Can I sell mom's house to pay for the facility? - AgingCare.com

Can I sell mom's house to pay for the facility?

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My mother is nursing facility, has Medicare and Medicaid in Fla, I have POA

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As far as Medicaid is concerned, a house is a non-countable asset. The applicant is allowed to own $2,000 in countable assets.
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I'm surprised they haven't made you sell it already. It's suooosed to be part of the pay down of her assets so Medicare gets the money to pay for her facility care (unless she is still married). If you have financial POA and it gives you the specific right OR says you can do whatever she could do as if you were her (or words to that effect), then yes, you can sell it - just make sure you get FMV.
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Talk to an eldercare lawyer. Laws vary widely from state-to-state.
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Before selling the house, you must first talk to her about this. Make sure she doesn't have some sort of set up for after her death such as a TOD, or transfer on death. If this was done through a lawyer, no, you won't be able to sell the house and overturn the legal arrangement. My bio dad was in a nursing home and no one was able to overturn the TOD that was in place. This actually protects a person's house for whoever you intend to get the house when you're gone. You also want to make sure the house is not mentioned in a will, because if it is, you won't be able to touch it without her going back through the lawyer and changing her will. If she's wanting to transfer the house and not wanting to change her will to allow for the sale of the home, you can't overturn her wishes especially if they're protected by the law and the way she has everything set up. If you go trying to sell the house, something along the way may stop you from doing it if things are set up the right way because there will be certain records in the system that will pop up. In case they don't and the house sells, you can get in trouble later when that asset is later discovered missing, because the law can actually come after you or whoever caused that asset to go missing because it will be found, and the consequences will be severe. The law is serious about asset recovery if certain things are in place protecting those assets and it turns out assets were wrongfully sold when they shouldn't have been sold. 

Be very careful before selling her house out from under her, don't get yourself in hot water. Best yet though, you should probably let her take care of things according to how things are set up. Let her take care of this, you stay out of it and save yourself the risk of legal trouble if something is not done right. I would hate to see you get in trouble if you sell the house and come to find out there's a legal protection protecting it and the sale goes through. I personally would not take that risk knowing how serious the consequences are just in case something is accidentally overturned or overlooked and it's discovered later by the right person.
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While we're at it here I would like to tell you how you can get some of your parents money BEFORE they may need it. Say your parents have 50k in savings or investments and they want to give you 25k. They can do that but you need to go five years before that money is no longer part of their assets after they give it to you. Then the money is yours no matter what happens and Medicare can't touch it. However if and when you need Medicaid to take care of mom or dad they will research mom and dad's total financial back ground to see where their money went. If you take the 25k and it's been less than five years then they will figure your penalty (There's always a damned penalty) based on a formula they have and you will not get their financial help until the penalty has been satisfied. The penalty is so many months where YOU pay M&D's rent until the amount you took is made up. So talk to your parents NOW and get them to cut out part of their money NOW for you and then hope they don't need it for five years. Whatever you do don't spend that money for five years. Put it in the bank or better yet invest in the stock market. Utilities are very safe even though they are slow growing. Three that I've done well with are Southern Co (SO), Entergy and AEP. There are ,of course, many more to consider.
Keep the money for the five years in case anything happens to M&D before the five years is up. After five years the money is your to do with as you see fit and nobody can take it away from you for any reason.
Also by all means set up a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) which will help a lot in dealing with M&D's creditors and utilities and banks. Have your parents put you on record at all banks that they do business with and the phone, electric and cable companies, that you are authorized to act for them should they become unable to do for them selves IN ADDITION TO THE DPOA. I can't even have my mothers old phone shut off because the phone company doesn't have me down as the authorized person AND I DO HAVE THE DPOA. True story.
Don't figure that all this is covered in the will because it isn't. Uncle Sam has a bunch of wayS to make you pay and you must protect yourself from them. Again best of luck to all of you.
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PeteMcGill said it best. As I basically did the same thing. Everything he said with the lawyers happened to a friend of my mothers. I started doing my own research online. Lookup medicaid spend down as well. Medicaid kicks in when all your assets are exhausted. House and 1 car are exempt, but do say that she is coming back home. Just do the research. I did get a lawyer for my mother since she’s on medicaid and the lawyer was free, it’s called Legal Aid in Naples, FL. They just confirmed things but we also set up a DPOA etc. while we were there.
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We went to see an "elder lawyer" about my mother's estate while she is in a nursing home. We filled out several forms for the lawyer including a list of all her assets. Then we sat through a two hour presentation of what the law firm would do for us and the fact that we would be doing a lot of the work ourselves. Then came the clincher. They wanted $15,000 up front for one years worth of legal stuff including applying for Medicaid if and when it was needed. That number just happened to coincide with the money in one checking account, the biggest amount that was immediately available by writing a check. The rest of the assets would require selling property or stocks before the cash was available. The whole thing was just to smooth so we declined to hire this firm. Later on we found that we can accomplish the same thing without the lawyer for nothing so I think we have done the right thing so far.
We did find out that mothers condo is exempt from the assets list as is one automobile if she had owned one. Anything else is up for grabs by Medicaid and you will have to spend that money on taking care of your loved one until it's all gone and then you can apply for Medicaid.
You may NOT take any money out of the estate for yourself without having to pay it back in the end. You can set things up so that you can get paid a reasonable amount for your caretaking as long as you keep very detailed records of your expenses and travel ect. just like for the IRS. You have to be able to prove you spent the money to get credited with that amount by Medicaid. If we need a lawyer in the future we will hire one to do specific things for a specific amount of money and never mind how much we may have in the bank.
To specifically answer your question, yes you can sell moms home if there is no way she will be able to return to it , and use the money for her care. However if you don't want to sell the home then you can apply for Medicaid and keep the home with no penalty as long as you insist that Mom will be going back home sooner or later whether she will or not. Will you be lieing to Medicaid? NO. Anything can happen with Mom or Dad. If they suddenly got better they will be dismissed from the home and have no place to go. Then if the patient dies theirs no problem if you inherit. You have the home legally and that's it.
Hope this isn't all too confusing. Do your homework on the computer and read everything you can find about these subjects. It really all very simple and logical after you study it for awhile. I am not a lawyer but I can read and understand the explanations on line. I have to look up some terms but that's easy. I wish you good luck on this St. Patricks day and hope I've helped a little.
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On the other side if the home sits for a couple of years and is vacent, who pays for taxes and utilities? Contact an elder law attorney for options. If she has to come off of Medicaid so be it. You can spend more on her private and personal needs and give her a few more months of a better quality of life. You can refile again.
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Please be aware that once the house is sold, Medicaid will want reimbursement for any care paid for by Medicaid. I had to get Medicaid assistance for the seven months it took to sell Mom's home, and now she's a private pay NH resident. Medicaid (Colorado) has billed her $30,000. After funds from the sale of her home are used up, I will have to reapply for Medicaid for her. By the way, it took Medicaid a year to bill her, and I've spent a month legitimizing all the charges.
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Definitely speak to elder lawyer before doing a n y t h i n g.
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