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I have been caring for her home paying taxes, insurance, water, garbage,electric, and many upgrades, however i live in calif.mom is in fla. and I cannot afford this expense to keep continuing. I work for the airlines so i can easily get to fla. to visit, however its becoming overwhelming. The house is in a trust & I am the only trustee as well as living relative, she has advanced dementia so i must take over trustee duties. do you have any legal advice so i do not lose the entire sale proceeds to medicaid clawback.

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Trusts are their own legal entity. The house can be the trust in & of itself or can be one item within the trust. Just what this trust is (& if medicaid will be involved at closing) will be dependent on how trust was done. You need to contact the law firm who did the trust to see exactly where this all stands. Your going to need FL legal at some point in all this so if the firm that did the trust initially does not work out they will have names of other legal.

You should be keeping track of all house expenses & with receipts. The costs of regular maintenance, taxes, insurance should be deductible from the medicaid tally the state paid &/or owed to the state from the proceeds of the sale IF the house is an asset of moms for FL Medicaid rules.

If you decide to sell the house, what often is the case for elderly homeowners is that the home has been owned by them 30 - 50 years and has decades of delayed maintenance. Perhaps never renovated but just things replaced as needed. Now also during these decades property values have increased. The elderly homeowner since their taxes are frozen really doesn't care that house value is not accurate. If tax assessor value is not realistic for what the old unrenovated house could ever sell for this could be an issue for selling the house as Medicaid expects property to be sold for a value close to assessor value.

If this could be the situation for moms house, I'd suggest that you do 2 things:
- get house inspected. Inspector needs to be registered or certified by how FL does this. Fee usually based on sq footage, 2,000 sq ft maybe $ 400. The report will go in detail as to status on all the majors on the home & with photos.
- get house appraised. Again the appraiser needs to be licensed, etc for FL. They get a copy of the inspection. Appraisers use the details of inspection along with their comparables to come up with a truer figure of value. $ 300-500.

If you want to sell it quickly, it likely will need to be priced to move & way under assessor value. Having these both done gives a more accurate # to work with.
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In my opinion, you are better off selling the house sooner rather than later. Mom will not be returning there and it will be one less responsibility for you to deal with.
Alternatively, you will continue to pay taxes and upkeep.
Yes, the proceeds of the sale will go to mom's care, but that will be the case either way.
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Medicaid itself doesn't claw back money. At death there is a recovery that is usually done for the state by an outside group. Since your mother is still alive, you need to get legal advice before selling the house. It could be seen as income and need to be spent down before your mother could qualify for Medicaid again. Since it is in some type of trust now, I don't know how that would work.

I hope that you have kept receipts for all the money you have spent maintaining the property and taxes. That money can be reimbursed to you if the house is subject to Medicaid recovery.

I am not an expert on Medicaid recovery and am totally ignorant of trusts. I hope our Medicaid expert member will be along soon. She could give you much better guidance.
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Read your trust documents carefully and check Florida law to see if they are going after trusts and life estates. NY already jumped on that in 2011. If she established the trust more than 5 years ago, and it is irrevocable, OK. If not, you need an estate attorney ASAP.
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