolina
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Thats a fact Roscoe. They help those who could help themselves and not the elderly we owe the help to. It really is a big pet peeve of mine. No one seems to care about our seniors today. It breaks my heart. But, we are helpless.

Sunny
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Where does anyone get the idea that the state ( government) controls your money? The thought of a lien on your real property is abhorrent to me.
Read Gabriel Heiser's advice and consult a good elder-care attorney. The thought of "spending down" so you can spend some more is absolutely crazy.
One must pay taxes, of course, but to allow a facility to grab your money unless you want them to, is ridiculous. If you do need a Nursing Home, can you pay privately? Do you need Medicaid if you or your spouse have money of your own? Pls do the math on this drama.
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N1 - love your "do the math on this drama". Well said.

Moonbeam - MediCARE doesn't give a whack about how much $ the elder has. Medicare is all about payment for medical services,hospitalization & hospice and is a general overall entitlement run by the feds. The rules are pretty uniform from state to state. MedicAID on the other hand is an at-need program in which income and assets are critical in determining if they qualify for MedicAID. This site has many many good articles on what they are and how they differ. It really is important that you understand what they do and more importantly don't do.

Do you realize the extent of the governmental support that elders get - like Social Security, Medicare (especially the hospice benefit) - that all of us support to maintain? My mom is mid90's and by far, the benefits she has gotten from Medicaid, Medicare and SS system has overwhelmingly been much much more that she or my dad ever paid into the system as she is still alive and kicking and mid90's. It's my experience that if they live long enough, by & large, they will run out of money and thank goodness there is SS, Medicare and Medicaid out there.

MedicAID is strictly an "at-need" program and as such the applicant has to be "at-need" both financially and medically for a program and the need must be documented. Medically they have to be at the point where they require skilled nursing care. Financially they have to be impoverished for individual Medicaid for NH. In general that means that they cannot have more than 2K in nonexempt assets and under whatever their state has set for monthly income (most states are 2K but can be higher or lower dependent on the state as states manage & set the rules on Medicaid, like TX is $ 2,094.00 for income ceiling). The state has to be provided documentation that shows the applicant has reached the impoverishment point without improperly transferring assets to avoid the assets inclusion in their Medicaid application. That is what the 5 yr look-back is all about. Really if there was no lookback, then the elder or a DPOA could for their elder: change property ownership; empty out savings; cash in whole life insurance policies; margin call investments today and then apply for Medicaid for NH tomorrow and expect the state to pay the elders NH costs in full for the rest of their lifetime. If that was allowed to happen there would be no Medicaid program at all for anybody as the costs - which already are staggering - would collapse the system. The look-back is critical for the program to exist.

You are NOT required to ever apply for Medicaid, unlike SS or Medicare which you pay into via FICA. If you don't want to comply with the lookback, then figure out how to private pay for a facility or keep your elder at home - whether for the rest of their life or for 6 years so you can do whatever planning needed to get past the look-back and work with an attorney and financial planner or stockbroker to provide the guidance and expertise needed to do things correctly. Most lookback reviews are not 5 years, as really the caseworker doesn't have the time to do that. (For my mom it was 3 years and 6 months of financials.) My gut feeling is that a 5 yr review is done when the caseworker senses an irregularity or there are big gaps in the documents and family just isn't being responsive to the caseworker. Then that level of review is kicked up beyond the local caseworker and done by those who know forensic accounting and have a program to do it. If your mom's bank account today shows $ 1K in savings and last year showed 50K, then there will be hard questions that need to be answered with documentation by the elder or family regarding if a penalty is in order before Medicaid will approve an application.

The NH has pretty strict regulations they have to comply by. They are a business and fully expect to be paid for their services - whether private pay, LTC insurance or via Medicaid. If you want a private room, then it's by & large a private pay situation. If they are on Medicaid, then they have to be in & on Medicaid rules, which requires roommate situations. But there are always ways to adapt a rule....in my mom's NH the rooms at the end of the halls are smaller due to the stairwells. So those rooms are individual rooms and totally OK for Medicaid because they just can't fit a second bed. I could put mom on the list for those rooms, if we wanted to (she likes the activity that a roommate provides), but I would have to do something to make that happen & not just say I'm helpless.
Knowledge is power and if the rules and regulations are such that you don't understand, then you need to find those who can help you to do that.
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Knowledge is power, for certain; and the rules and regulations hard to understand for virtually anyone who is not a lawyer, CFP, or who otherwise works (in some capacity) within the LTC industry. But the problem is that the rules and regs keep changing; plus almost everyone you ask has a different answer.
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