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Hi,
I became POA for my dad in July after a medical emergency, and then he has been in my care since September as he can no longer live independently. I bought siblings, my kids and all other grandkids Christmas gifts (as my parents have always done) in December at Dad’s direction, with his credit card, and my son’s birthday present, again at Dad’s direction, in March. Because of Medicaid look back , I can’t actually give anyone gifts even if he is wanting me to and I have gifting power as POA, right? I was thrown into this POA at the time, and didn’t realize all the different implications, but do I need to go back and figure all this out and pay it back (probably $1500 total)? Obviously I won’t do it anymore!!


And he has always, for years, taken us out to dinner once a month; since COVID and him becoming bedbound, it’s been me picking up carryout once a month, but he can’t do that either, right? I can’t use his money for anything that’s not solely for his personal benefit because of Medicaid? I’m not upset I just want to make sure from here on out I’m doing this right! Thank you!

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No, your Dad is allowed to give Christmas presents. The problem is that you are not keeping records. That is crucial to being POA. You must keep meticulous records of Dad's expenditures for every penny out and every penny into his accounts. A monthly accounting. Then it would be a folder for receipts and for every expense. For instance
Assets in: March 2020
Social Security xxx.xx
Pension xxx.xx
Assets out: March 2020
Rental xxx.xx
Christmas present xx.xx
Food xx.xx
Repair tub xx.xx

And this goes in a folder. Nothing fancy. Just keeping paying as John Doe by Christine Doe as POA on checks, and accounts kept clean and separate.
No big payments, ie for college, down payments on phones and so on. Those are gifting and will count against him for medicaid.
If you don't understand your duties as POA it is CRUCIAL that you learn them. Go to an Elder Law Attorney if you must (Your Dad's estate pays for that as well). Or get books and plumb the internet.
I knew nothing when I started doing this for my bro. I learned FAST.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Carolann2244 Apr 6, 2021
Yup thank GOD for this site!! I had no idea. Co-mingling funds stops now, and I’ve already set up a folder system and spreadsheet for receipts and records from here on out. Everything else I’ve bought with his CC was meds or needed personal items or safety items (like a bed rail, door alarm, incontinence underwear before he got the catheter, ect) so I’m not worried about that, but I will be tracking everything from here on out! Thank you!
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Don't worry about $1500. I just went through all this in the last 3 years with my mother. You need to see a Medicaid Attorney (not an Elder care Attorney) right away. Not because you've done anything wrong, because you haven't, but because you want to know what's in store as POA and your continuing hands on with your father and his finances. Don't be scared of this, the more you know, the better you can sleep. Early-on people would tell me what I learned was nonsense. (On this forum, too :)) The more you know, FACTUALLY, the better. A Medicaid 5-year look back on applies after ever dime/asset that your dad has has been spent, including selling his house. But it's up to you to keep track of expenses. I urge you to see a Medicaid Attorney to thoroughly understand this process BEFORE assets are utilized. Good luck!
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Reply to ArtMom58
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The $1500 is no big deal for Medicaid purposes.

You cannot use his credit card for purchases with POA documents. You need to become an authorized user on his account and have an additional card sent in your name, POA.
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Reply to Stacy0122
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Question. Do you have POA for medical - allows you to make medical decisions for him? Do you have POA for financial - allows you to make financial decisions for him?

If you have POA for financial - you can conduct all financial business in his name. Gifting is not the problem with having POA. You have been doing what he haw always done financially. In that sense, you have not "screwed up" or done anything wrong.

Medicaid is a separate issue. Medicaid has different rules about how anybody spends his or her money. I suggest you contact Medicaid or a lawyer or CPA to get the rules on finances. You probably do not have to "pay back" the money but you will probably need to better understand what qualifies.

Praying you get some peace and continue helping your dad in this way.
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Carolann2244 Apr 9, 2021
I am DPOA and MPOA and he lives with me for care. I’m looking for a lawyer now, thank you! He was doing so poorly all fall that I wasn’t even thinking about Medicaid and the future, just spending as much time with him as I could, but he has made a huge recovery since February and now I can potentially see this situation going years instead of months. Which is absolutely great and I’m so incredibly thankful, but I have 3 kids 9-14 years old who also need my time and attention, so there may come a time in the future when care in my home just can’t continue. I hope not, but want to make sure if we need it down the road, that Medicaid will be available.
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The amount you paid is a nominal amount, but you should find out what the laws of your state regarding Medicaid are. Just keep track of the gifting and make sure it doesn't go over the amount.

Do some research in your or your father's state regarding duties of POA. Make sure to keep yours and your father's money separate. Your main duty is to act in your father's best interest.

Also know as long as he is competent he can make his own decision, can revoke and reappoint agents to act for him. When I became my parents' POA I would talk over decisions with them and told them I would continue to do so as long as they were able to make decisions. My POA is durable and covers both medical and financial. Before she was fully vaccinated I asked my mother what her wishes were if she were to get COVID and need a ventilator - she said she'd have to think about it. Luckily she never got COVID and if she gave me her decision, I would have followed it - if she hadn't given me an answer I would have made the decision on my own after consulting the doctors.

If you have siblings I wouldn't exclude them but remember you are charged with acting for your father. If my brother was more available and less emotional, I would ask his opinion, but it isn't to be in my case. That doesn't mean I don't keep him informed of what major events happen.

Don't freak out, breathe and research. You'll be fine.
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Reply to cweissp
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1500 is nothing. Depending on what your state has decided on as the monthly amount for care, it would be a fraction of a month's worth of penalty. He'd only be denied that amount of care.
My parents gave $144,000.00 to my sister and I am the POA who had to discover this through applying for Medicaid. Wow. The penalty was so big, my mother didn't outlive it!
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Reply to covidfornow
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Honestly, my dad is 98. If he wants to give a Christmas gift like he did this year to children and grandchildren I let him. I am not concerned with a 5 year look back on things he has bought or done over his entire life. He determined is 50 year old windows needed to be replaced. He replaced them. The home needed a new roof, he had the new roof put on. The look back period is to make sure he was not dolling out cash un realistically.
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my2cents Apr 9, 2021
Repairs on his home wouldn't be considered - as long as there are contracts for the services. Christmas and other gifts can be considered a means to reduce money to qualify for Medicaid sooner. Ultimately, they are usually looking for abnormal spending amounts over the past 5 years that would indicate that's what happened. Roofing payment made to someone with same last name or a family company might be questioned. -- I wouldn't have the heart to tell my parent they could no longer buy some Christmas or birthday presents either. She was never wealthy, didn't buy extravagant items, so doubt it would be questioned.
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I don't think the small amount of Christmas gifting or for birthdays is going to be an issue for you. That is really not a large amount that raises a flag of trying to give away money to qualify for Medicaid. For the future, you would do better to purchase a couple of gifts a month for next Christmas and upcoming birthdays. When evaluating lookback, they are looking for monies going out of the household each month. $1500 over the period of 12 mos is not huge. You might even try to find smaller gifts so that dad has something to give.
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Reply to my2cents
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Here is my question. You keep saying at Dad's discretion You are POA for a reason. Your dad is no longer capable of managing his financial affairs. Why are you listening to him about gifting??
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Reply to MsRandall
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Imho, when dealing with your question about Medicaid, it's best to check your state's Medicaid rules.
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