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RayAnswers
RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36966
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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My 87 y/o mother entered a nursing home under hospice care,

Customer Question

My 87 y/o mother entered a nursing home under hospice care, she is bed ridden and needs continued care. If she lives longer, she will need to apply for Medicaid. I have been taking care of all of her personal and financial affairs as legal guardian.
I am on my mother's bank accounts and she wants to leave me her assets as my inheritance before she needs to apply for Medicaid. I am 64 y/o and disabled receiving social security disability benefits.
How can she safely give me my inheritance without being penalized by Medicaid?
Thank you ***@******.***
Livonia, Michigan
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

Good afternoon. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.

Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

Are the monies in the bank accounts all your mother's, or is your own money commingled?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
comingled.
Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok.
Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

To the extent you can prove the commingled funds originate from you, those funds are protected. However, medicaid eligibility is determined by need and a spend down of assets is going to be required beofre your mother will be eligible. In other words, she will need to spend her own money before medicaid will contribute.

The rules are fairly strict and there is a 5 yr look-back to preclude people from protecting assets by giving them away right before they apply for medicaid.

However, there may be certain tools to utilize to maximize the available asset protections under the law. Be aware, though, that at 87 you are a bit late to the game for asset protection.

In any event, it is still worth talking to an estate planning attorney to get all your options. If you need assistance finding local counsel try Martindale Hubble (site rules prohibit us from referring specific attorneys) . Many attorneys themselves use this site to locate attorneys outside their jurisdiction or expertise:

http://www.martindale.com/Find-Lawyers-and-Law-Firms.aspx

It is a huge worldwide database searchable by location and specialty. The attorneys are all peer rated. So, they represent the top of the profession.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I already knew that information.............
Do I qualify as a disabled child? I understand that Medicaid allows a disabled child to receive bank account funds. Can you verify that for me?
Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

Yes, a disabled child of a medicaid recipient is able to retain bank accounts (with certain advance planning) for support and also the family home where they live.

As I said, though, you may want to look into meeting with an estate planning attorney to see whether you may benefit from a special needs trust established with your mother's funds.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Everything you wrote back is on the Medicaid website and I paid $50 for what I have already read.
No, I am not satisfied at all.
I thought I was getting legal advice on how to proceed.
I really feel ripped off!
Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

I believe you may benefit from a special needs trust. However, it is not something which can be set up in an internet forum and that is why I suggest you sit down with an estate planning attorney.

This is a chat format. So, a bit of back and forth is necessary to get all the information I need to help you. However, your sudden expression and ratcheting up of anger makes me think we are clearly having a communication problem. So, I will opt out so that another expert can try to assist you.

Do not respond to this message, as it will delay another expert assisting you.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No thank you on a referral.....instead I would like a refund. I am not satisfied with the response you gave.
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Ray here a new expert.may I try to help you..

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Let me know if you want me to try.Thanks again.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

I specialize in elder law issues here.I am sorry you were given incorrect information here.A Special Needs Trust will not work for this elderly a person.You have other options let me know if you want to talk about it be happy to respond.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sir I am very frustrated with receiving wrong information. Can you help me?
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Sure and I reread this question again to make sure you are under age 65.If you are you can set up a Master Pooled Trust for yourself.This is a preapproved trust, it has lower fees, no need for a lawyer, etc. and you get a sub account with them like a savings account.Once you set up the Master Pooled Trust your mother needs to have the named beneficiary to be the ***** ***** Master Pooled Trust and have the funds paid upon her death to your account.By not touching the money it will not affect you as such trusts are exempt from medicaid and SSI as a resource.

Master Trusts..

http://www.thearcofmidland.org/

http://www.thearcww.org/

http://www.comlivserv.com/index.php/en/

http://www.elderlawofmi.org/pooled-trust.html

You can freely talk to all of these folks, they want your business and will be happy to help you and answer questions and set up an account.It is just like opening a savings account.

Once you open up the account, this can be done in a day or two, get the forms from her bank to add right of survivorship and make it payable to your Master Pooled Trust Account of ***** *****(your name) and you sign it for mother if you are guardian.This allows the funds to be paid to your Trust Account directly on her death, skipping probate where Medicaid would be a creditor.

Again the idea is you set up our account funds go straight to account.You have to report the account to medicaid and SSI but again it is exempt and any inheritance is too as a resource to keep your eligibility.

Let me know if you have more follow up.Thanks for letting me help you. Medicaid can be pretty complicated sometimes.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Under this plan no will would be needed the inheritance is paid directly to your Master Pooled Account.

Master Pooled Accounts are set up so that you don't need a lawyer, you open the account, the master trust is preapproved by Medicaid , again lower fees, maximize your funds.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Another one for you just in case..

http://www.centersweb.com/special-needs-trusts/

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I will certainly follow up on this information. One other thing, I would like to buy a house now so there would be about a $6000 withdrawal from the account. Would that create any problem?
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

You would have to buy the house for fair market value here.Medicaid has strict transfer(gifting) rules so be careful.It would be possible for you to purchase it have her carry the note and will you the note.You have some potential conflicts here if you are guardian and there are any other heirs so be careful.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
as a disabled child, I am not allowed to the funds on my mother and my joint account without this trust?
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Yes because it would effect you if you are on SSI and medicaid.Any change in income--a gift here or inherited funds would disqualify you for awhile.And mother would be disqualified for awhile under Medicaid for such a gift.

Now she can deed you the house while keeping a life estate.This gives you a residual interest, it vests at death.Medicaid would not penalize her because she keeps life estate.And you avoid probate.When the house comes to you it is your homestead and hopefully will not affect eligibility.

NAELA lawyer could draw this up.Again idea is to avoid probate and medicaid as a creditor if she receives benefits here.

Thanks again.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No, I do not receive Medicaid. I receive social security disability ...I have a Medicare card. I pay monthly premiums for medical care that social security does not cover.
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Are you on SSDI here or SSI? it matters..

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

SSDI not affected by inheritance,SSI you need the trust here to avoid problems.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
SSDI.....
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Ok so you can inherit here from your mother directly.You don'[t need the mater pooled trust.You can have local NAELA lawyer do a deed where she keeps life state and you get residual when she dies.This then passes to you by deed avoiding probate.I worry alot less since you are on SSDI it is based on your work credits, not affected by these things like SSI is.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Lady bird aka enhanced life estate deed , she keeps life estate you get the house as residual beneficiary when she deceases.

http://mcavoylawfirm.com/the-michigan-lady-bird-deed-and-avoiding-probate/

Thanks for letting me clarify.Again it is so much easier for you here since you are on SSDI rather than SSI and no medicaid.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

If you have more just ask, I know I threw alot at you here.It is not a problem.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
as social security disability reciepient, I can use funds for home purchase and this will not affect my mom's Medicaid eligibility? I can just put house in my name?
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

You would not need to purchase it.She deeds it using lady bird deed here, she keeps life estate.This keeps it from affecting medicaid--if she gifts it to you she will be disqualified for medicaid.In other words medicaid says she cannot gift away assets to become eligible.

SSDI reference

http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/blog/inheritance-ssdi

The other advantage here is taxes stay low since it is in her name until she deceases and then title passes to you.The ladybird deed would be the way to go.

Also revisiting the bank accounts here since you are SSDI you do not need the Pooled Trust just get the right of survivorship papers and execute them.This make accounts pay to you directly--you want to avoid creditors here and probate by having bank accounts pass to you and house by deed not by probate.

Thanks again .

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

As you can see if the facts change here the options do too.SSDI is way better for you here.Lot less problems eligibility here.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
As it is now, I pay out of the account for all her needs, etc. She is bedridden so how can she do a purchase? She has crippling arthritis and can barely sign her name.
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

You can sign the account forms with right of survivorship if you are her legal guardian.You would want to furnish bank copy of your letters when you sign as her guardian of her estate.If you are not the legal guardian you need to have her sign the forms.I would do this tomorrow--you never know and you want to avoid probate if you can.I wouldn't wait too long to see lawyer about a deed too if she is in hospice.

I do that and by law they have to have terminal condition expected to live six months or less so I would get started here you never know.You want to avoid probate if you can and any creditors.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Thanks again for letting me help you here.It was my pleasure to do so.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Lastly, I am legal guardian and I read that Medicaid will allow child with disability to receive assets without eligibility penalty. I do appreciate your help.
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

Thats true with a hardship claim , she should be exempted from the transfer penalties, I just want you to avoid potential problems by transferring the house now and adding you as named beneficiary on bank accounts.It never hurts to plan ahead.I wish you good luck with your mother.I have been through this with my mother and it can be draining in so many ways.Thanks again.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No, no, no...I am not talking about my mom's house. I am referring only to cash in bank accounts. I would like to take out some cash to buy a house now for myself. If my mom is still living and has to ask for Medicaid , I would like to know if this would affect her eligibility. That is all I need to know -----
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

It would affect her eligibility if she gifts you cash.They would review it to see if you are disabled and they might approve her anyway.

Transfer rules.

http://www.brmmlaw.com/a-summary-of-new-medicaid-laws-and-michigans-new-estate-recovery-laws/

All I can tell you is that it will be reviewed here, you will have to produce her bank statements and explain any large transfers of funds.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your time. Goodbye.
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 8 months ago.

You too , if you can positive rate it is always much appreciated.

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