Mom and I jointly own a condo. It has secured her Medicaid eligibility. What is best way to legally save this investment?

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My mother and I legally own our lovely CA condo jointly which will eventually be passed on to me from her legal trust as a sole owner upon her eventual passing, but she has recently been moved to an assisted living residence in the State of Oregon to live near my available family who has medical and financial POA. I still occupy our condo in CA and must stay there because I have nowhere else to go. My 94-year-old mother counts on my CA condo occupancy in order to maintain her OR Medicaid eligibility that pays for her care in OR, and she cannot ever return to our CA residence. Unfortunately, I have been unemployed from permanent work for over 20 months and still looking for work but must now solely maintain our CA condo. The loan has been paid off, but I must now solely pay for its maintenance and utilities expenses because no other family members are able to contribute. My own funds will run out in about 5 years unless in find steady work. My greatest fear is homelessness in CA or relocation to out-of-state family by age 63; no full Social Security until age 66. I cannot sell and our CA condo move until Mom passes. How is the best way to legally save and protect our CA condo investment that we had worked at for over 20 years of living together to build?

Pat, A Concerned Daughter.

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Because of the intricacies of the state laws involved--both that of Oregon as well as California--you will need to find a Medicaid planning expert who is up-to-date on the Medicaid rules in both states. I would start out with finding an elder law expert attorney in Oregon, since that is where your mother is currently located. One place to search is the website of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (www.NAELA.org). They have a "find an attorney" link there.
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I am also considering going for CA state disability benefits while working with the CA Dept. of Rehab if unable to find any work before too much time passes.



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I hope you get an answer from someone here with detailed knowledge of the rules and legalities. Did you consult a lawyer to help Mom apply for Medicaid? It may be good to consult that person again.

Here are some general observations:

If your mother is now on Medicaid and in a care center, you know that she has only a small personal allowance. She cannot afford to contribute to the maintenance of the Condo, even though it is still in her name. The annual fees are totally up to you at this point.

Your mother is allowed to own a home and remain on Medicaid. But when she dies the state has the authority and the responsibility to try to recover some of the costs of her care by taking the proceeds when the home is sold. The fact that the home is not in the state she is getting care from, and that you also own the home, and that it would be a hardship for you to move out, all may have an impact on whether the state (OR) can/would try to recover funds. But this is complex enough to deserve professional advice.

I am happy for you that you and Mom had more than 20 years of enjoyment of your lovely condo. That must have been very pleasant for both of you while it lasted.

I am extremely sorry you are now unemployed. I wish you the best in finding meaningful work. Until then, I wonder if it would be worthwhile to take work that you are overqualified for -- just anything to bring in a little cash and extend the five year period you have as a cushion. For example, most retail places are hiring extra help for the holiday season. Not on your career path, perhaps, but maybe enough to get you through a few months without using your savings, and get you a discount besides!

I think you need and deserve some professional guidance on how to protect your investment.

Good luck!
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I am going shopping at all of the discount stores possible in CA. I am also working with the CA Dept. of Rehab for a learning disability beyond my control to help me get retrained for clerical office work and back to the workforce as soon as possible after trying unsuccessfully to find work since a temporary two-month job. that ended in June 2013. My situation is that I was told by my therapist that I cannot take front-line or even moderate customer service work, limiting my search to back-office bookkeeping-style work in my current experience working at least 30 hours per week. I am only 58 and have to work until age 66 for full Social Security benefits. My OR family has contacted Mom's OR trust lawyer and had told me not to worry about our CA property where I must stay until further notice. I had asked my OR family in charge of the POA's if someone should contact the OR elder attorney, but I received had no reply. My CA psychotherapist had told me not to worry, that CA or OR Medicaid would have notified me by now about our CA property, but I had not heard anything to date. My mother's funds will run out by December 2013, forcing her to go on Medicaid, and my therapist doubts that she will live for another 5 years; she does not have a healthy heart condition and her bones are fragile at age 94. So, I just count on surviving for 5 years hoping to find work in the meantime. Thank you.
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Regarding Mom's Medicaid and my situation: At this point, I am in the 3-month process of seeking SSDI benefits from Social Security because of a social and learning disability. I really cannot afford to wait until even four more years until I am age 62 for Social Security. I want to work but am unable to for several reasons. Employers will no longer accommodate my required extra clerical training needs in a new job. With employers doing so much temp hiring, the situation just complicates my situation even further. I am working in a two-year State-funded program with a job developer to improve my interviewing skills. My psycho therapist is supporting my requirement to accept disability benefits because I do not know when I will work again. I had been notified late in November by family that my disability protects me from my Mom's and my property's Medicaid recovery unless I die before Mom does. Currently, I cannot sell our jointly-owned property until Mom passes. My long-term 2 year unemployment insurance just ran out late in January 2014. Without any work or other income, that situation places financial difficulty on me since I am now the sole responsibility for our property's expenses. My disability means that I have no option to rent out part of our property, either. I am happy and prayerfully lucky to have a nice place to live in; I count on my savings to hold me while waiting for eligible entitled SSDI benefits.
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