If my 87 year old Mom and I buy a house together and IF she ever has to go in NH, will I be responsible for repayment?

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My mom lives independent now but I take care of her needs since she is legally blind and deaf.. I also have disabled son confined in wheelchair. It has become too difficult for me to run back and forth. We thought we could take what savings we both have left and buy a handicapped assessable home together. My question is, what happens if my mom needs more help than I can give eventually and needs to go into a nursing home on her medicare since she won't have much money left ..will I be held responsible to repay Medicare when she passes?

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There is the possibility of you getting print outs of all her banking statements. Some online banking enables you to make a specific report such as all transfers to your account over a period of time. If you can do this, make one for each year. The totals may be under the $13000 gift amount where the IRS allows per year. If yours is under that for each year then perhaps you can squeeze by up to now - and move forward by keeping good records. Who does her taxes? You may find that expenses can be deductible too and so the record keeping will have more benefits than just busy work. I am my mother's POA and she has me do all her money activities... I've made it a habit to keep receipts for anything she pays me back for, and I do it usually in lump sums with all receipts attached - only separating covered medical expenses and property maintenance for tax purposes. Remember gas and travel expenses required while doing doctor's visits count as medical expenses. You mentioned American Express and Costco purchases - go back and copy your statements and account for the portions that your mom paid too. I've used charge card statements before for tracking mom's purchases, not just her checking account. I also use her own account debit card exclusively for her purchases and my own debit card (my account) for my purchases.
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Joint bank accounts can be a mine field, as I discovered the hard way with both my Grandparents and my Mom. Yes...they may say she gifted you the money and count that amount against her when she applies. My granddad got in the habit of taking out cash from a joint account to buy groceries and gas, but never saved receipts, as he was sure they would *never* need Medicaid. Medicaid penalized my Grandparents for the amount he could not account for, and it was not a small sum. He then went through a massive Medicaid spend down, paid for all my Grandma's care in a good nursing home (6 months) before she passed, and was left with basically no estate except for the house- she died before she became eligible for Medicaid. He still had enough to live on as a military retiree, but he had worked hard all his life with the hope of leaving a financial legacy to all of us . We have delayed applying for Medicaid for my Mom because of some transfers we mad back and forth from a joint account before I understood the implications. I know I sound like a broken record....but had we all consulted a good elder care attorney before my Grandmother became ill and my Mom developed all her issues, our family would be in better financial shape now.
Good luck to you, this is the last thing families should be worried about when trying to get a loved one taken care of.
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Thanks for all the answers. I will have to investigate further about the title before proceeding!
But I may have already made mistakes. My name is on my moms banking account and I have my own. Whenever she owes me money for shopping, gas, services, etc..I just transfer the amount out of hers, into mine. Also when we shop together at Costco's, I put all purchases on my American Express card, then I pay it off from Both accounts. I never kept receipts and memo's. Under inspection, It could look like shes just "giving" me money??
I can not put my son in a group home for several reasons and he needs a decent place to live. My mother won't spend that money on assisted living for herself when she has me! I will earn that down payment if she invests in a house for us all!
Did I already mess up with the bank accounts? We aren't doing anything illegal,
just feels like it!
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Very good point about money being seen as a gift, Ismiami. Again, I would recommend seeing an attorney to see if a trust or something else could be set up that might protect what money your mother has, while allowing her to help out in someway without being penalized by Medicaid.
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Remember money leaves a trail, so even if her name is not on the title, if her money is invested in the house and if she ends up on Medicaid, they will look to recover. The money would be seen as a gift.
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You didn't say whether you would have a mortgage on the home. If so, and you are joint owners, the mortgage payments must be met. Also, you need to consider the taxes on the home as well as the maintenance costs, as pointed out by ferris1.
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Absolutely. Before you entertain the idea consider her healthcare needs and that of your son. A home has many, many extra problems that only you can fix, and if you are on a limited budget, this is not a good idea. What if the water heater leaks? What if the a.c. goes out? Watering plants and shrubs is not cheap, nor is the maintenance of just keeping up a house. Because I have owned 5 homes, I would recommend you leasing a 2 - 3 bedroom apt. which is for seniors with limited income, and handicapped equipped (wider halls, bathroom with bars on the showers, etc.). Your mother would be the qualifier since she is on social security and I am assuming your son also receives disability (if he does not, check into that). Once you sign your name to a legal document, you are bound by that contract, and yes, you would be responsible for paying the rest of the mortgage. Best wishes!
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If medicaid gets involved yes they go back to where every penny went for the past 5 years and she will have to pay for a nursing home during the probational period, they decide on that. I wouldnt do it unless you plan on keeping her with at home help. There are special extendable door hinges you can buy(amazon) that make the door open flat which gives you a lot more room, if not enough, have the doorways enlarged. We did what we had to in the house and put in a ramp. Good luck to you, its got to be hard with two.
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Wow something we had not thought about. We are preparing to buy a larger house that we can share with my In Laws, and never thought about the Estate Recovery!
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Do you have siblings? If you and mom are on the title, they "might" insist that you buy her out, so they can have an inheritance. I have seen crazy things happen, between families.
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