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If Mom were to go into a nursing home. From what I understand, they could take her house. I also live there as her caretaker! If this were to happen, would they be able to take it, and evict me. If so, would it be better to transfer ownership to me, as I am her only child? The house as well as everything is willed to me.

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My mother has a caregiver during the week while I work (from 6am-7p). Also from Friday morning thru Sunday morning. I stay with her during the weeknights and work a full time job. I travel an extra 50 miles a day, pay all her bills (with her money), grocery shop, keep up the upkeep on the house, etc. Are there any tax breaks for me? I do not get paid.
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I meant 60 MONTHS is the "lookback" period.
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THANK YOU Igloo!!! that is very helpful
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I met with the estate/tax attorney. It appears that an irrevocable living trust is the best option for us. I have to make certain that it is appropriate for both VA and possible medicaid, but I think it will help. Also, assets placed in an irrevocable living trust do not go through probate when my mother passes away.
I have a DPOA that will allow me to establish the trust for her. Now I have to begin collecting deeds and stock certificates.
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VIP's - my mom still has her home, is on Medicaid and I & another family member pay for all on the vacant house. Under MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery Program - there are all kinds of exemptions. One of those is deductions (from the MERP tally) of all & every costs paid on & for the deceased home:

Texas Administrative Code:
TITLE 1 ADMINISTRATION
PART 15 TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMISSION
CHAPTER 373 MEDICAID ESTATE RECOVERY PROGRAM
SUBCHAPTER B RECOVERY CLAIMS
RULE §373.213 Deduction Allowed for Expenses for Home Maintenance and Costs of Care
(a) An amount equal to necessary and reasonable maintenance expenses and taxes may be deducted from the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) claim for maintaining the home of the deceased Medicaid recipient, provided that sufficient supporting documentation of these expenditures, such as receipts, is provided to MERP by estate personal representatives, heirs, or legatees. Necessary and reasonable expenses for maintaining the home include real estate taxes, utility bills, insurance, home repairs, and home maintenance expenses such as lawn care.
(b) An amount equal to the necessary and reasonable expenses for the direct payment of the costs of care (including payment of personal attendant care) provided for a deceased Medicaid recipient that enabled the recipient to remain in his or her home and thereby delayed the institutionalization of the Medicaid recipient may be deducted from the MERP claim, provided that sufficient supporting documentation of these expenditures, such as receipts, is provided to MERP by estate personal representatives, heirs, or legatees.
(c) Requests for obtaining allowable deductions from MERP claims for expenses under subsections (a) or (b) of this section must be made in writing within 60 days after receipt of the Notice of the Intent to File a Claim by MERP.
All supporting documentation must be attached to the request and sent to MERP, Home Maintenance/Costs of Care Request, P.O. Box 13247, Austin, Texas.

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All states have MERP exemptions, but you have to file for them and do so in a very timely manner. MERP is a legal process and whomever does MERP in your state has to determine if they will proceed with the MERP claim in the first place.
That is why you have to get the stuff in asap after death, so the determination can be made if a MERP legal action will even happen.
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Abby33 - tax attorney.... do you mean an estate attorney? We used an estate attorney rather than an elder care attorney with my mom. Went well and experience does count. What your state law is like on death and lineal inheritance could make a big difference. Like in TX, you can do an enhanced benefit trust (aka Lady Bird Deed) rather an a life estate but in other states it's not valid. I know your thinking mom has plenty of $$ & won't need Medicaid but you never know and it's not ever too early to start planning for that possibility. 5 years = 2018.

My mom is in her mid90's and really if they live long enough, imho, they will eventually run out of funds and the caregivers will run out of steam and family will run out of nice. NH run from 4K to 10/12K a month and add whatever full freight private pay medical and ancillary services and easily you can "plow" through an easy 6 figures a year for a NH stay. And that could be $ better spent on farm needs.

I'm assuming you all are concerned about capital gains? I know for houses, if the house was bought a long time ago like 1950’s/60’s, could be a big $$ in capital gains. Now you can homestead the property before you sell it and avoid capital gains. I think it’s 3 out of 5 years homesteaded to do this. But you have to make the home your principal residence and file for homestead. I don't have any idea if this works for farms but it's something to look into.

If mom has a life insurance policy and she owns it, look into have the ownership of the policy changed so it's not an asset that she owns.

About farmland and ranches, if the elder's homestead is within a working family farm or ranch, then it seems to be that the whole property is an exempt asset for Medicaid while they are alive and qualifies for an exemption under MERP (Medicaid Estate Recovery Program) after they die. Now the Medicaid application will likely get evaluated by a specialist within the program because ranch land, farmland are pretty complex and above the usual caseworkers level. But really if you can talk with legal about moving it all from under her ownership now and into an LLC and perhaps a special needs trust set up from proceeds from the LLC.

If you're looking at a significant amount of $$, I'd seek the advice of another professional to see how they would structure changes. Since you're getting a legal viewpoint, maybe speak with a financial advisor. Personally, I suggest speaking with a stockbroker who has a series 7 license with a book that has other farm clients and is with a wire house (so if there is a problem they have a compliance department to go to for those issues). Good luck!
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I have many of the same questions, 2Tired. My Mom has a substantial amount of farm land and bank stock in her name. Her home and the surrounding property is in a living estate with my nephew. I'm seeing a tax attorney tomorrow to discuss the pros and cons of moving things out of her name. My DPOA states that I have authority to transfer property and funds as I see fit. I want to apply for the Veteran's Aid and Attendance benefit for her...not so much concerned about medicaid. The VA doesn't have a look-back period so it may be possible. My concern is the tax burden that will be placed on my brother and I regarding gift taxes, cost basis etc. I'll write an update after I see the attorney.
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Q: Some time ago, I was given POA. Would that also include bank accounts?

A: Not unless the POA says you have control over her financial transactions/bank accounts. And if your name is on her account you had better be sure you can justify what you are spending her money on. Anything that would be considered income that should have gone to her care that you used for something else would be a problem not only in qualifying for Medicaid (you have to explain her expenses and provide proof for those considered "deductible" toward her eligibility) but also could get you in trouble with Social Security if you are her representative payee as well.
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The 60 days is the "look back" period. Google it.

When you sell a home, you may become ineligible for Medicaid. Though Medicaid doesn't consider your primary residence to be a countable asset, it does count the proceeds of the sale. If the profit you make from the sale causes your assets to exceed Medicaid's limit, you will no longer receive benefits. However, if you spend the money from the sale over time, you can reapply for Medicaid once your assets are below the limit.

To remain eligible for Medicaid after selling your home, you may consider spending the profits to stay below the countable resource limit or transferring the assets to another individual. While Medicaid can't prohibit you from spending your money, you may become ineligible for Medicaid if you transfer funds to someone else. If Medicaid discovers you have transferred assets for less than their fair market value to be eligible for coverage, it may terminate your benefits.
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Avoid probate delays, estate leeches, and medicaid / irs sticky fingers.... If you can, put the house in your name. And anything else of value. Also, be sure your loved one has a will that says strictly what should occur upon their demise.
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They can take her house unless you are a dependent child or are disabled and have helped her stay out of an institution. Any transfers outside of 60 months will be considered as making her ineligible for Medicaid. So if you are looking for government funding any sooner than that, unless she is planning to return home at some point, there is no way you protect her home from being sold. Medicare ONLY pays i full for up to 20 days and then only partially pays up to 100 days in a nursing home and your mom will have to have been hospitalized inpatient (not observation) for three days prior to being moved into it.
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I have experienced this situation with my mother inlaw. She had to go into a nursing home because she couldn't care for herself. When her finances got to $2000 she was eligible for medicaid and the place where she was living had a Medicaid bed available. Her money is pretty much gone. Your spot on when you say $30 to $60 for hair salons and snacks. I did try and sell her home before but she lives in a very depressed area and I couldn't get any interest. I have a question for you all. I have to pay the taxes and utilities on this home from my own account each month. Is there a way that one day when we sell it that I could submit an expense report and get that money back? Or does Medicaid get first dibs on recooping their money?
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2tired - I'd like to expand on jeannegibbs answer (which is spot-on) - my mom is in a NH & on Medicaid. NH run 4K - 10K a month, so 48K to 120K a year. Medicare does not pay for long term care and is really about hospitalization and short term rehab (which can be in a NH that has a rehab unit). Most elderly do NOT have the financial wherewithal to pay for NH for the many many years that they could end up needing skilled nursing care in a NH. It's my opinion that if they live long enough, they will run out of $ and the caregiver(s) will run out of steam so eventually a NH will be needed. Medicaid, which is a joint state & federal program but administered by each state, pays for about 70% of NH stays in the US. Medicaid is a "needs-based" program so the NH resident is expected to use all their non-exempt resources towards their care or their property first and foremost and only after they have spent down to roughly 2K in non exempt assets can they get Medicaid. They can keep their exempt assets (home, a car, a no cash value funeral & burial policy, a small term life insurance policy and about 2K in the bank and a few other items) but all their monthly income has to be paid to the NH except for a monthly personal needs allowance of $ 30 - 90, depending on their state.

If they have a home, they will not have the funds to pay for anything for the home (which is an exempt asset) as the personal needs allowance is easily spent on NH related items (like hair salon or cable) or clothing needs or the items that neither Medicaid or Medicare pay for. For my mom, her $ 60 a mont is easily hair salon visits and candy from the canteen.

If you live in the house, you are expected to pay for the expenses for the house. For many caregivers, there is no $ to do this. This is especially true if there still is a mortgage on the home and the family living at the home doesn't have an income as they have been doing caregiving without pay. This is where it gets sticky for family and why you & your mom need to see an elder care attorney who practices in your state and preferable in the county where the home is located. Having a home has a whole set of issues regarding exemptions and how the home is dealt with after death via MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. There are exemptions regarding homesteads and caregivers; exemptions if a home is actively on the real estate market; exemptions on maintenance and other property expenses; the list goes on and the attorney will know what will be the best plan or options for you both to consider. Good luck.
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2Tired, does Mother have enough assets (exluding house and car) to pay her own way in a nursing home? Stocks, bonds, property, insurance policies, retirement funds, monthly income, etc.? If so, great! No problem. Sign her in at the NH and make the monthly payments out of her funds.

Many, many elders do not have sufficient funds to pay NH for very long, if at all. In that case they usually apply for Medicaid, which does cover nursing home costs. All of Mother's assets would be expected to be used toward her care. She can keep a home and a car, but she will not have enough spending money each month to pay for insurance, maintenance, etc.

Because Medicaid expects people to use their own money before they use tax dollars, they "look back" at financial transactions for the last 5 years. If Mother has used $10,000 to put a new roof on the house, that is fine. She is using her money for her own benefit. If she gave $10,000 to you, that is not so fine, because that looks like she is trying to get out of spending her own money on her own care.

This can be very complicated, and mistakes can be very costly. I suggest that you consult an Elder Law attorney (that specialty is important -- this isn't the time to use your cousin the criminal lawyer!) and get things set up in the most advantageous way for Mother, legally. Yes, it will cost some of Mother's funds, but it is worth it!
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OK, now I'm very confused. My Mom isn't on Medicaid. I was talking about if she had to be put in a nursing home. I am also confused about the "gift" thing. Some time ago, I was given POA. Would that also include bank accounts? I still keep some money in dual accounts with both Moms name and mine. I really am worried that if she had to go into a home, they would take everything. I'm not sure if Medicare pays for nursing homes or not. Not having ever dealt with that end of care. My Dad passed away at home. So neither parent has been in a nursing home.
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Nursing homes do not take houses. Medicaid applicants are allowed to own a house and a car. After the recipient dies, the state can recover its costs from the sale of the house. An exception would be if a child or grandchild has lived in the house as a caregiver for at least two years.

If your mother signs the house over to you now, that will be considered by Medicaid to be a gift. Not Good.

Consult an attorney who specializes in Elder Law before making any changes in ownership if your mother will be applying for Medicaid.
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