My mother and I have a joint account. What does this mean if she has to go to a nursing home? - AgingCare.com

My mother and I have a joint account. What does this mean if she has to go to a nursing home?

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I have an account in both my mother's and my name. She is going into a nursing home and will soon deplete her savings. Is half of the money in the account considered mine since my name is on the account? Will I lose my half of the money in the account in order for her to qualify for Medicaid?

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My Mom's 98, and it looks as thought she'll be going in a nurse home soon. She has about $20,000 in a joint account, with me. However, it's her money, deposited by Soc. Sec. and her small pension. So, if she does go in a nurse home, I don't think her SS and pension will cover the cost. What happens to the money in the bank account?
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The rep. payee forms can be done found on-line and mailed in to the SSA office. The form is simple to complete and if there are no other family members interested in assuming the task than you shouldn't have a problem. Here is the link for those of you who are interested. http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-11.pdf
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Try calling SSA to see if you can set up an appointment. Only other thought I have. You can call them and they can call you back. I had them call me back several times when I was my mom's payee. Wouldn't hurt to try.
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I just thought of one big drawback -- here it can take 1-4 hours to talk to someone at SSA. The idea of my mother (on walker) and me going down there, trying to find a parking place, and waiting several hours is not very appealing.
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I have my name on my mother's checking and savings accounts. I don't put any of my money into her accounts, so all the money is hers. I keep mine in an account with only my name on it. This separates and protects my money from claims to cover her debts, while giving me the ability to do her banking and pay her bills. It is also handy when it comes to avoiding probate. The risky part of this is what if I should get in trouble and incur debt. Her money is not protected from claims to cover my debts. The Rep Payee sounds like a good way to set up an account.
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Another suggestion is to become the person's Representitive Payee through SSA. The patient will have a checking account that their social security is deposited into and you can or whoever the Rep. Payee is can pay the bills with the patients own money. That is instead of having a joint account. My mom isn't in a NH but since she couldn't handle her finances, I was able to pay her bills with the Rep. Payee account. You have to go to the SSA Office and apply to be the Payee.
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This is one of the bad things about joint bank accounts. They are considered the property of the holders of the account. There is no determining which person owns what portion of the account. When a person goes on Medicaid, the money in the joint account will be considered as belong to that person. This is the reason it is wise for a cg to keep their own money in a separate account.
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I'm in the same boat. If anybody can offer advise on how to clean up the mess retroactively, I'd like to know. With a 5 year look-back period, I can't document what money came from where. I'm starting to separate the accounts, but we have shared bills to pay, using more of her money than mine while I take care of the work end of things (not just caregiving, but farm chores, car care, house fixing etc). I never got a legal contract or any paperwork to prove it, so I'm in the same situation as an impoverished spouse. I've tried to see how to rescue any of my money at Medicaid time, but have not been successful. I expect to lose it all but am also worried Mom will be penalized for how her money is spent when it's time to apply...so I have to figure out how many months she will be delayed in order to apply when there is still some money to live on. Yes, I've been to two elder law attys. They only answer what questions I can think of in the moment. They weren't able to offer any long term strategies other than separate the accts and don't "gift" anything. Well, it could all look like a gift on paper and we don't know the medical timeline of decline either...
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So tax wise, do you have records to show how much of the money in the account is yours and how much is your mom's?
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The money came from investments we made together and we opened the account to primarily be used for moms living expenses and my caregiving expenses..
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