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Everything is both names, checking savings, retirement acts, US Saving bonds etc.

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I agree with everyone, here.

Medicaid rules can vary with states so you need to make sure that the attorney knows current laws for your state. Yes, attorneys cost money, so have your questions organized when you go to minimize time. But it's better to be safe than sorry. Don't this on your own could backfire.

I believe that your conversations with the caseworker will be recorded though again that could vary by state. The caseworker can be very helpful however some are way better than others. Sadly, this is the case with attorneys too.

Best of luck with this confusing situation. I hope you can find competent help.
Carol
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The rules governing joint accounts are based on federal law, so do not vary from state to state. It does not matter in whose name an asset is titled, be it cash, stocks, bank account, etc. All of the assets (husband, wife, and joint) are totaled up and then the Medicaid calculation is applied to that total. The spouse entering the nursing home is only allowed to keep up to $2,000, and the at-home spouse is allowed $117,240 (this number typically changes each year, based on inflation). The balance--if any--must be either spent down, converted to an asset that is exempt for Medicaid purposes, or given away. Note, however, that any gifts within 5 years of applying for Medicaid will result in a period of Medicaid disqualification. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but you'll need to read my book on all of this, called "How to Protect Your Family's Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets." It goes into great detail of how a married or single person can plan and save money while qualifying for Medicaid. Read about it here: www.MedicaidSecrets.com.
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+1 to what Pam said...
Additionally splitting accounts yields nothing but less money for the spouse who remains at home once the split accounts are exhausted...Even some lawyers in my area give advice to divide the assets and then when the afflicted spouses' half is spent down, the other spouse gets to keep the other half and the afflicted spouse gets to go on Medicaid...nothing could be further from the truth....GET HELP...Caseworkers are there to assist you.....Tell them everything.....Also consider consulting a QUALIFIED elder care attorney.
I know, we have been through this ordeal.
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Best to speak with the Medicaid caseworker about what is allowed in your state. Rules vary widely.
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If your local social services office has a competent advisor, they will guide you in the process.....If you get an advisor who you are not comfortable with, ask for another...There are quite a few ins and outs to the process....You will be able to keep your home and all of your own pension and SS....Do not shoot yourself in the foot by gifting money to the kids as this will be found out...You should get your husband to sign a power of atty and a health care power of atty if he is willing....Ask the case worker to explain "snapshot" and "spenddown procedures to you."
BTW, we paid our atty $7000 and as a result got all the very extensive application done (we had over 20 financial accounts mostly in small amounts but still complicate) and as a result of the atty's expertise were able to keep an additional $60,000 legally...

Best wishes,
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Daisy,
The Medicaid applicant's well spouse may retain up to $119,220.00 (effective January 1, 2015) in assets plus exempt, non-available and income-producing assets.
There is no limit on the well spouse's gross monthly income. If the well spouse's gross monthly income is below $1966.25, a portion of the applicant's income may be diverted to the well spouse. This portion is known as the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance. Under certain circumstances, this diversion can bring the spouse's income higher than $1966.25. (karplaw.com)
Do NOT sell them at this point until you talk to someone about the tax implications and the effect on your spouse's Medicaid Benefits.
If they are producing income, leave well enough alone.
Do NOT give them to anyone either except as a bequest AFTER your death. If you give them away now, you will jeopardize Medicaid for yourself.
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Just to add to the other comments: get legal/profession advice as rules vary from state to state. In NJ, for example, we had someone who walked us through the process step by step. We turned over all of Mom's financial records--and everything was in joint accounts--for the last five years and they went through every transaction prior to filing for Medicaid. They then represented us as the application was reviewed. If you have an attorney who specialized in elder law as well as Medicaid, that's probably the best way to go.
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I am totally depressed. I have spoken to 3 elder law lawyers here in MD. One would want $9,000 and the others each would want $12,000 to guide me thru the Medicaid maze if my spouse needs a NH for his dementia. I cannot sleep worrying about how I would manage on the small amount I would get of his SS/Pension. Our home is paid for thank God (I am 76yo). . I do not see paying those large amounts to these greedy people, can one do it themselves instead of being ripped off? Everything is so hard to deal with and now the fear of this happening is overwhelming :(
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Also, splitting the assets 50-50 and then spending down the ill spouse's half is NOT the way to go...this is a widely misunderstood myth, and it will cost you greatly if you do it...Get all countable assets into the well spouse's name except for $2000 for the sick spouse is the way to go....it is not easy. Again, not all so-called elder care attys know their way around the block on this issue, much less could fight their way out of a paper bag......find a good one, perhaps through referral from someone who has received good advice..
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The attorney above probably has it about correct. However, I would engage an elder law attorney to get the best information. After receiving it, I chose not to apply for Medicaid but spend down funds for my father's care at home.

Without elder care insurance, most people have to get Medicaid to pay the bill but it is far from ideal.

All transactions for the last 5 years will need to be examined for a Medicaid claim, it used to be 3 years but in the early 2000's the federal government changed the law to 5 years.

Good luck.
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