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We are in California. The Attny drew up a Quit claim deed. I've been here 18 months, 24 hrs. a day with no help. This condo is my only hope of future security. I'm 54, and ddd in my back. He will have to spend down 13,000 + to qualify me to apply for payments from medicaid. Meanwhile, I have established legal residency in my Dad's place.

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Thanks everyone all for your answers- It appears we've exhausted the topic!
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Aw, Unicornfairy, thanks for the hugs, and right back atcha ... seriously, I love this story, and I know EXACTLY what you mean when you write that you "cherish that letter." Thank you so much for sharing ... I'm going to keep your Christmas letter (and the singing! Oh my gosh, the SINGING!) in a little corner of my mind, and draw on it -- like an extra-festive eggnog -- whenever I need a tiny bump of courage to stand my OWN ground in the face of spirit-crushing, heavy-handed, uncaring bureaucracy. You ROCK.

And that husband of yours sounds like an absolute gem, too. :-)
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Unicornfairy, THANK YOU! I'm so grateful for the encouragement! We are having a good day today! I woke up with a sore back, but it eased a bit as I got moving, and I didn't need any pain meds. Just came back from a knit/crochet group. It's one thing that dad has allowed me to do by myself.... because he knows it's all women!
Thanks for listening; and lucky me, I'm starting to catch up on some rest.
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DevotedtoDad - Thanks! And I am so glad your friend fought back and won her home. I understand that the government needs to recoup losses when possible, but the government also needs to take into account that in a lot of cases, family has done everything humanly possible and saved the government hundreds of thousands of dollars and all we ask for in return is to keep what little we have left. Kudos to your friend! And for you, GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR DAD. He is already blessed to have you and you will reap rewards in ways you can't begin to understand yet. You will also pay a huge price of giving up friend time, family time, hobby time, YOU TIME. Your back will be sore, your body and soul will weary and your will may crumble at times, but in the end, you will be amazed at what you managed to accomplish! And whatever you do, don't forget that you have friends here who have been there, done that, and are not only willing to help give advice and tips, but are here to "just listen" on those weary days!
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Unikornfairy, You are my type of gal! Congratulations! In a different situation, involving another government low- income housing lender, my friend almost lost her house due to the xxx.01cent at the end of the dollar amount shown. They were trying to steal her house from her! Thank God she still has a home.
I am even more resolved to take this thing to the end with my dad.
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And igloo572, you give some of the best advice out there!
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Sorry, the above should have been to PaulaK not to igloo572.
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igloo572 - that's exactly how I did it, on the mantel, amid the smaller Christmas presents, near the tree, IN MOM'S LIVING ROOM! We toasted that letter with eggnog and sang "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Here's A Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares", before breaking into the Christmas Carols! We would have sang "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor but we couldn't remember the words. You gotta love a husband that will let his mother-in-law rule his home for nearly ten years, sing and play guitar of her favorite song at her funeral and then cheer his grieving wife up with songs like this at Christmas. So, yeah, hard at the time, but now, I cherish that letter because it proves that I did indeed provide for Mom, put up with (and defeated) the government, and came out smiling and singing stupid songs to a framed letter. I highly recommend it!

Many hugs to you for all the great answers you've given folks on this site!
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unikornfairy, I LOVE that you did that. I now have a mental image of the framed letter, sitting proudly on the mantel just above the Christmas stockings, the twinkling lights from the tree glinting festively off the frame. Thank you for the laugh (I know there was nothing funny about any of it to you at the time ...)!
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igloo572, yes, the Federal site is useless, and it is because the states each have their own laws, but IN GENERAL, Texas most matches the states I have dealt with. I live in Tennessee and MERP is horrible! They are vile, cruel creatures that don't care what they say or do if it gets them access to your parents' estate. I know, I was treated so badly I went to our Governor and to my other representatives and got the "lady" I dealt with fired. Tennessee has a huge indigent population that puts a strain on the economy and thus MERP is tenacious in recovering anything they can. My Mom's house was only worth $60,000.00 and you'd have thought it was worth more than 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. the way they went after it. Medicaid was out of pocket about $50,000.00 on my Mom because I kept her out of the nursing home and in my home for just short of ten years, saving Medicaid over $336,000.00. I threatened to sue Medicaid over Mom's house and hired an attorney. That's when the MERP temper tantrum began in earnest, them calling me every kind of lowlife scum the earth has ever seen. But, they withdrew their claim and I ended up getting to keep Mom's house. But just to show how upset they were, MERP wrote me the most scathing letter you can imagine to let me know how little they thought of me for fighting back. It arrived the day before Christmas Eve. I framed it.
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I'm pretty sure this guy is an elder attorney. His specialty is wills, estate law and probate issues. In light of all this information, I'm going to do my best to keep Dad from leaving his condo! I do need to sit down and go over these issues with him.
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D - what this attorney did was to avoid probate. (via a QCD) But although it does that, it DOES NOT avoid a transfer penalty for medicaid. It makes a transfer penalty inquiry happen (not good). If dad never needs to apply for Medicaid, or doesn't apply till Dec. 2018, then the QCD works. But if Dad applies for Medicaid before that, he or you (if you do the paperwork) will have to disclose any & all items (assets) that have been gifted, transferred or sold within the last 5 years. The state database gets all real property info from each county's tax assessor, so eventually the whole condo situation will come up. And you will face a transfer penalty inquiry. For something like this, there is no way to get around it as it is just there and obvious and the amount is specific.And it is over $ 100,000.00......

So either you private pay the transfer penalty amount OR sometimes the QCD will be redone so that you QCD the property back to Dad and then he qualifies for Medicaid. But then the property is subject to MERP (Medicaid estate recovery). If you are living at the condo, you will be fully expected to pay for all on the condo (taxes, insurance, etc) from your money. Dad can keep the condo as an exempt Medicaid asset but Dad will not be able to contribute his income to do this, as Medicaid requires a co-pay of their monthly income to the NH. They are allowed a small personal needs allowance (my mom's is $ 60 a month) but that will not cover all the expenses on the condo. You will need your own income or money to pay for whatever on the condo for dad's lifetime or till you are able to fully do whatever to get the caregiver exemption so that you can assume legal ownership.

You need an elder law attorney, not a real estate guy or general law attorney. I would suggest that you meet with elder law and take all the paperwork that the old attorney has done, do not file anything till elder law has reviewed all this. Whatever you do, the attorneys should be paid for out of your dad's funds. If you pay and you benefit and there are possible other family out there to complain, this helps in quelling that situation. This site has a list of attorneys on the far right side of topics. Good luck.
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I really appreciate all this info! I called the Atty. who drew up the QCD to ask him if it was to be filed now or after dad's death. He said it was coming up for review in a few days. Whatever that means. So I did not get an answer.. I wonder why he is being vague? Last July , he was in aconvalescent hospital and the resident social worker tried to arrange transport to a board and care. My dad refused to go. This was before any of the qcd documents were done. Actually, my mom had done a will and a qcd, but when we had an atty. look at them, he said it was all wrong. Then he drew up the papers we now have. He said it will avoid probate, and that we didn't need a will due to the value of the estate. The condo is tax assessed at 104.000. The actual market value is around $165-175,000. (Depending on how much reconditioning I'm able to accomplish)
I am going to copy all this info for my next meeting or talk with the Atty. Thank you so much for giving me this valuable information! I'm hoping to keep dad out of the nursing home. There's no telling how this is going to turn out- On the QCD it does not seem that the deed has been filed yet. I asked the Atty. if there were any fees I needed to pay to finalize things. At least I put a bug in his ear, and have a better sense of what questions to ask. Igloo572; Thank You!
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Unikorn - one big reason why the federal site is not specific and cannot ever be is because MERP is administered by the states (under a federal requirement for the state to participate in Medicaid) and so each state's specifics on probate, heirship and death laws determine how MERP is done.

Some states are fairly aggressive on MERP because their state laws on probate and property rights allow for a lien system. Other states not so. TX is a level of claim probate state and MERP is a class 7 claim. So everybody in Class 1 - 6 get paid first and then MERP. Credit cards are class 8 so they are totally sol in getting paid. MERP happens in TX but until recently the rates were low. Houses below 200K in value were almost never even contacted by MERP. Also TX does not allow for one's homestead to have a lien placed on it by a CC or other debtor (including MERP) - only the IRS or the mortgage holder can place a lien on the homestead. What MERP does in TX is place a claim against the assets of the estate, which if they are on Medicaid means their home. Then when you go to probate, the MERP claim is entered as a class 7 claim in probate. TX allows for 4 years for probate too and that is a long time all the while the management cost of probate keeps adding on. The claim will show up in the title search if they need to sell or transfer the property and are doing the sale with a mortgage & need a title company. It does not appear as a lien or judgment on the property. So if you can do the transfer or sale as a Lady Bird deed, the MERP claim is kinda out of luck as far as TX law goes. There are a few other states that allow for Lady BIrd deeds too.

What has happened in the last couple of years nationwide is that the MERP contract has been outsourced. This has changed the whole dynamic of MERP as the contractors approach it as debt collectors and take a % of the recovery. HMS is the big one who have about a dz states and growing. HMS has a sister company who does the compliance for CMS (centers for Medicare & Medicaid) and have very very good systems for finding out to the penny the value & costs. They are pretty aggressive and the MERP rates are increasing in states who have hired them. I have real concerns with all this as most folks - who are still totally bereaving the loss of family - are totally at a disadvantage in dealing with the strict timeframes in filing exemptions and being able to provide the documentation required and understanding how to have probate to your best advantage.
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Devoted - so you are now dad's caregiver and dad will be needing to apply for Medicaid for NH in the near future? Is that the situation? If so, seems to be 2 years of full-time care in order for the house to get an MERP (Medicaid estate recovery program) caregiver exemption for most states. You may need to provide for documentation from a doctor(s) that he had a specific level of care needed and what you did to enable him so that he was able to stay at his home and not be in the NH under Medicaid.

But there are some other things to consider regarding the house. Now if dad did a QCD to you and you now are legally the owner of the house (it was properly recorded at the tax assessors office and your name is now on the property), then if dad applies for Medicaid, the QCD'd property will be viewed as subject to a possible transfer penalty by Medicaid. Dad will need 5 years distance between the date of filing the QCD to his date of Medicaid application in order for a penalty not to be able to be done. Transfer penalty are totally sticky and personally I think you need an elder law attorney (not a real estate attorney) to work this out if this happens.Transfer penalty depends on your state's reinbursement rate for NH Medicaid room & board. Usually the tax assessor value is used as the benchmark for what the penalty is based on. So if your state pays $ 200 a day and the house assessor value was $ 150,000.00, then dad would be ineligible for Medicaid for 750 days. This is a generalization as each state has it's own transfer penalty formula that is pretty loco to figure out. But 750 days is a long time to have to private pay for the NH but that is why it is so important that you understand how the rules work.

Now if QCD was never filed, then dad still owns the condo. This is a whole different situation. For dad's lifetime (in most situations) the house is an exempt asset for Medicaid. Dad can continue to own the house, pay the lower taxes on it due to his senior status, etc. He does not have to sell the house to go onto Medicaid. BUT Medicaid requires a copay of all his income to the NH for his share by Medicaid rules. He is allowed a small personal monthly allowance (between $ 35 - 90) but that realistically will not pay for the costs on the condo. Some states allow for a diversion of their income to pay for property costs either for a short period of time or if there is a active Realtor listing agreement on the property.Someone will need to pay for everything on the condo. This hopefully is managable for you to do for the possibly many years he could be in a NH. Then upon his death, you file the caregiver exemption from MERP on the house and MERP releases any claim or lien on the property.

You can also request from the Medicaid program to get the caregiver exemption done upon his application for Medicaid. But if it is declined, they will expect you to private pay for his care until the penalty is worked through. The caseworker will know to the penny what his assets are worth as you have had to provide them with his application.

Do you have savings or income or other source of funds to be paying for all the costs on the condo without any of dad's income? If not, then you may want to think about figuring out how to spend down dad's assets to prepay for things on the condo (taxes, insurance, utilities, etc) so that it gives you some time to work through your finances. Good luck.
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Both good answers above.

This is from Texas website, but most states are fairly similar, so definitely check with your specific state, but for information purposes, the following is a good guideline.

The MERP applies only to some of the long-term Medicaid services, like nursing home care, extended in-home services, and prescription drugs supported by Medicaid. It is important realize that the MERP will only file a claim on a person’s estate if doing so is cost effective. The MERP will not file a claim when:
- the value of the estate is less than $10,000;
- there is a spouse who is still alive;
- there is a child under 21 years of age;
- there is a child of any age who is blind or permanently and totally disabled;
- there is an unmarried adult child who lived in the person’s home for at least one year before the Medicaid recipient died;
- the amount of recoverable Medicaid costs are $3,000 or less; or
- the cost of selling the property would be more than or equal to the value of the property.
The state of Texas will also not ask for monetary reimbursement if doing so would cause an undue hardship for the deceased person’s heirs. In order to be granted an undue hardship request, the person’s heirs must ask for it, and provide documentation that proves the hardship. Some scenarios that MERP recognizes as undue hardships occur when:
- the estate property was a family business, farm, or ranch for at least 12 months prior to the Medicaid recipient’s death, and this property is the main source of income for their heirs;
- the estate property produces at least 50% of the heir’s livelihood;
- recovery by the state would affect the property and result in heirs losing their primary source of income; or
- the estate’s beneficiaries would be eligible for public or medical assistance if a recovery claim is collected.
- Other compelling reasons may exist.
This site, from the US Government, is completely worthless as it doesn't begin to tell you what the exemptions are. I include it here simply as a matter of reference for you to look at (you'll quickly see it's the government at its worse).
http://longtermcare.gov/medicare-medicaid-more/medicaid/medicaid-estate-recovery/
This site, also from the US Government, is only slightly better, and you will see why I used the Texas site to help you rather than directly using the US website. http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Eligibility/Estate-Recovery.html
GOD BLESS YOU!
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I went to an estate Attny, he drew up a joint tenancy-Quit-claim deed. No POA, it cost $4,000.00 I'm allowed to handle all my dad's finances based on trust.
My 2 brothers are in Georgia, and realize that there won't be any money left for them; but I'm still considering selling and giving them a fair share.
The lawyer I drew up the deed had a major court trial, and hasn't returned my last phone call. But I should try again. I wasn't able to ask all the questions I wanted because my dad was sitting there. It was so awkward! He's not on medicaid yet, he has to spend down first. I established legal residency first by changing my forwarding mail, then last august I put in a change of address on my drivers licence. The only reason I would a POA now is if I wanted to force a sale of the condo, or put him in a home. The Dr. said that whenever I was ready, he would prepare the paperwork.
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It depends on the state. Look on the state medicaid website to see what the time limit is. In other states it is 2 years from when you establish legal residency, and you have to establish residency to qualify for the exemption.

What/whose attorney? Do you have POA? Siblings? other relatives that have a claim on him? Have you talked to an attorney of your own?
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