Name on deed. I had hopes that she would return to her home, but with dementia starting to appear , I am fearing that she will remain in nursing home indefinitely.

I am out of state, so both my aunt and I are POA's. My name was put on the deed of her home in 2004. along with living will and POA. She is on social security and makes around $1350 per month. My aunt is pressuring me to sign Medicaid takeover of all property. I don't know what to do. I need to learn all I can before I make a decision. I am a home owner but disabled. I appreciate any info.


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Yella - imho you have a couple of different issues going's qualifying for Medicaid and dealing with property that has more than 1 owner and exemptions to MERP (Medicaid estate recovery) on her home after her death.

first of all Medicaid is not in the property ownership business. The state's run the Medicaid program and they are not in the real estate business. Neither is the NH. One does not just turn over their home to the program or a NH. The is a whole legal process to change ownership of property, you don't just turn something over much less a property that has more than 1 owner.

What Medicaid does want is to make sure that all their non-exempt assets are used to pay for their care or for their needs BEFORE Medicaid will pay.

In most situations, their home as a homesteaded property is an exempt asset for Medicaid. They do NOT have to sell the home, if all their other assets and income are within whatever Medicaid has as their limits in your state and they also qualify medically for needing Medicaid. So you need to find out what mom's state has as it's "income" & "asset" limit for Medicaid and if mom is within that limit. If all mom has is 1350 in SS, then she is good for income for Medicaid. If all mom has for assets is the house, she is good there too. Mom can continue to keep the home for her lifetime even if she is in the NH in most states and be on Medicaid.

But here is where it get's sticky, they can continue to own the home BUT Medicaid requires them to do a co-pay each month to the NH for whatever is their income less your states personal needs allowance. Say mom get's $ 800 a mo from SS and then $ 1,000.00 from retirement, mom lives in TX and her personal needs allowance is $ 60 a month. So each month, mom MUST pay the NH $ 1,740.00 of her income as her required Medicaid co=pay. So all the expenses of the home - from taxes, to insurance to all other upkeep,...-will need to be paid by someone. And paid for mom's lifetime if they want to keep the house. For many this is not feasible to do for the possibly many months or years they may be on Medicaid & in a NH. But for others it could work out. Now since you are a co-owner of the property, you should be paying for your share and the state kinda expects that you should already be paying your % ownership share on it.

So can you afford to pay for everything on the house for the possibly long haul?
If you can, I'd do it. Now you have to keep very detailed records on all the expenses on the property. When mom dies, the state will do a MERP inquiry on the property. All mom's share on the costs of the property, that you have paid for can be filed as your own claim against the property and deducted from the Medicaid tally the state has paid for mom's care. You live out of state, it is not your principal residence, so this is an MERP exemption.

Now if it's not feasible to underwrite the costs on mom's house from now till whenever, then you probably have to sell the property. You have to get a Realtor and deal with whatever is needed to make the property sold.

Now if you are partially the owner of the property and this was done back in 2004, it was outside of the 5 year look back. So as a joint owner, mom's value on the home is only 50%. If you go to sell the home, only 50% of the proceeds of the sale are mom's asset and have to be used in the spend-down. The other 50% is your $. If mom applies for Medicaid, this needs to be very clear in the application so that you get your ownership notated and so the your share of the proceeds of the sale is NOT counted as mom's asset. What would be very good would be when you sell the property, to have the proceeds from the sale in 2 checks: 1 made out to mom and the other made out to you. The money does not co-mingle. Mom's share will have to be used in spend-down before Medicaid will start to pay for her too.
But your share is yours.

About your I would imagine she is also in her 80's? This has got to be hard and very scary for her as this could easily be her. After you give some thought to what to do with the home, I'd suggest that you both go to see an elder law attorney for suggestions on how to handle your mom's situation but ALSO to get something set up or auntie too. Good luck.
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