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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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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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This is fogging my brain. My aunt is Medicaid and I am POA. Her home is not livable, but as long as it stays on her property, it is considered her homestead and is hers until the day she dies. Then it will go to me. Will the state (Texas) try to take it instead of it belonging to me? Her taxes are frozen due to the fact she is disabled and aged. She was Medicaid even before going to a nursing home. She has an Irrevocable claim through an eldercare lawyer. I am not Medicaid. Is there something else I need to do? marymember
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If you are unfamiliar with how Medicare & Medicaid works and how property plays into all this, Heiser's book is really priceless to provide a basis for understanding all this.

One big issues is that the states are all over the map in how MERP is done as each state administers its Medicaid program uniquely so therefore MERP is done state specific. How your state law does probate or handles intestate deaths also makes a difference e.g. claim vs. lien on property.

For example for the caregiver exemption for TX MERP (which is done by an outside contractor), the person asking for the exemption has to respond to the initial "intent to file a claim" within a set period of time that there are exemptions or exclusions being asked for. If you don't, then too bad. So if the point person on file for TXDADS is Brother Bill and he ignores it, but you were the caregiver so don't respond as you did not know about the intent letter till after the 90 day required response, then your kinda out of luck.

Also for the caregiver exemption for TX you have to provide a letter from the deceased elders doctor or social worker on their letterhead with their state licensing info as to just what you did and why it was needed to be provided. Now whether or not this could be easy to get who knows!! I've found that MD's really shy away from signing off on letters that have "LEGAL" issues (like ones needs stating incompetency) as their area of expertise is medical and not legal. Same could hold true for SW. I can totally see a doc declining to do a letter as the elder is not a current patient so no current files. Also if there is a time lag between when caregiving was done and when they finally die, the MD or social worker may not be able to provide the details required to get the exemption. With the switch to electronic medical records happening, I'd bet old files are getting jettisoned. From the time my mom moved out of her home and died at the NH was 8 years. I highly doubt her old doc would do a letter for things from almost a decade ago.

You really need to find out how a caregiver exemption is done and plan for it.
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In some states Medicaid will allow the home to be transferred to an adult child caregiver if that caregiver has provided medically necessary care for a period of two years prior to entering the nursing home. Find an attorney well versed in Medicaid Planning who will be able to help you.
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My Mom had her name on my nephews account. After going to a lawyer we were told to remove her name because it could be counted for her getting any help. I am on my Moms as the POA but I don't share the account. All moneys are hers. My Aunt died with a medicaid lean on her house. Her son inherited the house and because of his disability he is allowed to stay in the house. Upon the sale of the house, he pays the lein. This is inNJ. I really think u need to call medicaid.
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I am not sure if I recall correctly, but I thought I had read in Gabriel Heiser's book that a home is NOT required to be sold for the senior going into a nursing home IF there is a disabled child living in the home. I think you really need to consult with a lawyer, and get a copy of Gabriel's book at your local library, read up on this, before going to the lawyer. It may be that the house could be titled in a trust for your use, the rest of your life, and you could still live there.
However, even if this were true, do you have enough funds to maintain the home, pay utilities, and property taxes? That might be the more crucial questions. Because all of your mom's Soc Sec check and pension check is definitely going to mom's nursing home, there is no way any of that is going to you (again, check with Gabriel's book, and a lawyer qualified in your state).
Also consider that you yourself might be eligible for Medicaid and SSDI. Good luck.
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What has happened with the savings is that you have been "co-mingling" funds. @ issues: 1 Medicaid considers that it's all mom unless you can document that it's not & 2. SSA really does not like it either and can ask that you become a representative payee for mom's SS if they find out there's commingling. Personally i think being rep payee is kinda a whole extra layer of pain in the butt of paperwork to deal with that most don't need. So what to do, I'd asap go and get a new bank account that is yours & yours alone that your income goes into. I;d leave mom's as it is and you're probably already signature, she gets her stuff direct deposited into it (another pain to change). And from here on out everything house gets paid 50/50 from each account.

You are probably going to have to look back through the past to reconstruct and document that not all the money in the account is mom's. How to do this, I don;t know, I didn't have to deal with this for my mom. Hopefully someone else on this site can give you suggestions. 3 years isn't that much to reconstruct.

You know before time goes on, really you should plan on taking mom to see an elder law attorney to make sure all her legal is good. There could be the possibility to have mom do a "caregiver contract" to pay you. But if you are disabled, it may not be easily done either for expected capabilities or could effect you ability to yourself get low-income benefits. A good elder law guy should be familiar with how this could work or doesn't work.

I would put off moving her into a NH and applying for Medicaid till after you see legal too, Even if you need to ask friends or family to help out or pay for short term extra set of hands to help. Good luck, get organized and stay cool.
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Igloo572 Thank you for your reply. I still have a lot to research, but there is a little hope. Yes 50-50 ownership of house. What if our savings account is in both names and has been for 3 years? Will they take that money? If not, I can surely make it. THANK YOU.
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If mom needs to apply for NH Medicaid to pay for her stay, then there will be a requirement for the State (or it's outside contractor) to attempt to recover all $ paid by Medicaid on mom's behalf from whatever assets she has in her estate. This is called MERP - medicaid estate recovery program. For those on Medicaid, they have to be impoverished to qualify so their home and a car would be their estate.
Just how Medicaid is run and how MERP is done is unique for each state as your state laws regarding property, death, probate all make a difference. Some states place a lein on the property upon getting Medicaid; other states have the $ paid as a claim against the estate for probate.

Now MERP has all sorts of exemptions and exclusions - there are those for caregivers, for low - income heirs, for disabled heirs. Your state will have those details on its Medicaid website. It is up to the heirs to apply for and provide documentation requited for exemptions, exclusions, too. Also the states are required to show a cost-benefit analysis to go after a recovery. MERP is still in the first few years of being in effect and seems to not have a defined standard that most states are following. About 1/3 of the states have turned MERP over to contractors who approach it more aggressively and get a % of the recovery.

It sounds like imho that you have exemptions to recovery as you are disabled.
You should find out as clearly as possible about how this exemption runs for your state's program. Although this sounds just fabulous, what seems to often be the case is that the caregiver cannot afford the house. Realize that once mom goes into the NH on Medicaid, she will be required to do a copay or her SOC (share of cost) of all her monthly income less a small personal needs allowance (this varies by state from $ 35 - 105). This often comes as a surprise to families. If you have needed and been relying on mom's income to make ends meet; to be able to afford all the costs of the house, well mom's $$ will not be there anymore. So although you can get the house (so no Medicaid MERP done), you cannot afford it.
Really take pen to paper and go over the costs on the house and your income to see if this will work over time. Good luck.

Recovery is only on whatever % ownership mom has too. So if you all are 50 - 50 then only her half of the house is subject to recovery.
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