If both disabled parents are using Medicaid (one in a nursing home and one still at home), can their house and other assets be taken away to pay for their care?

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I moved back home and left my job in another State because my father had a stroke and cannot walk. My mother is blind because of glaucoma and needs assistance most of the time. I am overwhelmed with bills, etc. I need to work but I know I can't leave my mother alone for long periods of time. I was thinking of helping my mother apply or medi-cal so she can get IHSS but worried that it will affect my father's medi-cal with the nursing home. If my mother applies will they take more money away and will they take their home? There is so much that I don't understand.

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Let me assure you immediately that no one is going to "take" your parent's home while they alive. The home may be subject to estate recovery upon the last to die but that is only if the house is subject to probate.

In most states this can be avoided either by creating what is known as a "enhanced life estate" deed or placing the home in a revocable living trust.

Here is what you need to know about applying for Medicaid (Medi-Cal) when both husband and wife will be receiving benefits:

1. Assets - when just dad went on Medi-Cal he could not have more than $2k in assets and anything over that would have been transferred to mom. If she applies she will not be permitted more than $2k also. Don't spend the money down. There are ways to preserve the money for your parents benefit and still qualify her immediately.

2. Testamentary documents - you must not let one inherit from the other. Restructure wills, trusts, life insurance, etc., so the beneficiaries are other than your parents.

3. DPOA - this really should have been at the top of the list...make sure you have an adequate Durable Power of Attorney (or a trust document naming you as successor trustee in the event of disability)!

4. If you have your name joint on any accounts remove your name immediately and file the aforementioned DPOA with their financial institutions so you will have the ability to manage their affairs.

Dude, you are a hero in my book. Good luck.
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