Follow
Share

My mother is now in a LTC nursing home. She's applied for Medicaid to cover expenses while she's there, however her & my father own a house. My father is worried that Medicaid will want for them to sell it. So he wants to sign it over to one of us children so that Medicaid won't take the estate. What does he have to do?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
OK, here's another dilemma that I saw unfold. A friend of mine has his mom in a nursing home right now. He was her POA. He was paying the bills on time and in full each month as they were due. However, at some point the nursing home wanted to rush things along so they started hounding the POA, and eventually they threatened him. Yes, they were very unprofessional and very rude. In fact the front was so bad it scared him into turning the check over to the nursing home and surrendering his POA position for his mom. He was doing everything he was supposed to do, only for someone to come along and use threats to get what they really wanted. That's called intimidation and it's illegal. I'm surprised he didn't think to contact the Better Business Bureau and report the incident because I could've put a stop to this. Using threats has gone way too far and it must be stopped by the families of the patients. This is another good example of why it's so important to protect your assets good and well while you can, because if you don't you will have a nursing home figuratively "pounding down your door" harassing and threatening you until they get what they want.

If that's not enough, I saw a staff member handle an Alzheimer's patient very roughly and jerk her around. Yes, there is abuse going on in some of these institutions. If they can threatened and harassed people on the outside, just imagine what most likely goes on secretly inside behind closed doors. The patient's family was nowhere around, and it was me who saw the abuse against the patient. After I reported it to the head department of nursing, the nursing home staff with whom I had a problem of hateful remarks must've been the one to drop up some kind of lies to the guardian of my foster dad because my visitation to him was severed after that. It was just because I reported and abuse incident that I clearly saw against another patient other than the one I was visiting. In other words, I was punished for reporting abuse, and chances are the Guardian will most likely never let me see my foster dad again just because I did the right thing.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

igloo572, OOOOK, then why are so many people complaining of losing all their assets to a nursing home when they enter one? I was even speaking with a knowledgeable friend of mine this afternoon and he even said the courts can legally order nursing homes to grab your money or other assets in order to pay for nursing home costs. He runs a retirement housing complex and is very knowledgeable about this kind of stuff. He said all they have to do is get a court order to grab everything you have and it's totally legal. I even saw something suspicious happen with my foster dad because everything of his was also grabbed, the first thing being his guardian taking over his life and his bank account. I'm sure all of his money is now being split between her and the nursing home. He lost all of his belongings when he entered the nursing home, because of a court order to appoint a court issued guardian who took everything. When I told my real estate friend about this, he said it was totally legal as long as they had a court order. He also went on to say they can legally take your Social Security even if you have it stopped at the Social Security office. He said a court order is very powerful and they can do just about anything they want. I think this is true since I saw it happen.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I live in NY. Since 2011, even life estates can be attached by the NY state MERP program. Do NOT transfer the house, the car or anything else. Dad can stay right where he is, Medicaid will NEVER take the house while he is alive. See a lawyer before you make a mess.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

1 rare - about the "nightmares" you mentioned. Neither the state or the NH can just seize the elders home. Neither are in the real estate business and really just wth are they to do with a old house with likely years of delayed maintenance……..

But both NH and state have to be paid or attempt a recovery made to cover the costs of care paid. But the method to attempt to recover differ.

For a NH, there usually is something in the admissions paperwork to have a family member sign off to be financially responsible. This is why it is very important that family either have the elder themselves sign all documents or the DPOA sign every item every time as "Jane Smith Jones in her limited capacity as DPOA for Anne Smith" to provide for a distancing from being personally responsible for the costs of their elders NH. Over & over again folks are on this site who sign off in a stressed rush to get their parents in a facility and find that they actually could be totally responsible for their parents costs of care if something goes amiss and don't get a copy of the contract and admissions documents. If you live in filial responsibility state the facility can attempt to recover the costs from any family member via a lawsuit. If the elder refuses to pay or refuses to do their required by Medicaid co-pay the NH can and likely will place the account up for collection. If they use an aggressive collection outfit, it will be the letters, followed by lawsuit, required court appearance and judgment issued against the elder which means they can get a lein on the elders house (unless they live in the handful of states that do not allow this on homestead).

For state Medicaid programs, they do this both by doing an annual renewal with updated financial documentation to prove that they are still within "at-need" status and eligible for Medicaid when they are alive. And then by doing the required attempt of recovery of costs of care via MERP after they die from the assets of their estate which will mean their home or their life insurance if they had their estate as the beneficiary. Dealing with MERP successfully can be done. BUT family will need to totally do whatever for exemptions or exclusions or other filing and documentation required within the timeframe for MERP inquiry or within probate to have the MERP claim or lein released or negotiated or not attempted. Or they do a Lady Bird deed in those states that allow.

Keeping elder on NH Medicaid old home can be done but family will have to be able to pay all costs on the empty home from day 1 of NH Medicaid to their death and then beyond through the probate, Lady Bird deed transfer or MERP recovery process. Family will have to pay all house costs and be able to do this for a unknown period of time and be willing to risk that it may not work out. But if you have the wallet to do so and don't mind risk, and you have a reason to keep the house even if just sentimentality then have the elder keep the empty home. For a lower value property, the costs to maintain for years could exceed the value of the property so no recovery as no cost-benefit so gets released. For a high value property close to the 500K/750K limits, it can be sold with heirs and MERP likely all getting proceeds from the sale. For those in the middle, it's really important that meticulous records are kept on the costs on the property as it's going to be a deduction from MERP &/or a claim against the estate in probate. Some rent the home to offset costs as well.

Whatever the case, keeping house is going to require work, funding, meticulous record keeping and risk on the part of family. It's not a nightmare but requires a long term commitment (could be 6 mos or 6 years), being a risk-taker and bit of a pitt-bully personality for sibling or in-law in charge and kum-ba-ya by all the rest of the family. For most families, neither the math nor family dynamics work so the home gets sold with the proceeds used to private pay for care till spent down and then apply for Medicaid.

But it can be done. There are folks on this site who have done it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Also if your getting info from dad, please please keep in mind that what he is telling you may not be accurate. He is probably very much focused on your moms day to day situation and overwhelmed and stressed. If he himself has health issues well all this often leads to misinformation.

Also most NH Medicaid applicants are widows or widowers, so much of the info on the web, told by others, etc. is based on the rules for solo applicants. Often the admissions for a NH don't understand the nuances of CS/NH Medicaid eligibility as well. For widow widowers it's pretty simple with the key items being 2k in non exempt assets and within the limits of monthly income. But for CS it's lots more complex and add in if the still at home spouse has their own issues or aging there can be lots of misinformation. That why legal can really help.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

1rarefind - the OP already has had the NH spouse apply for Medicaid. They have no money. If they've applied for Medicaid, they've already hit the wall of no $$$.
Suggestions on wealth advisors, etc is just a waste of time & energy for everybody.

LMS - your dad under Medicaid rules is considered the "community spouse" and as such they do no themselves need to be " at need" for your mom to be qualified for medicaid. Only mom need to be "at need" & medically needy and financially impoverished. To me, the CS / NH situation really needs eider law atty. to work with them. One problem is that if the Medicaid application has already been done, your parents financial situation may be fixed as most Medicaid programs do CS/NH applications review of assets & income based on a " snapshot" day which is usually the date of the medicaid application. If your parents have under the CS limit (about 119k) and dads own personal monthly income is sufficient to cover his day to day expenses, then this is not quite an issue. But if they have over 119K in assets, & dad needs some of moms retirement monthly income to make ends meet (like there is horror-of-horrors a mortgage!) & they still have a lot of debt or dada has his own meducal expenses needed to be paid each month, it's quite a different situation and they need good elder law atty to get dads situation to get perhaps get any assets over the 119k spent down on things needed for dads living situation and his getting CSRA / MMNA maximum. Community spouse resource allowance /monthly maintenance needs allowance - I think of these as sorta like alimony for the nonNH spouse. If dad is still relatively healthy and could likely out live mom by years or decades this is especially important. If dad is right behind mom in entering a NH not quite so important.

CSRA is set by each state so it varies. Like for TX is right under $ 2,900 a mo. So in theory if moms monthly income is $ 3,200 a mo so her required copay or SOC ( share of cost) to the NH would be $ 3,140 a mo. But if dad got the maximum CSRA of $ 2,900 then moms copay to the NH would only be $ 240.00. The whole CSRA equation is really critical for may/december marriages but it's available to all CS. It's stuff like this that makes a good elder care atty priceless.

So what to do......my suggestion is for you to get a tight & realistic financial & health picture on dads situation: review last 2 years on house costs in detail; are the majors needing replacement at the house (roof, AC/heat) and what would be those costs; what is the plan for funeral & burial and are they prepaid and if not is there $ to do this; what is the house worth and would it be a challenge to sell; have a reality check on dads health and ability.

All this gives you a better picture of the situation both for you & your siblings to discuss with dad and with the atty. Be realistic, which can be hard.....but the scenario for a 78 yr old health dad with a smallish,1story easy to get around in house that is paid off is quite different than for an 88 yr old with copd, diabetes and a huge 2story house with a mortgage and needs a new roof.

By & large Medicaid cannot require them to sell the house. Their home and a car are considered exempt assets during their lifetime. But Medicaid is required to do an attempt to recover all costs paid by Medicaid on the assets of the Medicaid recipient upon death or ineligibility, this is done via MERP or MERS. MERP is done as a claim or lien on the property however it works within your states laws on property, probate, etc. MERP has many many exclusions and exemptions which family, dad or heirs can file for & it falls to family to file for and provide all documentation for. Many states have surviving spouse as a total exemption for MERP. MERP has to go by probate rules if probate is done, which can be an advantage to your dad or heirs. Your elder law atty will know just what's what for your state regulations, law and administrative code.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Please don't rely on "what I've heard". Talk to an eldercare attorney familiar with Medicaid rules in the state where the parents reside.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

The downfall with owning a home on Medicaid is that they can actually seize the money if you try to sell the home. I'm not sure how this works but it's definitely a nightmare from what I heard. This is why I suggested something like a trust so Medicaid cannot interfere when you need that money (like for funeral). Another option would be to go ahead and sell the home well in advance of getting on Medicaid. I heard the look back is about five years, (but it may also be a little longer). I've also heard nightmares where her nursing homes can somehow get a hold of your assets, including your home and your money, anything valuable. This is why there are ways to protect your assets should you enter a nursing home. Before the transfer on death was discontinued here in Ohio, my bio dad filled one out, but I don't know just how competent he really was when he did it, but I highly suspect someone probably put him up to it and influenced him. This is another good reason to take serious precautions to protect assets, especially right after losing a spouse, and I'll explain why:

Predatory people often read death notices and they often drive through neighborhoods and look for signs of people who appear to be in trouble. This is how the predator moves in, gaining the person's trust and eventually access to assets, including bank accounts and even life insurance policy's among other things. Predatory people buddy up with a sour agenda (unknown to the potential victim). They usually go after people who have money, and my family was just one of those families who had money. This is why serious asset protection should be planned when you're young and still able to make those decisions. Predatory people usually don't target those who have little or nothing, it's usually the people with something. This is why it would probably be a very smart move to put your home into a trust or find some other alternative way to protect it against potential predators. You really don't want anyone taking advantage of you in your golden years, especially if you ever happen to become mentally incapacitated to the point you can't even think for yourself.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

See that attorney! A trust if irrevocable would protect the home if it was setup more than five years ago. Transferring the house into a trust now would not protect it, considered gifting as if it were cash if I understand correctly.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

1RareFind, you are allowed to own a home on Medicaid. You don't need to be able to say you don't own a house. I'm not sure if there are any trusts that protect the home from Medicaid Recovery. What is needed here is ELDER LAW expertise which may or may not exist at a wealth managment firm, for example.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

What you can do is speak to an asset protection attorney or a wealth management company, someone who is most knowledgeable should intervene here to help you. It may be that you can put your home into a trust or even an LLC (if you have a business). If not, definitely look into some kind of asset protection such as a trust. That way you can say you don't own a home
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

What he has to do is see a lawyer who specializes in Elder Law and is an expert on Medicaid rules.

Medicaid does not require the selling of a house while either spouse is alive. The state will recover some of their costs when neither spouse lives in the house and it is sold.

Mother has already applied for Medicaid. It is way too late (by 5 years) to sign the house over to children.

An experienced lawyer can help ensure that your parents are positioned as well as they can be for the care costs that lie ahead. A mistake can be extremely costly -- it is far better to spend some money for a legal consultation than to risk a lot of money trying to do it yourselves.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

DO NOT SIGN IT OVER TO CHILDREN! That would change everything, your mother and eventually your father would be penalized with no Medicaid equal to the value of the home. Signing over to children can only be done in some states and only to a child caregiver that has been providing 24/7 medically necessary care for a period of two years.

You dad needs to see an elder law attorney ASAP. There is a process to follow that he will not become impoverished. He is permitted to keep the home, and a car and up to 120K in cash. Anything over that will have to pay for mom's care. See an elder law attorney that specializes in Medicaid planning. NOW!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.