Can I save my father's home or any assets?

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My father suffered strokes last year in August and ended up at a nursing home for 7 months til his money was getting low. It was all happening so fast and my brother was doing nothing to help, but of course he is POA. But I'm the one dealing with nursing home and everything else. I have been taking care of my dad since 3/31 until I can figure out what to do. I wanted him back in a nursing facility even though he wanted to come home, but I wanted to try to save the house if he does have to go back. He had always said it is in a trust but I can find no proof of that. It is not listed in his mail or the county's public records as such, only as in his name. I have lived here with him my whole life and have been administering his care almost three months on my own but it isn't near what he needs. I can hardly clean him or move him and he barely eats right. He is bedridden and can't walk. The house is cluttered, has mice, is dangerous, etc. But he wouldn't ever let me throw anything out. But I thought I saw that he could sign it to me since I have been an unpaid caregiver since he has been home, I have made sure bills got paid, etc. I thought I read that that was a condition in which I would be able to save the house, but I met with and elder law attorney who wasn't so optimistic. He said I would have to pay him 6000 for up to a year service to help me save only 50000 which doesn't include the house. Better than nothing but it would help since my brother needs a car. Lawyer said if dad spent down assets and went on medicaid, if he died medicaid would want reimbursement so that is likely when we would have to sell the house. He said the money we could save would accrue a medicaid penalty period so we would have to save less than half as we would need to spend down the rest during the penalty period. I did put in a change of address form in with dmv but it is not reflected on my license, just a separate card. I thought that might be a problem too. My name is not on the lease at the apartment I was staying at with my gf, but I was only really there a few months. I didn't know I would be getting into this big of a nightmare. This is getting too taxing on my mental health. I am very depressed, have no job or income, and am completely alone in caring for him. I have begged and pleaded with council on aging, proseniors, his primary care, and social workers for help to no real avail. I don't know what to do. I still haven't been able to get the wheelchair ramp put in. So when he has appointments I have to get him up and down steps in his wheelchair by myself with only the gatebelt for support to keep him in the chair. Hopefully I will hear good news on that front tomorrow. I can't keep doing this. Who do I call, what do I do, is there any way I can get him in a home and save the house so I can finally fix it up? Or should I pay the lawyer, take what I can get, and cut my losses? I wanted to call APS at one point but only as a measure of desperation, last resort. As a self neglect issue with him not wanting more help. It just sucks because Ohio nursing homes are so bad. He refused foot care during his stay so I had to take him after, he had had a bad toe infection for a while. I just didn't want anyone to think I was purposely putting him in this situation. I just don't know what to do. I am only 30, and have no money or place of my own if I lose that home. I'll need to be able to find work fast if I can even hope to save it. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

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I think that 42 U.S.C. 1396p ((look at section (2) (B) (ii)) states that asset recovery will occur after the death of an adult child who provides care for and lives in the home of the recipient 2 years prior to Medicaid enrollment, as long as the adult child continues living in the home until his/her death. I may not understand this correctly, and it may not be easy to deal with within the Medicaid application process.
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whitelodge, looking at this from the outside I think my first consideration is, what is best for Father?

It sounds like that answer is a care center of some kind that can provide the level of care he needs. Another option would be to fix up the house, evict the mice, remove the dangers, add a ramp, etc. and arrange for in-home care, from people other than you. That is probably the most expensive option of them all. He could use his assets for all of the fixing up. But would his income cover round-the-clock care?

It seems that coincidentally what is best for your father is also best for you. You absolutely cannot continue to be responsible for all aspects of his care.

So far, so good. Nice match on what is best.

Now, how is that going to be paid for?

Well, Dad is not rich but he does have some assets, at least $50,000 plus a house. He is going to need Medicaid. (Is he a vet? I don't know what those benefits might be.) To be on Medicaid he is allowed a maximum of $2,000 assets. The other $48,000 must be "spent down" which simply means he must spend it on himself and his care. (It is not spending down half ... it is spending down until the threshold is reached. Was the lawyer you saw a specialist in Elder Law? Mentioning spending down 1/2 sounds out-of-date and/or not applicable to a single person. It used to be the rule for couples.)

I think you would like to have some of that $50,000 for yourself, am I right? Medicaid has no provisions that allow adult children to receive some of the assets. (If the adult children have handicaps there are ways to protect funds for them.) The assets may be spent on buying a super-deluxe amazing wheelchair for Dad, but not for a car for brother. It could be spent on updating Dad's house, but not on an apartment for you.

What happens if Dad spends his assets on you and your brother? -- He gives to you or buys things for you to the tune of about $48,000. Now he is eligible for Medicaid. But Medicaid is very strict in looking at any expenditures over the last 5 years that were not for the applicant. Such expenditures will be considered gifts. Medicaid reasons that if Dad had spent that money on his own care he wouldn't be needing Medicaid so soon. And they delay his eligibility for a period of time based on the amount given away.

So, with or without a lawyer, Dad can simply give you his money. And with or without a lawyer, that will create a delay in when he can get Medicaid. Who is going to support him during the delay period?

Dad can keep the house. On Medicaid he will have only a small personal allowance. Who is going to pay the taxes, insurance, and maintain the house? If it is rented out (at a fair market rate) the rent will be considered income and must be used for his care. If it is sold while he is still alive, the equity he receives will probably make him ineligible for Medicaid for several months until it is gone and he is once again under $2,000. If it is sold after he dies, Medicaid will take out of the proceeds reimbursement for what his care has cost them. Anyway you look at it, the house would no longer be your father's to give to whomever he chooses. Medicaid has a claim against that house.

The basic rules are, people must use their own funds for their own care. If that money runs out Medicaid can step in and use tax money as a safety net. Money cannot be given away to speed up the eligibility for Medicaid.
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I think there may be a provision in Medicaid rules that allows an adult child to retain the home of the parent until the adult child's death if he/she can prove that he/she took care of the parent in the parent's home for two years prior to nursing home placement. You can google and find out --just be certain that you're looking at legitimate web sites; i.e., government web-sites. Also, your local council for the aged may be able to point you to resources for your other needs. Additionally, sometimes local churches help with such as wheelchair ramps and other modifications to help keep your father in his home.
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