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Should we get house out of Mom's name
Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2023 2:01 PM
Joined: 3/11/2023
Posts: 4

My mother has early dementia.  I've been told that Medicare can take her house to pay for her assisted living costs.

Should we think about getting the house out of her name?  (if she will even agree to that)

Sorry, this is all new to me and I have tons of questions.

Thanks, G

Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2023 2:57 PM
Joined: 12/3/2022
Posts: 11

This is one of those things that you probably need to get the services of a lawyer who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates. My wife was recently diagnosed with early stage AZ. The house is in her name. We have since done a major update to our wills which now includes a family revocable trust in which she and I are co-trustees. We have put the house in that trust. She has also given me an immediate general power of attorney over her affairs. The POA is effective immediately, so that we can avoid the process of having her declared incompetent before the POA becomes effective. I am not an attorney. I'm just sharing what we have done. You really do need the help of an attorney.
Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2023 3:47 PM
Joined: 6/3/2013
Posts: 1273

For starters, Gina, it is Medicaid, not Medicare, that can access an estate for services rendered. Medicaid looks back five years to determine whether large monetary gifts or asset transfers were made during the look-back period, which can disqualify an applicant. This is a major reason that your family should be meeting with an elder care attorney- find one at naela.org.
Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2023 3:52 PM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 4154


You need to discuss this with a certified elder law attorney. There is a 5 Year Look-back with Medicaid and if your do anything hinky in that period, she may be disqualified/delayed in getting services. 

If there is no community spouse, it is expected that her assets will pay for her care in a MCF (in some states) or a skilled nursing facility. There is a loophole the lawyer can explain that centers on an adult child or grandchild living in the house and providing care to keep their LO who would otherwise need a facility out of one for at least 2 years. 

Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2023 7:37 PM
Joined: 8/24/2020
Posts: 323

Definitely speak with an elder-law attorney in your mother's state before you do anything. 

As others have stated state Medicaid programs have a 5-year look-back period. If there's any transfer of your mother's assets in that time Medicaid will disqualify her for coverage. 

Also, if you title your mother's house in your name and then later sell the house to cover your mother's memory care/nursing home needs you may need to pay capital gains tax on that sale. Not a pretty tax picture. 

So do speak with an elder-law attorney before you do anything. 


Posted: Friday, March 17, 2023 7:35 AM
Joined: 3/11/2023
Posts: 4

Mom does have her house included in her Revocable Trust.  

Can they still take it?

She has also given POA to my brother.

The attorney that ammended her trust said that taking her house to pay for her care is "Not Entirely True".  What does that even mean?

I did not know about the 5 year look back from Medicaid or Medicare.  I don't even know the difference between the two insurances.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Posted: Friday, March 17, 2023 8:50 AM
Joined: 9/21/2017
Posts: 1821

Assuming that the attorney who drew up the papers is an elder law specialist and knows the ropes,  they  may not feel it  legally appropriate  to discuss options with the non POA child since your mother is his/her client and the POA is her selected representative when the POA takes/took effect.

Are you going to be doing/supervising   caregiving for the duration? Is your brother close by? Many here find it difficult to be the care giving family member and not also hold the financial power.

When people select their POA many times they just think "when I'm gone" and not which child is the best to care for me through a long illness.

Can you visit the attorney with your mother and brother and discuss the issues? If your brother is distant geographically and he's aware of the time involved maybe he can convince your mother to make a change to you if that makes sense .Or move her closer to him as the disease process can go on for years . 



mommyandme (m&m)
Posted: Friday, March 17, 2023 9:07 AM
Joined: 2/16/2020
Posts: 973

This link may or may not help, I googled it.  Another talk with a lawyer may need to happen soon if her POA is also confused.  


Posted: Friday, March 17, 2023 9:29 PM
Joined: 8/24/2020
Posts: 323


Putting a house in a trust will not prevent the state Medicaid agency from seizing it as an asset to pay for a parent's care. 

What the lawyer probably meant when she/he said that Medicaid won't necessarily seize the house is that if a family member is living in the house for two years prior to your mom needing nursing home care, and is caring for your mom, and if that family member needs to continue living in the house, Medicaid will not touch the house. That's the only exception I know of but there may be others. Every state is different. 

That's why you need to speak with an experienced eldercare attorney in your mom's state. 

Posted: Friday, March 17, 2023 10:18 PM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 7267

If she is in New York, I think the look back period is only 3 years, unless recently changed. A certified elder law attorney will be up to date on any changes of legislation, and they will know the particulars for your state, which as suggested above, could be quite different from other states.
Posted: Saturday, March 18, 2023 1:06 AM
Joined: 10/6/2017
Posts: 289

Hi Ginateresa, Just to emphasize the info in the previous posters link- Medicare covers doctors and hospitals and is not based on financial need. You could be a billionare and have Medicare so long as you are 65 or on social security disablity. Medicaid covers long term care as well as doctors and hospitals but you must be below a certain income and asset limit. Medicaid rules are different for each state. This following website gives a good overview of how Medicaid works. 

www.medicaidlongtermcare.org This page might be good to start with- www.medicaidlongtermcare.org/protection/estate-recovery-program/    Then read everything under the top heading "Medicaid Basics" and "Protecting Resources" paying special attention to the "child caregiver exemption" and the "personal care contract" sections. This is not going to cover everything and medicaid rules change quite often. Please consult a certified elder lawyer (CELA). You can find one at nelf.org. They can be pricey, but occasionally will give a free consult. If you make a list of questions using the above info you can use your time wisely.

As you can see from the website medicaid does not "seize" a home. What they do is pay for care when you can not afford that care (at a huge discount and savings to you) and then hope to be reimbursed when you pass away. They are last in line for payment behind paying off a mortgage and other debts.

You do have to look out for your interests. Even if you have a good relationship with your brother, the needs you will have being the 24/7 caregiver (if that is the role you are taking on), can be difficult for an outside person to understand. You will need respite and resources and sometimes an outside POA does not want to arrange or pay for more help, thinking you can do everything. Also, sometimes an adult child will leave a job and upend their lives to provide care, thinking that the financial loss they incurr will be made up for by an inheritance only to find that they cannot provide care till end of life, and their inheritance is eaten up by care costs. All parties involved need to know what to expect and agree beforehand on what and how much they will do and have a plan B. I hope this helps, please come back to the boards with questions or just to vent.

Posted: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 8:10 PM
Joined: 10/7/2021
Posts: 35

Like you, I knew nothing at the beginning of the process (I'm still trying to figure out some of the financial stuff). I went to an Elder Law attorney to see what documents were needed for my mother. He told me it was important to put her house and savings in an Irrevocable Trust. Her house/savings would only be untouchable (by Medicaid) if it was 5+ years before applying for Medicaid. What he failed to tell me is Medicaid does not pay for Assisted Living or Memory Care facilities (at least in Texas). I didn't discover this until I started touring facilities. My mother actually moved into an AL approximately 6 months after we set up the Trust, so she is no where near the 5 year mark. Even if she was, I would much rather spend every penny of her money and have her in a nice AL or MC than a NH. I know a NH will probably be a necessity one day, but I want to postpone it as long as possible. 

I had a CPA do her taxes and the taxes for the Trust since I wasn't sure how to handle everything. The CPA told me the interest her Trust at the bank earned is considered income for me. I'm planning to rent her house to help pay for her care, so I'm assuming that will be counted as income for me too. I honestly wish I hadn't set up the Trust now. 

Posted: Thursday, March 23, 2023 10:27 AM
Joined: 9/21/2017
Posts: 1821

LaurieRZ wrote:

I had a CPA do her taxes and the taxes for the Trust since I wasn't sure how to handle everything. The CPA told me the interest her Trust at the bank earned is considered income for me. I'm planning to rent her house to help pay for her care, so I'm assuming that will be counted as income for me too. I honestly wish I hadn't set up the Trust now. 

LaurieRZ - maybe this will explain the situation in Texas a bit.



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