Will I lose my house (Mom and I on deed) if she goes into a nursing home? - AgingCare.com

Will I lose my house (Mom and I on deed) if she goes into a nursing home?

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I took care of Mom and Dad (severe dementia; died 2012) since 2011, moving in with Mom in 2013, and now she may need to go to a nursing home. I am disabled due to a birth defect of a spinal deformity and cannot physically care for her any longer. Mom put me on the deed to the house in 2012. After all of these years of caregiving, I fear that I will now lose my house and home, which BTW was my childhood home. She gets a monthly SS check and a pension check from my dad's retirement.

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Check with an estate atty.
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Thanks to all of you. I can't check my computer real often....marymember
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There is a 5 year look back period... Also if you have kept your mother out of a nursing home for two years by living with her they consider the house your legal address. Do you have the house in a life estate? Contact someone to help you with the application and they can advise you what to do legally with her assets such as a spend down... Pre paid funeral 1500.00 burial account and 2000.00 limit in a bank account also in Mass. Allowed to spend 72.80 on her personal needs. Good luck !!! It is a stressfull process but hiring someone to help me with the application gave me a huge sence of relief.
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I'd like to add that at the seminar I attended the attorney offered free consults to our group. Free is good.
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Suggestion. If you want to get some basic information from an elder law attorney, but you don't know where to start, contact the Alzheimer's Association. Alz.org. Alzheimer's does not have to be your issue and you don't have to tell them that. Join a caregivers support group (a good idea anyway). The reason I recommend this is that it will give you access to their free seminars. One they do regularly is medicaid planning. It is run by an elder law attorney, and it's very good. Bring all your questions because afterward there will be a Q&A session. This will allow you to get immediate and accurate answers and it will also allow you to vet the attorney for future use. After the session, you will know whether or not you need a paid consult. Good luck!
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So essentially, you have only been there 3 years this time? See if there is a time limit minimum, for State to see you as "child living in home" or, "disabled child living in the home", which might help them leave you alone, and the house to you.
There's a fairly uniform "5-year look-back" that DSHS/Medicaid/Welfare does, to learn if there are assets which can be used to pay Mom's medical, facility, etc. IF there were assets sold, signed to someone else, moved, in that 5 years, they want accounting of where it went, and why. They assume, if assets were there, then gone, there needs a Very good reason it's no longer there to help pay for Mom's needs; if they determine the elder had assets and got rid of them with no apparent good reason, they can deny assistance.
Your co-mingled funds will definitely fog things.
That needs researched and disentangled, immediately--it's laborious, but MAYbe the bank has some kind of accounting tool via computer, that might help? Talk with the bank, to see what helps they might know of, to maybe make that easier.
One thing that Might be necessary, is for your new account to be at a different bank/savings/Credit Union.
[[Note: many now believe Credit Unions to be safer than Banks and Savings; CU's generally have better interest rates for both savings and for loans--you might want to learn about that; and, they didn't mess up as badly as banks have in the past.]]
The shared savings account, IF it was all put there by Mom and Dad, will be a State-claimable asset. IF some of the deposits were yours, all you have to do, is prove that, and just separate those out into your new account.

Have you learned if an elder's kids can keep the house and stay in it, in your State? And under what conditions or rules?
Has Mom willed you her half of the house?
Alternatively, she could do a "Quit-Claim-Deed" to transfer her half of the house to you.....but make sure it's well-documented, because it will likely trigger the State to investigate why her half of that asset "disappeared", if it's done within that 5-year period.
IF she is not able to 'legally sign' legal documents anymore, then you have to wait to inherit it, I think. "Legally sign" means she cannot think clearly, so might be seen as being coerced.
...A person who cannot speak but who can gesture coherently to answer questions, could even make a "mark" on the document, as long as it is witnessed and notarized. But once a person's mind is dysfunctional, then no. It's an individual case-basis, whether someone with some brain damage can still make legal choices.
As igloo572 says, you need to make your own account separate, immediately.... arrange for your income to get deposited to it, not into Mom's. Mom's should only have Mom's, and both accounts need to have clear records kept.
For 5 years, preferably, before the elder applies for Medicaid.
Each can still pay bills 50:50 as they come in, but....WHEN Mom goes to a facility, IF there's anything left over of her money each month, that can be used to help pay household bills....but it might not be much, unless her retirement funds are plush-----if it's just her SSI plus 1/2 of her deceased spouses' SSI, they'll be looking for more assets from somewhere to pay her bills--you'll be on your own for household expenses.
When State goes looking for more money, they start really pressing for assets to be liquidated to pay for care.
IF you can keep her at home using in-home caregivers to assist her, and take a load off you....Use that to buy time to make a clean 5-year look-back, once you separate your money from hers, and transfer the other half of the house into your name so you have full title [unless there's a mortgage--then the lender is on it too].
You should still be able to sign on her account as POA to handle her money.
You've got a POA, yes?
If not, get one, ASAP!
Please look for legal help. If you can't afford it, look up your nearest "Area Agency on Aging" [AAA], to see when that office has volunteer lawyers available, and make an appointment--they are volunteers, so elder-law might not be their forte', but hopefully they can guide you some, or refer you.
In WA, we have NW Justice, which is legal aid for low-income people, accessible via the State Attorney General's office online, I think.
Do you have something like that in your State? Your AAA might know where to find something like it there.
Remember, possession is 9/10 of the law, as they say. I've seen some stay in their house for 2+ years without making any payments on it, until they were literally evicted, once the bank finally put it on the auction block. The latest ones are waiting until the sheriff literally comes knocking; they are buying time to gather enough resources that they can afford to move into a low-income apartment or house for a few years, until they get back on their feet. Actually, the lender also 'wins', because they have been keeping it heated, and water on, which prevents deterioration of bldg, and, keeps squatters and vandals away.

In CA, an elder owning a home, has taxes locked at far lower rates, often, if they've been in it a long time [my folks were in their house over 40 years]. That's great--even better: they can will or gift their home to their kid[s], who then get to keep that home frozen at it's low tax rate....unless they sell it.
If the house is deeded to anyone else, taxes immediately revert to going rates. In that case, it's USUALLY a real good idea for at least one of the kids to take over the old house...What a deal, especially if it's in high-cost-of-living area....though, some kids can't see their way to doing that---3 siblings who all hate the parents' house, can't envision themselves living in it, ever....kinda chopping their nose to spite their faces, 'cuz they're all really pushed to afford where they each live.
But I digress...
Hope you find the help you need, and are able to get the paperwork all put in order. Even better, I hope you can find home health care to buy time for you!
Keep us posted!
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In WA, a law said something about disabled kid[s] who share home with the parents who then need Medicaid/DSHS/facility, are supposed to be able to stay in house.
Making payments on that house, if needed, is a separate issue...those still need kept up.
The State does Not want to cause immediate family [spouse, kids] to become homeless; doesn't want remaining family to then need DSHS/Medicaid [if they weren't already on it]. They don't want to make things worse and end up costing the State more.
But they will usually investigate to make sure paperwork is in order, and that assets have not been suddenly disappeared to make the elder look poorer than they are.
Likely, they will check to verify you are disabled, as you claim to them.
State will look out for it's best interests. You could get tangled up in the process.
Good to put all your paperwork "ducks" in a row ASAP.
Be clear and up-front with Medicaid officials.
Good idea to get legal assistance.
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Dear Gladimhere and Mallory,

Thanks for information. I will buy the book.....marymember
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MaryM, I do hope.you can find a competent lawyer familiar with your state's Medicaid and estate planning laws. I know it seems so expensive, but if you research a bit on your own (your state may have an estate planning section on the government website) and also research your prospective lawyer, at least you have done all you can to minimize the lawyer's billed hours. Please talk with a lawyer before applying for Medicaid -- there may be things you can do, before applying, that can't be done adtwrwards. Read Gabriel Heiser's book, it was in my public library. Good luck.
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MaryM, Texas also has Lady Bird deeds that has something to do with transferring the house. Maybe somebody here knows something about that, I certainly do not or how it may play in.
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