My aunt is single and in nursing home. We are self paying now. How do we spend down her money?

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My sister and I are hearing about spending down her money. We are self paying now. Someone told us to buy a car for her but she quit driving years ago. I feel we will have to pay back that money to medicaid. We are both in charge of her. How do we spend down her money? We are both on her checkbook and bank account. A lawyer told us to pay off funeral expenses buy a TV for her room. Another lawyer told a friend to buy a car for his Mom to spend down. She also is in nursing home. Thanks

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Here's a short shopping list:

funeral & burial - needs to be NCV (no cash value), the FH will know how to do this for passing Medicaid review. 5 - 10K. I think it needs to be below 10K.

dental - this is iffy to nonexistent under Medicaid. If she has delayed getting work done this could easily run into thousands and thousands of $$. Dental work can take time so if she needs this, I'd try to find one who can pre bill for services if you have a short time frame

small term life insurance policy that is NCV - ok if she is really old the cost of the policy will almost be the value of it. but most states allow a policy with 1k to 1,500 value (chekc with caseworker for her state). This will give you some immediate cash to have for items after she passes away that you didn't plan for. I'd see what AARP has, a regular agent won't want to do this as too much work to bother.

get legal updated: DPOA, MPOA, living will or advance directives and "Guardian in Case of Incapacity" - if your state allows this, this one can be really important and sometimes in a pique of dementia they remove you as DPOA and this solves that
Get will done or if there is one get it updated via a codicil. Have this done by an elder care attorney who has a practice in her county - you need a specialist in this area and not legal who does another area. If they also do probate work that is good for future needs.

Shoes and lots of them - my mom just loves those horrid SAS shoes and they walk out of her room often. Really get multiple pair to solve that.

extra glasses and hearing aids & batteries - you keep the extra ones

nice walker if she is ambulatory. I have a 4 wheeled HUGO which I keep for when my mom needs to do an outside activity that I am taking her to - the kind with a seat and mini storage below the seat - the tricked out ones run about $ 300. And she has a nice and padded with storage bag traditional walker for her day to day at the NH. The standard Medicaid ones are fine but if you have the $$ to spend....

Prepay for whatever you can at the NH: hair salon, TV or Cable.

Study fabric clothes that can withstand the extreme hot water wash of the NH.
My mom;s once lovely wardrobe was 86'd within 6 mos. Really if you have someplace to store them, do this. Remember to look for clothing that has easy off and on to them and not too many buttons and button front

If she is a TV viewer a new TV and get the kid remote controller - this is the kind you can program in for like 8 buttons on the remote and those 8 channels are what works. Can make life easier for all or she gets stuck on VH1 (hilarious). I got ours at Target - they are bright lime green and like triple the cost of regular remote, lol

I'd not do the car as she doesn't drive and you all will have to pay for all insurance as she will only have 30 - 90 a month available for her personal needs allowance
which for my mom is easily hair salon and snack canteen at her NH

Keep all receipts as you never know if you will get reviewed even months later.
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Our friend whose lawyer told him it was OK to buy a car so he can spend down on his Mom's money is that legal? Will he have to pay back Medicade? We live in Ohio. Two different lawyers and two different answers. Help Thanks
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Spend-down purchases have to be for Aunt's benefit. Definitely prepay funeral/cremation/memorial service expenses. Extend her magazine subscriptions. A TV for her room. Some good walking shoes -- more than one pair. Winter coat. Think of things she may need over the next year. Once she is on Medicaid she will have a small monthly allowance and it will be hard to buy good shoes and winter coats, etc. Does she have a nice recliner that fits her well?

Good luck!
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