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Hi,
Currently, my parents live at home, but I'm afraid that won't be the case forever. I am the primary caregiver and have been for two years. I'm trying to do the right thing by being proactive and start looking at NH for mom and AL for dad. My mom is on MassHealth and my dad doesn't qualify. Here is my question, if they sell their house will my mom lose her MassHealth eligibility? To complicate things more, my brother wants to buy it (as an investment property) but I think it's better to sell with an independent broker (who I have used when we sold our last home) and keep things out of the family as I fear this could complicate things for my parents in the long run. Any resources or help would be appreciated. Of course I wouldn't do anything without contacting an elder attorney, but I would like to be able to ask informed questions with her.
Many thanks!

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Babalou, you are correct. Speaking with someone at MassHealth is a joke. I contacted their elder attorney and she said if my parents sell the house or if my dad did a reverse mortgage (to pay for badly needed home repairs and his own private pay aid), my mom would lose her MassHealrh eligibility since the home is in both their names. Once her 50% is gone for paying for the NH she could reapply then. Basically, she can never have more than $2K in name. Since she only gets $1K a month through SS and her pension, this is no problem. Selling the house changes everything.
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Igloo, very helpful info. Thank you. I will look for the last tax bill. They pay quarterly, so it shouldn't be too hard to find (here's to hoping!).
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Age - also about your bro, I' suggest you get the last tax assessor bill (you can likely download off the county site if you can' t find easily) and you tell him that IF he wants to buy the house for less, he will need to get & pay for a registered & licensed appraiser to do a report and pay whatever is less: the appraisers report or tax assessors bill in order to buy the house. With all closing costs split 50/50. If bro balks on any of this, he does not have his parents best interest first & foremost. You have to be hard ball on this.
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Age- whether if brother buys property or it sells on open market, what is likely to happen is that state is going to send mom & dad a transfer of assets inquiry letter. If the sale of the property takes them over the allowed amount for assets, then they will be ineligible for Medicaid. They will need to do a spend down to get to that point in assets. Really for community spouse situations where 1 in a NH and the other in the community (living in AL or at home is considered "community"), it's so much more complex for Medicaid - you need to speak to elder lawyer on parents behalf & update all so you are the DPOA MPOA and whatever else may be needed to ensure best for parents.

You are right to be concerned about bros "investment" approach. If the property is bought by your brother for less than FMV, the state could place a transfer penalty based on the amount BUT done by a # of days extra ineligibility for Medicaid. If bro does not pay FMV ( usually is what tax assessor has property value of last tax bill.), the only way to buy it for less is to have a very conservative appraisal done BEFORE the sale & the appraiser has to be registered for however your state licenses them. otherwise expect a transfer penalty....and it's by days ineligible. For example, for TX a 50k off the FMV means 320 days of ineligibility as TX Medicaid reinbursement is pegged at about $156 a day. 320 days of private pay is a long, long time and the NH will expect payment and at private pay rate . So would brother private pay for all costs during the period of time of the penalty period?? If not, then can you? Real property penalty is hard to get around as all details & to the penny is there in your states database.

Really get an appointment with elder lawyer, since you have community spouse issues I'd look for an NAELA one. Your situation gets complicated as it sounds like mom has looming NH placement and dad could maybe stay @ home but will need AL sometime down the road....so house is a problem for when dad moves out. Do this soon and not wait till you are in NH move chaos. Good luck
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Additionally, I don't think getting someone from Mass Health on the phone is going to help. You need to talk to someone who is giving advice to your specific situation, and who is looking out for your interests. That would be a lawyer, paid for by dad.
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You need to talk to an eldercare attorney who specializes in this sort of thing. As long as the monies are being used for care, there should be a way to make this work. There are ways of preserving assets for the care of the community spouse ( not preserving an inheritance for family) in most states.
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Pamstegma, thank you for the info! I was worried about that. My dad can't afford AL without the house sale. All the AL's around are private pay. I found one NH (for mom) that accepts MassHealth and AL (for dad) that are connected and I really liked. Now I'm starting to think this might not work. My mom's needs are getting greater and I'm getting burnt out and worried about them all the time. Thank you again.
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"If you sell the property during your lifetime, MassHealth has the right to get back from your share of the proceeds any money it paid for all services you got from MassHealth on or after April 1, 1995. MassHealth will count any remaining proceeds when deciding if you can still remain eligible for MassHealth"
See a lawyer before you sell the house, especially to a family member.
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Thanks, All. I will try getting in touch with MassHealth, which is extremely difficult to get a person on the phone and then it is never the correct department.
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Contact MassHealth with your question before going to see the lawyer.
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One would assume that a husband and wife own equal shares of the house. Best thing to do is contact MassHealth to see how a sale of house would impact that spouse who is part of that program.
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Would the sale proceeds impact MassHealth eligibility?
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Thanks, EaseLiving.
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If your brother wants to buy it and is willing to pay a fair price I don't see any reason not to sell it to him. Use a lawyer to do the paperwork and transfer the title like you would to any other buyer. And you'll save the broker's fees!
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