Hi everyone,

I don't want to go into a huge long story because I'm sure I'll run out of room, lol! But this is my first post. My mom has been in assisted living the last 4 years. My brother is her guardian and was her conservator, as I lived out of state and just moved back last year.

He ran through her money and then decided to not go to court to show the inventory for the last 1 1/2 years, so as of June, he was essentially fired for lack of better words, by the court. There isn't really proof of "stealing" per say, just wasn't responsible with her money, kept her house and was paying $25K-$30K per year on the mortgage and maintaining the property etc, even though no one lived there. So I don't think there is anything illegal there, just DUMB UGH!

So here is where it gets iffy --- my mom had 529s for her 6 grandkids. As of a few months ago, my mom was approved for a Medicaid waiver here in Michigan (which from my understanding is essentially my mom pays for her room and board and Medicaid pays for her care, at her assisted living) When we got the court appointed conservator last month, I've been speaking with her and it looks like my brother may have intentionally or unintentionally left the 529s off of the medicaid app. (she's working on getting copies of all of this) During this, my brother changed ownership on the 529 from my mom to him and he told me to do the same, change ownership from my mom to me.

Well I found out from the conservator that these are my mom's assets, as far as Medicaid is concerned and now she may be facing a Medicaid penalty / period of ineligibility.


Can my brother just transfer the money back, if he is willing? If not can he be "forced" to? He didn't illegally transfer, it was legal. It just happens to be my mom's asset and she has Medicaid. Are there any legal repercussions to getting this money back or is my mom SOL? (for what it's worth, I plan to have my mom live with me if I have to if she gets kicked out. UGH)

I talked to an elder attorney but she skimmed over this topic and since I didn't pay / retain her I don't feel comfortable asking more questions and wasting her time for now.

Can ANYONE shed any light on this??? Thank you so much!

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The home was in both their names, the daughter was added after the husband died. The daughter was in effect living with the mother. Yes Medicaid took the home.
Helpful Answer (0)
worriedinCali Jul 2019
Medicaid doesn’t actually take homes though. They attach leins.
I'm sorry you and your family are in this situation. I suggest paying for a few hours of a lawyer's time to figure out what to do.
Helpful Answer (1)

You need an attorney. Medicaid does consider 529s to be assets but there are legal ways to transfer them to a relative of the beneficiary without it affecting Medicaid eligibility. Your brother transferring the one 529 may have been done in a way that it won’t affect your moms medicaid eligibility. The one he wants you to transfer to your name, it may be too late to do that since she needs Medicaid now. And if she does get hit with a Medicaid penalty, the 529 account can be used to pay for her care. However this is the guardian’/conservator’s problem to sort out, is it not? I would hold off on paying a lawyer, however a lawyer is really the best person to speak with about this.
Helpful Answer (2)
lisab420 Jul 2019
Thank you! I have been consulting with an elder attorney but haven't retained one yet, but you're right, it is the guardian/conservators job to straighten out but as her daughter I'm basically up in everyone's business since my brother has already NOT been handling stuff well! ;)

My mom has been getting medicaid for a couple of months, as far as I know, my brother transferred AFTER the medicaid waiver so I think change of ownership on all the 529s was after.

I just don't want to get in trouble for something! I would never intentionally screw my mom over and just want to make sure I do right by her.
All I know is that Medicaid will get any and all monies they feel they are entitled to. If they smell fraud they will take it to the end of the earth to get the money. Your brother obviously did not know what he was doing or the money was just too tempting. Personally, I would hire an attorney, better now rather later, it will cost you a lot less. The money is hers, period and that is how Medicaid will look at it. I do estate planning and I have dealt with Medicaid, to make a long story short, one client's name was on her mothers house, she lived with her and cared for her, when she died, Medicaid took the house, didn't make any difference whose names were on the deed.
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