my mother and father have a joint savings acct.my father wants to give me money to pay off my mortgage. the problem is that my mother has alzimers and may have to go into a nursing home.they own their home and some properties. can this money be given to me now? or will they consider that ''hiding'' his assets? will they want that money after my mother passes
1 Answer from Attorneys
Medicaid's complex legal requirements concerning "gifting" can cause many problems for families involved in planning with possibly serious consequences. Each individual case is unique. Planning must be based upon a full understanding of the financial situation of the individuals involved. For that reason, it is not possible to respond to your specific situation within the limitations of this forum.
The information below is intended as a simplified overview of "gifting" and Medicaid. It may be inapplicable to your particular situation.
Medicaid is a "means tested" program - which means that a recipient can have only a certain amount of assets in order to qualify for assistance under the program. In this way it is a "welfare"-like program. Each state has its own requirements and caps. As a general statement, it can be said that assets transferred away without receiving fair market value in return prior to applying for Medicaid must be disclosed in the application and a period of ineligibility will be imposed as a result of the transfer to the amount of the transfer. Stated in generalized and simple terms:
1. The state defines the cost of a month of nursing home care.
2. For every month of nursing home care the applicant gave away, he or she will be ineligible for one month of Medicaid.
Most people are aware that there is a 36 month "lookback" rule in Medicaid law. This rule, briefly stated, says that any gifts made during the 36 month period prior to applying for Medicaid will possibly disqualify the giver under the means test described above. This does not mean that an individual may not apply for Medicaid for 36 months after any gifting, as many people mistakenly believe.
The Medicaid rules relating to married couples will not be addressed in this response except to say that the rules are also complex and specific. The impact of these rules on your financial situation must also be evaluated before any action is taken in formulating an elder care plan. Then, too, Medicaid rules are subject to change.
I urge you to receive a review of your financial situation and individualized advice on this issue before you take any action. (Please read the Note below) Call the office of an elder lawyer in your area, or if my office is convenient to you, call our office at the number below. I have offices in Hatboro and Doylestown in Pennsylvania.
I wish you the best.
Note: Medicaid is a complex area of law. Costly mistakes can be made if you do not know what you are doing. Your actions may result in tax consequences, financial consequences, and even criminal sanctions. You are strongly urged to consult with an attorney. This writing is not meant to offer legal advice but only to answer general questions. You are not to rely on this information.
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