My mother recently passed, and the nursing home refuses to return the balance in her trust to her family. What do I do? - AgingCare.com

My mother recently passed, and the nursing home refuses to return the balance in her trust to her family. What do I do?

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At first they were willing to give me the balance of 35 dollars from her trust, but when I went over her account. ( she was there 16 years) I found they had taken nearly 2000 dollars from her account. Now they admit to the mistake, but refuse to return the money to family because she was on public aid

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Did your family pay for funeral or burial, or any other expenses of administering your mother's estate? You may have priority under your state's law to recover reimbursement. Your question indicates your Mother was a Medicaid patient. Talk with an elder law attorney, and ask about procedures for personal needs accounts in your state. You may be able to get assistance through a legal aid or senior services agency in your community.

Your question should remind all of us that the personal needs account of a Medicaid patient should be monitored by family members during the patient's lifetime, and used to provide resources, including post mortem planning.
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My mom passed away in a NH about ten weeks ago - we were totally self paid. I was never late paying moms bill - yet dispite what the contract said about them returning our deposit in 30 days I'm still waiting. I admit I haven't called to get on them about it - yet - but why does it always have to be like this? Do they think/hope you'll just forget about it? Seems to me if they could have applied fees if I had ever been late with paying moms bill - shouldn't I be able to apply a fee towards them? Funny how it doesn't work like that. I've read the contract carefully and I get that since we weren't able to give 30-days notice - with mom dying and all - that we'll only get specific portions of the deposit back but still... Why can't these places just do the right thing without having to be harassed? It really chaps my hide. Rant completed.
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Who is the Executor? After death the estate is handled by the Executor. If she was on Medicaid, the state will recover their costs during the probate process. So the state will get the money, not you.
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First with regard to medicaid and their getting everything, that is not completely accurate. Medicaid allows for a certain amount of money to be retained by the participant - that is the participant's allowance. In NY for long-term care (e.g.nursing home) the allowance is $50/month. If it is community medicaid then it is $800/month living expenses. The rest of the income (SS, pensions benefits, etc. goes to Medicaid. Some assets are protected depending on estate planning). The nursing home is not permitted to monkey with the ledger. The Medicaid "spend down" which is the excess income over the $50 allowance set by DSS in a budget that is provided to you and the nursing home, is all they are entitled to, assuming of course there were not personal ancillary charges incurred at the nursing home for services not covered by Medicaid (haircuts, special events and such) The "spend down" is collected by the nursing home as payment and the nursing home then reconciles what they bill to Medicaid against what they collect in "spend down" money from the residents. Medicaid requires they collect the spend down money (income excess of the allowance, and if they don't collect it accurately, the nursing home is out of luck. On what basis did they move the money. Whether your mother was on public assistance or not, is irrelevant to what the nursing home is entitled to if they have accurately billed and recovered their due from the government assistance. Sometimes, nursing homes do not bill Medicaid accurately, or they exceed what Medicaid will reimburse resulting in a short-fall to them and they try to recoup their losses in unethical and inappropriate ways from the residents. The next questions are: what kind of a trust? And do you have their admission of error in writing, and/or names, dates, conversation? To go to a lawyer for $2,000 is not cost effective. I would write a letter to the Nursing Home Administrator requesting the money, a written accounting of your mother's accounts and an explanation of why they are retaining your mother's funds. I would copy Medicaid on the letter (which really gets their attention because medicaid is always on the look out for fraud and misappropriation of funds or tinkering with accounts, which can trigger a Medicaid audit that Nursing Home's do not want!) See how that works. If you still get push back, then you can ratchet things up a bit. I had a situation where my mom was in short-term rehab and she had a Community Trust where the spend down/excess income set byt he DSS budget is deposited and protected for use only in paying living expenses. They changed the coding to long-term perm resident status without my knowledge and consent and then tried to attach my mother's community trust funds as we were working toward discharge, arguing that they were entitled to the spend down money that was lawfully and apropriately deposited into the trust with Medicaid approval. They erroneously billed Medicaid as though mom was a perm resident then tried to recoup their loss by trying to attach her trust money, which she needed to live on in the community. It was a battle that resulted in my writing not just to the administrator, but to General Counsel, and I called Medicaid, who in turn contacted the facility to look into the matter. Some may say $2,000 is not worth the hassle, but the principle of it and keeping these facilities honest is worth the effort. Hope this helps.
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I don't trust anything nursing homes do after my Mom's experiences in 3 of them for rehab. I would call an attorney or legal services. Sometimes a letter from an attorney is all it takes to get action. I hope all goes well for you.
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Since your mom was in there 16 years you probably know the nursing home's reputation well, but just in case, it might help to research their background before you go to court. Have other families had the same experience etc.
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Since your mom was in there 16 years you probably know the nursing home's reputation well, but just in case, it might help to research their background before you go to court. Have other families had the same experience etc.
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This is why I have avoided even going to visit an assisted living facility ( Nursing homes here, only take people who are in the hospital ). When we get to "what do you charge" part of the interview they all respond. You sign your mothers assets over to us, and we will withdraw money, as we need it. To which I say NO WAY! They have a racket going, and I'm not going to fall for it.
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Consider taking them to small claims court. You'd need to document (list out) all the fraudulent things they have done. Include dates, or approximate dates. Phone calls, letters, face-to-face discussions as well. Think of this documentation as a checklist. If you are able to do this documentation, you should be well prepared before a judge. And you wouldn't have to hire a lawyer.
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Get a lawyer after them and have the lawyer make them pay you
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