Mom has depleted all of her money while in the NH. She has her house, but we have not been able to sell it. What's next?

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All of her savings is gone. We would like to apply for Medicaid for her, so that would take care of the nursing home. But she still has her house, since the housing market has bombed out. We have had it up for sale for 1 year with no luck. When dad died 4 years ago, each child was given some money (that was their, husband and wife decision) Do the children now have pay that back to pay for the nursing home?

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Patti, it would be a good idea to go ahead and apply for Medicaid. The house is an exempt asset, so will not count during the application process. However, your mother will no longer be able to pay anything toward the upkeep after she qualifies for Medicaid. Family will have to be responsible for all the taxes, bills, and mortgage if there is one. If she qualifies for Medicaid and later the house sells, she can spend down the money, then requalify for Medicaid if needed. If the house does not sell, the state will put a lien on the house after your mother passes in order to recover some of the money spent on her care.

About the gifts -- there can be a penalty on gifts. The penalty decreases with time to application. IOW, the penalty for gifts made 4 years ago will not be as high as if they were given yesterday. I would find out the exact amount of the penalty before making any decisions. I hope someone more knowledgeable than me will comment on this, because I am far from expert in these matters.
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There should be a social worker in the NH who will help you with the application for medicaid.
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Meet with an elder care attorney - these folks know all the little details of Medicaid and can make this far easier for you to take care of Mom.
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