Legal Question in Elder Law in Colorado

Medicaid and joint tenancy: My mom has Alzeihmer's. Before she was diagnosed, we decided to build a house together on land I owned. She provided 70K to help build the house. We finished building the house in Dec 2009 and moved in it. We are joint owners and there is a right of survivorship clause that will pass her share to me when she dies. In a couple of months she will liekly have to go on Medicaid and enter a nursing home. I am very concerned about the possibility of losing our house to Medicaid. The house is my principal residence and it is also my mom's. She does not have any other assets. She has lived there and has signed a letter of intent to return home. The house is completely paid for.

My questions are: will the house be considered exempt when my mom enters the nursing home? Selling the house would put me and my kids on the street. I am in the construction business and currently without a meaningful income. If Medicaid places a lien on the house, can they force the sale of the house? If they don't place a lien on the house when she enters the nursing home, but try to recover Medicaid expenses after she dies, will the right of survivorship protect the house from the recovery process? Can they place a lien on the house for more than the amount of her share in the house?

Asked on 2/24/10, 8:23 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Campbell Law Offices of John J. Campbell, P.C.

The house will be exempt in determining your mother's eligibility for Medicaid. Further, Medicaid may not place a lien on the home while you own an interest in joint tenancy and you live there. Finally, since Medicaid in Colorado can only recover from a beneficiary's probate estate, they will not be able to collect any estate recovery claim against the house. (Joint tenancy will prevent the house from being considered part of your mother's probate estate when she dies.)

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Answered on 3/02/10, 9:07 am

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