Mom and daughter are joint owners on Mom's deed for home since 1985. Do I have to sell her home? - AgingCare.com

Mom and daughter are joint owners on Mom's deed for home since 1985. Do I have to sell her home?

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Mom entered nursing home Long term care 2-13-14. Eligibility Worker informed me that my mom will have to liquidate her home. Both of us have been on the deed since 1985. Do I have to sell her property? If so, will I have to give up only half? Is she responsible for half of real estate taxes and utilities while she is in the nursing home?

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Does anyone know, (if in Virginia), and if an adult child was living in the home to take care of the aging parent for 2 years or more & is on deed of the home, but yet the adult child (caretaker) owns their own separate home... Will Medicaid force the sale if the aging parent ends up needing to go into a nursing home? Does it matter that there is a mortgage on the home?
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In Virginia: If you are in a nursing facility or similar institution for longer than six months, your home may be counted as an available resource. The DSS: They want the property sold and the proceeds divided. Mom will not have funds available to pay the utilities and taxes, her entire SS check will be going to the nursing home. VA does not wait for the patient to die like many other states. You may, however, buy out her half if you have the means to do so.
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Oh sometime people will tell you to rent mom's house to get the income to maintain it. Please think twice before you consider renting the home. Rent is income and could jeopardize her qualifying for Medicaid. You will have to report the income to Medicaid in the application and also if your state does an annual recertification. Medicaid can ask for the rental contract and do a site inspection. Also if you do not rent it at a true Fair Market Value (like you rent it to your cousins kids), you could be penalized by Medicaid on this. Renting is imho just an overall & bad problematic idea.
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Stan - most states Medicaid program have it so that they are allowed as an exempt assets their homesteaded property and a (1) car. They do NOT have to sell the property. I'd google your states Medicaid program to find the specifics.

The Medicaid caseworker cannot give you a specific legal directive; their role is to evaluate the applicants income & assets to see if they meet whatever the ceiling is in your state for that. They cannot tell you to "liquidate her home", they cannot force a sale of your mom's % of the property ownership. My guess is that the caseworker didn't even really look at your mom's documents as they would have known there was a joint ownership since forever too. Crappy caseworker

You can keep the house. You may have to be a diplomatic but firm bitch on this with Medicaid, so prepare yourself & get your documents on the property together

BUT there is another issue to all this. Although they can keep their home, they will no longer have any real income to pay for things on the home. Medicaid requires a co-pay or their "SOC" (share of cost) of all their income less a small personal needs allowance. The allowance runs from $ 35 -90 a month and depends on your state as to the amount. So say mom gets $ 1K in retirement & $ 800 in SS so every mo mom's income is $ 1800 and her allowance is 60, so every month the NH must be paid by mom $ 1,740.00 as her SOC. That 60 is just enough for mom's beauty shop & clothing replacement, there is no real $ for the home. All her income is @ the NH.

So for the rest of mom's lifetime, someone will need to pay for mom's 50% of the costs on the home (taxes, insurance, yard, etc.) If there is still a regular mortgage, this could be a lot of $$. Can you pay 100% for all these costs for the possibly many many years to come? If so, then what you need to do is to clearly start to document all the costs on the house divided by 50%. Why? because you are going to file for an exemption or exclusion to whatever claim or lien Medicaid may place on the home via MERP (Medicaid Estate Recovery Program) after mom dies. If the house is empty, then you can probably do 100% of the costs; if you live in the home then it will be only for her % of taxes & insurance as you benefit from the home and use it.

Now if you cannot pay for all the costs on the home from here to whatever, then you probably need to consider to sell the house. If you sell, mom's share of the proceeds from the sale will have to become a spend-down for her on Medicaid too.
Really look over the costs on the home for the past couple of years to see realistically what kind of $ you are looking at to maintain the home and then if it is reasonable to keep paying for years. Also make sure you keep mom's ID at the house and continue to file for her homestead exemption. You may need to also do an annual "right to return" letter by mom on the house too.
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Seek an attorney's advice. Depends on the state you live in. Medicaid will have you fill out a form that says "I Do Not Wish To Sell" and no, they can't force you to sell. Also, in some instances, if you lived with the person in question as a caretaker for 24 months prior to nursing home admission, no, they can't take your home. There are many, many exceptions to this situation. Again, in sum, seek a qualified elder law attorney to help you sort this out.
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