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Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens (March 2010) | Okura & Associates - Hawaii Estate Planning Attorneys

Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens (March 2010)

PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM MEDICAID LIENS

More and more senior citizens are becoming concerned about nursing home costs.  No one really wants to go to a nursing home.  Nearly every elderly person would prefer to stay at home.  However, no matter how much children love their parents, caring for an elderly parent at home can be so stressful that a stay in a nursing home often becomes necessary.  A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey in 2003 found that if you are 65 years of age or older, there is a 45% chance that you will spend some time in a nursing home.  The average nursing home stay is 2.4 years.

Medicaid is the most common way of paying for nursing home costs.  When you apply for Medicaid for nursing home costs, they will count your assets to see if you qualify.  They do not count the value of your home.  However, there is a trap here.  Even though the Medicaid rules say that your home is an “exempt” asset which is not counted when you apply for Medicaid, once you are on Medicaid, they may be able to put a lien on your home.  A lien is like a mortgage.  It will guarantee that the government will be paid back money that they pay for your nursing home costs.

For example, suppose you have to spend the last 3 years of your life in a nursing home.  Suppose you have very little in assets besides your home.  Medicaid pays your nursing home bills, but puts a Medicaid lien on your home.  At a cost of $9,000 per month, your nursing home stay could cost $324,000!  After you pass away, you owe to the government the entire amount they paid for you.  The government will approach your children who are hoping to inherit the home.  They will give your children a chance to go to a bank to borrow the money to pay off the amounts Medicaid paid for your nursing home costs.  If your children want to keep the home, they are forced to buy it.  If they cannot afford to do that, the government could sell the home, and keep the proceeds from the sale, up to the amount that is owed to them.  If there is any money left over after all expenses, your children get to keep the extra.

Because of the great danger of losing the home to nursing home costs, it becomes important to understand how you can protect your home from Medicaid liens.  The first thing to remember is that a Revocable Living Trust will not protect your home from nursing home costs!  This is one of the most common misunderstandings.  Many people have a “living trust” and think they are safe.  A living trust (also called Revocable Living Trust) will protect your assets from probate, but it will not protect from nursing home costs.

The government will not place a lien on your home as long as your spouse is living in the home.  The danger is that the spouse who is living in the home could die first, or also end up in a nursing home.  Then the home is no longer protected from Medicaid liens.  This kind of problem can be prevented by advance planning.  In my opinion, the best method for protecting the home from nursing home costs is for the parents to give the home to the children, but to keep a “life estate.”  A “life estate” means that the parents can live in the home for the rest of their lives.  Yet, they have given the home to the children.  (For those of you who do not have children, I apologize for always talking about children.  This technique will work just as well with a niece or nephew or anyone else you choose to inherit your home.)  In next month’s column, I will explain in more detail how this life estate method works.

OKURA & ASSOCIATES, 2010




104 Responses to “Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens (March 2010)”


  1. 1 miriam egan

    can the “surviving spoiuse give the house to the children and stay in the house untill she dies”
    will avoid mmedicaid l iens,

    Can the transfer be done even if the house has a mortgagge of 80,000.00

    cordially miriam egan

  2. 2 judy

    I have just learned that a catastophic illness trust can protect your home and assets and qualify for medicaid to provide for long term care. What are your thoughts on this?

  3. 3 Sanford K. Okura

    @Judy – Good question. It depends on the terms of the “Catastrophic Illness Trust.” Regardless of what a trust is named, whether or not the trust will protect assets from nursing home costs depends on the structure and terms of the trust. If it is an irrevocable trust in which the settlor is not a beneficiary, and if it meets with the other Hawaii requirements to be deemed an irrevocable trust for Medicaid purposes, then yes, it can protect assets from nursing home costs. In fact we often use such an irrevocable trust as the grantee that receives title to the remainder interest while the settler retains the life estate. Assets that go into such a trust are no longer accessible to the settlor. That is why we would still want to have the settlor retain a life estate in the residence. Also, remember that if the settlor applies for Medicaid for nursing home costs within 5 years after transferring any asset to such a trust, there will be a penalty period during which Medicaid will not help, even if the person’s assets are below the maximum allowed.

  4. 4 sanford

    @miriam – Yes, the surviving spouse can give the house to the children and stay in the house until she dies. The safest way to do this is for the surviving spouse to give the home to the children, or to an irrevocable trust for the benefit of the children, but to retain a life estate. If she applies for Medicaid for nursing home costs within 5 years, there will be a Medicaid penalty (a number of months during which Medicaid will not pay for her care). However, if she doesn’t apply for Medicaid for nursing home costs until 5 yerars go by, then the home is safe. The government will place a Medicaid lien on the life estate, but as long as the property is not sold while the lien is on it, after the surviving spouse passes away, we can get the government to release the lien, and the children will own the property free of the lien. If the house has a mortgage on it, it depends on the bank or credit union as to whether they will allow the transfer. Some banks will allow it; some will not. Check with your particular bank. If you discover that your bank will not allow it, check with me. I have made arrangements with a local bank which will refinance your loan allowing the transfer, but for a higher interest rate than the current normal rate. Tomorrow (April 16, 2010) I will be posting a blog that goes into much more depth on life estates in an article that will be entitled Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens (Part 2).

  5. 5 monast

    My husband is not well and we own our home free and clear we are looking for the best way to protect our home and any monies we would get when we sell from any nursing home liens in the furture. Also how many years ahead of either one of us entering a nursing home do we have to take care of this? We would like to either give or sell our house to our 2 children for a $1.00 draw up legal paperwork, but if neither of us go into a nursing home before we want to sell and move into housing for the elderly. Can this be done.

  6. 6 chris

    If a medicaid recipient has a life interest (“life estate”) in the home and title is held by the adult child who was the caregiver prior to being placed in a nursing facility, can the adult child have her child and grandchild move into the subject home while the medicaid recipient is in the nursing home without jeopardizing future medicaid subsidies? If this is allowed without jeopardizing future ability to get medicaid for further care in the nursing facility, will there be financial penalties enforced on the medicaid receipient and/or the adult child for allowing family to live in the subject property while the medicaid recipient is in the nursing facility? Thank you.

  7. 7 Aleeya

    I just found out that my unmarried, childless uncle took, what we think is a Medicaid lien to cover his medical expenses. He cannot find the paperwork and doesn’t remember who he talked to to get this “benefit” and now I am working to try to find out how much I might have to pay to keep the property in the family if he dies. Is there any way to do find out more information on what type of lien or if it even was a Medicaid related issue?

    Thank you

  8. 8 sanford

    @monast – The federal law on Medicaid for nursing home costs call for a 5 year “look-back” period, which most states follow. The look back period means that when a person applies for Medicaid to pay for nursing home costs, the government will look backwards 5 years from the month of application to see whether any assets were transferred either by the applicant or by the applicant’s spouse without receiving full fair market value for the transfer. If there was any such transfer, the government will impose a penalty, which is a period of months during which Medicaid benefits will not be given. The reasoning of the government is that you could have used the assets to pay for your husband’s nursing home costs, instead of giving them away. Therefore, Medicaid will not help you for the period of time during which you could have used those assets to pay for your husband’s care, had you not given those assets away. In Hawaii, the rule is that for every $8,850 of assets transferred within the last 5 years, there will be a one month penalty (waiting) period. Each state has its own figure for the calculation. Also, it is possible that some states may use a look-back period of more than 5 years, so it is important to check the rules in your particular state. If the look-back period is 5 years in your state, then you should do your planning more than 5 years before you or your husband will need nursing home help. Selling your home to your children for $1 does not help, because you will have been deemed to have given the full fair market value of the home to your children, and there will be a lengthy penalty period. A better technique is to transfer your home to an irrevocable trust for the benefit of the children, while retaining a life estate to you and your husband. The life estate is ownership of the home for the rest of your lives. However, if after transferring the home and retaining a life estate you ever sell the home while one of you is living, 1) you will need the cooperation of the trustee of the irrevocable trust (who can be one of your children) to sell the home; and 2) the money from the sale of the home will be split between you and the trust for the children. I strongly recommend that you consult with a reputable and experienced Elder Law Attorney in your state who has personal experience with the life estate technique.

  9. 9 sanford

    @Chris – In the State of Hawaii, my experience has been that family members such as a child and grandchild can move into the home while the Medicaid recipient is in the nursing home, without jeopardizing the Medicaid benefits. Having a family member living in the home is probably the best idea, because to leave the home vacant could subject it to vandalism and deterioration, and renting out the home causes problems. I have never heard of the State imposing financial penalties on the Medicaid recipient or on the family members for allowing the family members to live there.

  10. 10 sanford

    @Aleeya – Yes, it is possible to find out what type of lien was placed on the property. Liens are recorded in the Bureau of Conveyances in the State of Hawaii. In states in the mainland, they are recorded in the county recorder’s office. A sure way to find out if there is a lien on a property is to obtain a title report from a title company. However, this can be expensive. In Hawaii, a title search usually costs about $300. A less expensive way, if the property is in Hawaii, is to hire a company called Docutrieve, located in Honolulu, to find a copy of the lien document for you. They can usually give you a cost estimate first, and usually, they only charge a few dollars. If the property is in a mainland state, I would ask an experienced realtor or escrow officer for the best, least expensive way to get a copy of a lien on a parcel of property. You will need to provide the tax map key (TMK) number of the property (in Hawaii) or the assessor parcel number (APN) in other states. Your uncle should probably make an appointment with for an estate planning consultation.

  11. 11 Beryl

    My mother in law moved in with us last year September, due to dementia. We have been caring for her since then. My husband financially helped his parents purchase her home, thus his name is listed as one of the 3 people on the mortgage (his father is deceased but his name was never removed). My husband lived in that home & helped to pay for the mortgage for about 4-5 years, until we got married. If my mother in law needs to go into a nursing home, will Medicare put a lien on a percentage of this home, or all of it? Prior to her moving in with us, she was paying for the mortgage. Currently, there is still a balance of $40K+ left on the mortgage. If my husband paid off that balance, would that change the percentage of lien (if they did do a percentage) that Medicare would put on that home?

  12. 12 Sanford Okura

    @Beryl – If your mother is no longer living in the home in which she has some ownership, there is some risk that it would be considered a countable asset and not be an exempt asset. In that case, since it is worth more than $2,000, it would disqualify her from Medicaid. If it is considered her home property, and she qualifies for Medicaid, then a lien would be placed on whatever percentage she owns. Your husband’s paying down the mortgage would not change the percentage of ownership. In fact, it could increase the amount of loss, if the Medicaid lien were to equal or exceed the value of the home. You may want to consider having a consultation with one of our Medicaid Planning attorneys, to see if there is anything that can be done save more of the equity in the home.

  13. 13 Frances Rieha

    My mother recently had to go to a nursing home. We had built her an ohana near us, with the understanding that, when her house in Washington State sold, we would be reimbursed for the materials. She lived in the ohana for 8 months before a fall sent her to a rehab facility. I’m hoping to bring her back home in a couple of months. In the meantime her Washington house is still on the market. If it sells soon, and I bring her back to her ohana, then use the house proceeds to reimburse us and to hire help with her care, would Medicaid deny her future coverage? I anticipate that when the funds run out, I wouldn’t be able to afford in-house assistance and would have to place her in a care home again.

  14. 14 Gloria U.

    Does my mother, who is 98 years old, and living alone in good health in her own home (which is paid for) have the right to sell her home to her daughter, me, for $1.00? Is it possible to save this house somehow for her 3 children if she has to go into a nursing home? Or is it too late due to the 5 year law? Is there any way to save any of her assets? TKS.

  15. 15 tim

    Wife’s mother has been living in a Medicaid retirement home and her home is now empty. The home is worth very little (maybe $50k).

    Can my wife just sell the home and then put the proceeds into some type of account and wait for the govt. to come after the money?

    If she does not sell the house it will fall into disrepair.

    If she doe not sell it, whom is responsible for the taxes? Can the home go to sheriff’s sale? There is no mortgage.

    The home is located in Pennsylvania

  16. 16 bev

    My Daughter who is 55 years old has been in anursing home for rehab off and on for 3 years. She was let fall during rehab and broke both legs. Otherwise she would have been home, She is now on dialysis and wants to try to come home. She has a trialor that she bought 4 years ago but hasn,t lived in for almost 3 years. Her daughter has been living with me. She is 17 years old. Beyween me and me and my grandaughter we have been paing the utilities and property taxes. Jody was wanting to go back home, but thought she would sell her home and use the money to buy her daughter a car and furnature when she does get an apartment, My Question can she do this and wait the few months she has to wait to walk again and keep the money, Or at least buy a car so her daughtwe can use it to go to work or schoolz/

  17. 17 bev

    how can my 55 year old daughter who is in a nursing home and plans on getting out by next june sell her trailer and be able to keep the money ubtil she gets her an apartment. She is on dialalysis and will be in a wheelchair most of the time. All of her money goes to the nursing home. Ky Grandauther who is seventeen get SS right now .but that will stop in April. She was wanting to live there , but she has no way to pay the Utilities I have been doing yhay. I am 75 years old and can’t afford to keep doing this. We have someone that wants to buy it but we would like to use the money to either buy a car so we can take my daughter yo her Doctors appointments. We have a buyer but Jody won’t be getting out until this summer

  18. 18 meri

    My mother was declared “incapacitated” and is now in a nursing home. They’re about to put her on Medicaid. My mother indicated in her will she wanted the house to go to me and my sister. My sister had been living in the house with my mom before she went into the nursing home. Is there any way I can prevent the government from taking the house? Is there anyway to overturn this unjust law? I wonder why more Americans aren’t protesting it.

  19. 19 Jim

    I bought the house from my dad in 2002, it was then that he put a life estate on the house, I refinanced in 2005 and again a life estate was attached.my dad went into a nusing home in Jan of 2010 medicaid picked up the tab in march of same year.He past in november of 2010, but in september of 2010 medicaid put a lien on the house. How do I get this lien off.

  20. 20 cathy

    what happens if i live on the land in a mobile home and have a year prior to death. Well i have to move my home in the case where we dont have the money to buy there home. And im on unemployment do they consider that income.
    thanks

  21. 21 Sanford Okura

    @Frances – Since your home property is owned by you and your husband, when your mother reimburses you for the materials you bought to build the ohana home, there is a risk that the MedQuest office will take the postion that your mother has made a gift to you, resulting in a penalty for Medicaid purposes. You could avoid the argument that she made a gift to you by transferring to her a percentage in your home equal in value to the amount of money she is transferring to you, but then the government could put a lien on her share of your property after she is approved for Medicaid. You could transfer to her only a life estate in a percentage of your home property equal in value to the amount of money she is transferring to you, and the government could still put a Medicaid lien on her life estate, but we should be able to get the Medicaid lien removed after the death of the life estate holder. However, there is a rule, as a result of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, that when a person purchases a life estate, there will be a one year period during which that purchase will create problems for Medicaid qualification purposes. Then, you have the problem that since she is not living in the Washington home and is selling it, that asset is no longer an exempt asset, and because it is worth more than $2,000, it will disqualify her from Medicaid. As you can see, your mother’s situation is a complicated problem which requires further discussion and planning. We are able to do a thorough analysis on situations like this and come up with a Medicaid Eligibility Plan.

  22. 22 Sanford Okura

    @Gloria – When property is sold for less than fair market value, the difference between the fair market value and the sale price is considered a gift which will create a Medicaid penalty period. If mother applies for Medicaid within 5 years after making that gift, Medicaid will not help her for the period of time that she could have used the asset to pay for her own care. The formula used in Hawaii is that for every $8,850 of value that was given away, there will be a one month waiting period before Medicaid will pay for your mother’s care in a nursing home. The Medquest office, which administers the Medicaid program in Hawaii, generally does permit us to us the tax assessment value of the property, without requiring an appraisal to determine the value. If you think that there is a chance that mother may not need nursing help for more than 5 years, then it may make sense to have her transfer the property, but I would not recommend an ordinary transfer. There are other ways to transfer the property so that the children can save large amounts in taxes (tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars) when they sell the property. If a family comes to us and says that mother is heading for a nursing home, we can often, even at that late date, come up with a plan to save a good part of the assets, perhaps as much as one-half or so. Such a plan requires a careful analysis of every asset owned by the elderly person. Also, it is very important that mother have in place while she is healthy a power of attorney document that allows gifting of her assets. Many powers of attorneys prepared by attorneys do not contain the proper wording which allows the saving of assets when the elderly person is incapacitated. It would be a good idea to at least have your mother’s legal documents reviewed by a Medicaid Planning expert (not just an Estate Planning expert) to see if any upgrading of documents is necessary.

  23. 23 Sanford Okura

    @tim – I am sure of what the answer is in Hawaii; my guess is that the answer would be the same in Pennsylvania. If your wife’s mother qualifies for Medicaid, it is probably because she has less than $2,000 in assets and the home is not counted as an asset because it is an exempt asset. If the home is sold, then the exempt asset is gone, and in its place is $50,000 in cash, which is not exempt. She would then have more than $2,000 in countable assets, and would lose her Medicaid benefits. An important question is whether a Medicaid lien has been place on the home property. If so, then when the home is sold, the government would collect cash proceeds of the sale up to the amount of the lien. Your mother in law, as owner of the home, is responsible for paying the property taxes. Most counties have a procedure whereby if taxes are not paid for a certain period of time, the property is sold at an auction sale. The proceeds from the auctions sale are applied to pay the taxes, then the balance of the proceeds is given to the owner. If the property is ever sold at an auction sale, the excess proceeds going to your mother in law would probably cause her to have more than $2,000 and lose her Medicaid benefits. I suggest you find an experienced elder law attorney in Pennsylvania who has experience in Medicaid planning. It may be possible to do a combination of selling the home, gifting of money from mother to your wife, and ending up with your mother losing Medicaid for a while, then getting back on Medicaid, with your wife getting to keep some of the money. I encourage you to explore the possibilities with an expert in Pennsylvania. Don’t try to do it yourself – it is too complicated.

  24. 24 Sanford Okura

    @bev – I can tell you what my answer would be if your daughter is in Hawaii. The answer would probably be similar in many other states, but each state does have its own special rules. If your daughter is receiving Medicaid or SSI benefits, or may need to apply for Medicaid for nursing home within the next 5 years, then she has to be careful about selling her home. The home is an exempt asset and is not counted to see if she qualifies for Medicaid (or SSI). When the home is sold, it becomes a countable asset and would put her over $2,000, disqualifying her from Medicaid and SSI. If she sells the home and uses the money to buy a car and furniture for herself, the car and furniture would probably be exempt assets, and therefore she could still qualify for Medicaid as long as she has less than $2,000 in cash. (Although, if she is unable to use the car herself, some Medicaid workers may question why the car was necessary.) However, if she buys a car and puts it in her daughter’s name, or buys furniture and gives it to her daughter, then she will have made a gift, which could cause a penalty for Medicaid purposes. If she buys a car, puts it her own name, but lets her daughter use it all the time, then it would be up to a Medicaid worker to decide whether that car is still an exempt asset or not. It is always best to seek the advice of an elder law attorney who has experience in Medicaid planning in the state in which your daughter lives.

  25. 25 Sanford Okura

    @meri – I can tell you what the law is in Hawaii. This particular rule is probably the same or similar in most states. If your sister has been living in the home with your mother for at least two years before mother entered the nursing home, providing care which allowed mother to reside at home, then your mother can transfer the home to your sister without a Medicaid penalty. The transfer has to occur before a Medicaid lien is placed on the home. In Hawaii, the attorney general’s office usually sends out a notice of their intent to place a lien 6 months after the individual starts receiving Medicaid benefits for nursing home costs. The Medicaid lien is placed 90 days later. In doing such a transfer, you should discuss with an attorney experienced in Medicaid planning the best way to accomplish the transfer with the best tax advantages for the children. If mother lives in a state other than Hawaii, you should seek the advice of a Medicaid planning expert in that state.

  26. 26 Sanford Okura

    @Jim – In Hawaii, in order to get the Medicaid lien removed, we have to prove to the Attorney General’s office that their lien had only attached to a life estate, not to the entire interest in the property, and that the life estate holder has died. Our Honolulu office informs me that whereas we used to be able to get a lien removed in a month or less, it now can take as long as 1 1/2 to 2 years. If the property is in Hawaii and you would like assistance in getting the lien removed, you could contact one of our offices (Honolulu – (808) 593-8885; Hilo – (808) 935-3344). If you live in another state, you might contact an elder law attorney who has experience with Medicaid liens, or if you think you would like to try to do it yourself, you could contact whichever government office placed the lien.

  27. 27 Sanford Okura

    @cathy – I didn’t quite understand your question. Do you own the mobile home in which you are living? Do you own the land where the mobile home is located? And please explain why you are concerned that you may have to move your home. I’ll try to respond to your question once I understand the important facts. As for unemployment income, when a person applies for Medicaid for nursing home costs, they would probably consider unemployment income as income. But it would be important to check with a Medicaid planning attorney in your own state to be sure what the rules are there.

  28. 28 Jean

    There’s much written on how to legally protect a home if one is entering a nursing home on Medicaid. But what about the person who has lost his construction job, lost his insurance as a result, could not afford private insurance and then was diagnosed with tonsil cancer — and is now, unfortunately, on Medicaid but not headed to a long-term care institution?

    Right before this 58-year-old man lost his job in this wonderful economy, his mother died and left him her home free-and-clear in return for the many years of financial and physical care he had given her, while he worked full-time.

    Now, after decades of working, having health insurance and helping others, his situation is: 1) his fiance, with whom he has an adult child, won’t marry him because she fears her income will jeopardize his Medicaid and she is a business owner so there’s no group insurance to bring him into; 2)he’s depressed that his life has come to medicaid (which he vowed he’d never take), cancer, and loss of the first beautiful home he has ever had the pleasure of owning.

    His will stipulates that his fiance will inherit the house and all else but now he believes she will be primarily handling DSHS issues if he dies. She is the executor of his will. It’s not known right now what his future is. Tests are underway and another appointment is set for this week with oncologist. He has already had surgery and radiation.

    Plesae, do you have any advice?

  29. 29 Madeline

    My mom is residing at the Life Care Center in Hilo, Hawaii and has been on Medicaid since April 1. My dad recently suffered a small heart attack and is currently in the hospital. He’s contemplating going to Life Care for physical therapy but is concerned that if he has to stay there permanently, the state will take his house and property. The house/property is in a trust but not sure what kind of trust. My question is how can my dad apply for medicaid in case he has to stay at Life Care permanently without losing the house or property?

  30. 30 Sanford Okura

    @Jean – The rules that allow the government to place a Medicaid lien on the home allow the government to recover costs incurred for long term care. The rules do not generally apply to regular (non-long term care) Medicaid expenses. You need to check with a Medicaid expert in your state, but I would think that most likely the home is safe. If this person has creditors, including unpaid medical bills, then the creditors can make a claim against the house when the will is probated. If the illness appears to be terminal, he might consider putting the house in joint names with his fiance, as joint tenants, with right of survivorship, or transfer the house to his fiance, retaining a life estate. This would avoid probate. Although it may technically be a “transfer in fraud of creditors” which would entitle the creditors to sue to try to get at the house, it would decrease the chances that creditors would try to make a claim against the property. Again, you need to check with an attorney in your state to make sure such action would not constitute a criminal violation or cause any problems for Medicaid eligibility. Be sure to consult with an experienced Elder law attorney with a good reputation. Good luck.

  31. 31 Sanford Okura

    @Madeline – I am sorry to hear about your parents’ health problems. It will be very important to carefully review the trust and see what kind of trust it is. If it is a revocable living trust, then your father will probably not be able to qualify for Medicaid for nursing home costs at all, unless he removes the house from the trust. The reason that the Medicaid office requires that the home be removed from the trust is to allow them to place a lien on the home. Once a lien goes on the home, there is a good chance it will be lost. You never want to allow a Medicaid lien to be placed on a home. If the trust is an irrevocable trust for the benefit of the children, and the home was transferred to that trust, then the home is probably safe from nursing home costs, if the property was transferred to the trust more than 5 years ago. It sounds like you need a Medicaid Eligibility Consultation, which the attorneys in our law firm conduct, to explain basic Medicaid rules, examine the legal documents, and determine whether or not anything can be done to protect the assets of the person who has to go into a nursing home. If you would be interested in such a consultation, you may contact an Okura & Associates office either in Honolulu or Hilo, whichever would be more convenient for you. A consultation would be a good idea even if your father does not have to go into a nursing home right away, because it is still necessary for him to do some long range planning to try to protect the family home.

  32. 32 Terry Tidwell

    My mom is on a ventilator at the Southtown Nursing facility in Bixby, Oklahoma. Her AT and T insurance ( United Health Care) refuses to pay for her ventilator care , or anything. Medicare has run out. I am looking at bills of $10,500 per month to keep her there. My parents, my father is dead, have saved about $100,000, and I guess that will go to the nursing home. BUT nine years ago my mom and dad placed my name on the house deed, as well as the bank account and treasury bonds they held. AND about nine years ago I put my mom’s name on my house in case I was killed. My laywers are telling me that I will lose my home to pay for my mom’s nursing bills.
    I worked hard and paid off my home. Will I lose my house? Is there anyway I can protect their savings and my mom’s house. After all my name has been on the house and bank accounts for at least nine years.
    I’ve hired estate lawyers and they tell me that I will lose my home before they touch my mom’s house.
    What can I do?

    Terry

  33. 33 Marisol Torres

    My mother is in a state now where she has good days and bad days. She has fallen 3 times and has hurt herself each time. She also has onset dementia. My point is that she is in a state where she casn no longer stay at home on her own. I strongly feel that a nursing home would be the best option for all since I work and cannot put my life on hold for her as I am married, have kids and have a heck of a mortgage.

    Now, she has a house in NY which is still under her name. Problem is that my 47 year old brother is living there. My intentions are to sell the house and use the proceeds to payoff the reverse mortgage, place my brother in an Apartment and hopefully with the rest place her in a nursing home. At the same time, we would apply and rely on Medicaid, which she does not currently have, to take care of the rest of the expenses. Is this at all possible? Please advise.

  34. 34 Sanford Okura

    @Marisol – I am sorry to hear about your mother’s situation. I realize how difficult it can be. What you suggest is a possibility. When the reverse mortgage company finds out that she is no longer living in the home, they will probably demand payment of the entire balance of the mortgage, so you should be prepared for that. If after selling the property, the mortgage is paid in full and there is money left over, that extra money will probably disqualify your mother from Medicaid as she will be able to have only $2,000 or less to qualify for Medicaid. It is possible, with help from an expert, to save some of the money without having it all lost to nursing home costs. If your brother is able to refinance the mortgage balance, it would be worth determining whether it is possible to have your mother transfer the property to him. Generally, a home can be transferred without any Medicaid penalty to a child who has been living in the home for at least 2 years providing care to parent who is applying for Medicaid. I strongly suggest that you consult with a reputable attorney in the state of New York who is experienced in qualifying applicants for Medicaid for nursing home costs. One other thing – it is very important that your mother have a good power of attorney that allows flexibility in gifting of assets. Again, an attorney experienced in Medicaid matters would know how power of attorney should drafted. Good luck to you.

  35. 35 chas

    My mom (elderly widow) is a recent stroke victim requiring 24 care and supervision. She resides in her own home. An adult child residing in the home provides the needed care. Although it may be several years down the road, mom may eventually need long term care. In planning for this, can the home be signed over to the caretaker relative before two year period of providing care has passed? Also, if the home is signed over to both the caretaker child and another child not residing in the home, can the penalty still be avoided? Thank you.

  36. 36 Sanford Okura

    @chas – No, I absolutely would not recommend signing over the home to the caretaker relative before the two year period of providing care has passed. In fact, even after the 2 year period has passed, I would be hesitant to sign over the home until your Mom actually enters a nursing home. When the home is signed over, there are different ways to do it. You may want to have a consultation at that time as to the pro’s and con’s of the different ways the home can be transferred. Signing the home over to both the caretaker child and another child not residing in the home would create a penalty for Medicaid purposes. The transfer should be only to the child who is the caretaker. However, if the caretaker child were to then turn 50% of the property to the other child, there is a potential gift tax problem. An analysis should be done to figure out the best way to minimize the possibility of gift tax, estate tax, and capital gains tax problems. Finally, as there is a concern that your Mom may not be able to sign a legal document when it is time to transfer the property, it is very important that she have a Power of Attorney document worded in the best possible way to accomplish what you want to accomplish. If your mother has signed a Power of Attorney, I recommend that you have it reviewed by someone experienced in Medicaid planning for nursing home costs Medicaid, to see if the document is worded properly. Many Powers of Attorney are not worded properly to accomplish what you would want to accomplish in this case. Good luck to you.

  37. 37 Rose

    I’ve been searching for an answer in regard to medicaid eligibility and haven’t run across this yet. My mom had paid off her home several times. In July 2007, she took out a new mortgage for 110k, paid off a $12k mortgage, and spent the rest on debts, and who knows what…the money is gone. In Nov. 2007, we did a quit claim adding me to her deed (which is subservient to the mortgage company’s lien of course). No money was exchanged, BUT at the time of the transfer to me, she had no equity–in fact her equity may have been negative. Would there still be a penalty period for this transfer? Is taking out the mortgage a transfer? (We have both been paying on this mortgage since then.) Does it matter what she did with the loan proceeds? I realize you are in HI.; we are in Michigan, but the laws are likely similar under federal statute. I will be consulting an attorney before applying for medicaid, as she is very close to needing nursing home care. I know I will need to take the entire mortgage on myself when she does enter a home. She has no assets and only her social security as income.
    Thanks in advance!

  38. 38 Mike R.

    my grandfather died in 1997 and before he died he and my grandmother signed there house over to my dad and uncle. my uncle moved in with my grandparents to help my grandfather before he died. when my grandfather died my uncle stayed in the house and took care of my grandmother. my grandmother’s alzheimers got really bad and she had to be put into a nursing home to get the right care. my father just got papers in the mail from medecaid saying they put a lein on my grandparents house for medical bills from when she was in the nursing home. is there anything that can be done to save the farm from being taken??

  39. 39 Sanford Okura

    @Rose – Transfer of a home of zero equity value should cause no penalty. It does not matter what your mother spent the money on, so long as she did not give any of it away as a gift. Taking out the mortgage does cause a penalty. The problem I see is that since your mother kept her name on title to the home, when she gets on Medicaid, the government will be able to place a lien on her half of the property. I suggest you find a competent Medicaid Planning attorney in your state and discuss this problems in additon to the issue of qualifying for Medicaid for nursing home costs. Good luck to you.

  40. 40 Sanford Okura

    @Mike – If your grandparents signed over their house to your dad and uncle, then they do not own the property, and a Medicaid lien cannot be placed on the property. They should not have gotten a notice of lien. Here are some possibilities: 1) they did not record in the county recorder’s office a deed turning the property over to your dad and uncle; 2) they gave the property to your dad and uncle but kept a life estate in the property; 3) they added your dad’s and uncle’s names as co-owners with them; 4) the Medicaid office made a mistake in sending the notice of lien.

    You must immediately find out for sure who owns the property and how. Then you will know what their rights are and what the risks are. Please understand that I am not representing you or them as your or their attorney, and you must get competent legal help in your state. You must do something before the lien is placed. Good luck to your family.

  41. 41 Paul de Silva

    Suppose A has a house with a mortgage and and some cash of an amount that would disqualify his cohabiting wife from qualifying for medicaid for long term care on the basis that the cash exceeded the allowed joint asset amount. Can paying down the mortgage with the disqualifying cash be an appropriate tactic to allow qualification?

  42. 42 Sanford Okura

    @Paul – Yes, in the situation you describe, paying down the mortgage is a simple technique that can be used to reduce assets to qualify the spouse for Medicaid for long term care.

  43. 43 Jeff P.

    In NJ, my mom is in a nursing home approved for medicaid. The house is about to be sold. Is her husband able to keep half the proceeds from the sale of the house even though he does not live there anymore? And the other half going to Medicaid?

  44. 44 Sanford Okura

    @Jeff – If your mother and her husband each own half of the house, then half of the sale proceeds will go to your mother and half will go to her husband. However, Medicaid will count the assets of both spouses to see if the combined assets are low enough to allow your mother to qualify for Medicaid for nursing home costs. In Hawaii, we have discovered some techniques which often allow us to save 100% of the couple’s assets, even though the amount of assets exceeds the maximum allowed by Medicaid (which is, for 2012, $115,640 in Hawaii). There are some legal techniques which can save either all of the couple’s assets or part of your mother’s assets, depending on whether she wants her assets to go to her husband or to the children. Generally, she doe not have to lose all of her half to nursing home costs.You need to find an attorney in your state who is an expert in Medicaid Planning to help you with this situation. You need an attorney who has lots of experience in Medicaid cases in your state. You need to find competent legal help right away. If you would like my help to find the right attorney in your state, let me know. I hope things work out for your family.

    ________________________________________________________________________

    This written advice was not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. (The foregoing legend has been affixed pursuant to U.S. Treasury Regulations governing tax practice.)

    ________________________________________________________________________

    This email is for general information only. The facts of your case may change the advice given. Do not rely on the information in this email without consulting an estate planning specialist, or a Medicaid planning specialist, if your situation involves Medicaid.

  45. 45 Oran

    IN-laws have a house in kansas, and just took out a home-equity loan with property as collateral in month 1. 85% LTV. If father-in-law goes to nursing home in month 1. If they withdraw $60,000 in 5 years, and the house is worth $85,000, On a medicaid lien, will the first HOA lienholders get paid first ($60k) and Medicaid takes the rest?

  46. 46 Sanford Okura

    @Oran – First of all, if father-in-law goes to a nursing home and qualifies for Medicaid, he must never have more than $2,000 in assets thereafter. Therefore, if they draw money from the home equity loan line of credit, and if the check is made out to both husband and wife, there will be a potential problem because father-in-law probably will then have more than $2,000. If the financal institution who approved the home equity loan would be willing to make out the check to mother’s name only, then there should not be a problem. If either or both of them draw on the line of credit before he qualifies for Medicaid, then they must be careful that their assets do not exceed the maximum amount allowed for a married couple for one of them to qualify for Medicaid. If the financial institution insists on making out the check to both names, then you must check with the policy of your state’s Medicaid office as to whether, after he is approved for Medicaid, he can safely transfer his half of the check to his wife without causing a Medicaid problem. He will be required to report to the Medicaid worker the receipt of the check immediately after receiving it, and will probably have to report giving it to his wife, if that is allowed. If that money were given to anyone other than his wife, it would definitely cause a problem. In answer to your original question, if a Medicaid lien is placed on the property, as a general rule, when the house is sold, the first lienholder (the financial institution with the mortgage) will get paid in full first; Medicaid then gets the rest of the sale proceeds up to the amount of their Medicaid lien.
    This written advice was not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. (The foregoing legend has been affixed pursuant to U.S. Treasury Regulations governing tax practice.)
    ________________________________________________________________________

    This reply is for general information only. The facts of your case may change the advice given. Do not rely on the information in this email without consulting an estate planning specialist, or a Medicaid planning specialist, if your situation involves Medicaid.

  47. 47 Gary

    My 87 year old Mother is disabled, now she recently had a minor stroke.
    After her stay in a hospital, She was placed in a nursing home.

    I have lived in her home and provided care for her for well over 7 years that kept her at home. Without my help she would of not been able to stay at home.
    I still live in her home.

    Does the state look for a specific type of care I gave?
    If so, What exact type of care does the state of Washington look for during the 2 years I took care of her.

  48. 48 CC

    My elderly father married a woman a couple of years ago. He is terminally ill, and has left everything to her. There are numerous liens on his property. Will she have to pay the liens first in order to take possession of his property? He owns the property before they were married, and we are in a community property state. Will she only have to pay the liens if she sells the property or will she have to pay the liens to take ownership of the place?

  49. 49 Linda

    Mom and her sister inherited homestead from their parents. Other siblings signed their part to these two sisters. This is Kentucky. Mom became disabled after working many years caring insurance from that employer. She qualified for Medicaid. I’ve lived with her for many years. Mom fell and was placed into nursing home for rehab. How can I find out if a lien has already been placed on her property? Her sister is now deceased. She and her sister always intended to leave my son the homestead. Papers were notarized but never recorded at the court house. He wants to put the land up for collateral but doesn’t want to do anything illegal.

  50. 50 cheryl williams

    where is your “next” column? trying to keep a nursing home from ever putting a lien on our home.

  51. 51 Sue

    We live in Florida – my Mother holds the mortgage to my home. It is suppose to pass to my son (her grandson) upon her death. She now has a need to enter assisted living with the aid of medicaid. Can a lien be put on my home to reimburse medicaid after her death? Can medicaid end up being the mortgage holder or would this still pass to my son in probate? Would it make a difference at this time if the mortgage was modified to state it was null and void upon her death? Additionally my mother currently owns her own home which she plans on selling and is being told she can keep that money (approx $50-60k) in a trust to use and that medicaid would take whatever was remaining after her death. She does not want me to end up losing my home due to this and we are trying to find the correct way to handle the situation in a short period of time.

  52. 52 britney M

    Hi, I’m in Michigan. My grandmother was staying with me and I had to place her in a nursing home because I found out she have Dementia. The nursing home has summitted a medicaid application for her. Right now she has 100 days left on her Blue care network. My grandmother recieves Social Security a total of 1100.00 dollars a month. Her income was helping me with the bills. I’m her guardian and since she is not going to have to use her social security for a few months to pay for the nursing home. If i used her money for bills, will that affect the process of her medicaid?

  53. 53 Lyn

    My grandmother is in the nursing home. I am her grandaughter and have POA over all her finances. I have been paying for the nursing home costs, medicine, etc for the last year and a half with the money my grandmother saved up. He money is just about spent out and I have applied for Medicaid for her and have been denied so far and I am working on appealing their decision. Last night my husband and I decided to go ahead and buy her house before Medicaid starts to pay her medical expenses so we can keep the house in the family. The house has been paid off. My question is, by law, can we buy the house before Medicaid starts payments even though they denied us so far and we are in the process of an appeal? The money that was used to buy the house will go directly to my grandmother which will continue to help pay for her medical expenses so Medicaid does not get involved.

  54. 54 Terri P

    In Jan of 2008 my mom deeded her property to myself and my sister for $1.00, it was divided off into 2 different parcels which my sister lives on the one deeded to her. the other one which was deeded to me.. mom lived on in a mobile home that was purchased with a 42,000.00 CD in 2010, which had our names on the CD but when mom purchased the mobile home it was put in my name, my mom fell and broke her back and now is in transitional care in a nursing home but it looks like she will not be able to come back home at all, she has dementia and is getting worse then better, she is 87 yrs old, we cannot afford to pay for her care so if we apply for medicade at this point what will happen?…I found out my sister has a taken out a $16,000.00 mortgage against her parcel of land what kind of mess are we in due to this nightmare that we are facing? I have power of attorney for mom that states real property transactions: To lease, sell, mortgage, purchase, exchange, and acquire, and to agree, bargain, and contract for the lease, sale, purchase, exchange, and acquisition of, and to accept, take, receive, and possess and interest in real property whatsoever, on such terms and conditions, and under such covenants,as my agent shall deem proper, it also states to accept receipt for, exercise, release, reject, renounce, assign, disclaim, demand, sue for, claim and recover any legacy, bequest, devise, gift or other property interest or payment due or payable to or for the principal assert any interest in and exercise any power over any trust, estate or property subject to fiduciary control and so forth. Just need to know is mom even eligible for medicade and if so what can they do after her death on the land and mobile home and what about the mortgage my sister has taken out? Really needing help lost on what can be done.

  55. 55 Terri P

    Sorry forgot to say we live in Tennessee, not sure if that makes a difference or not.

  56. 56 Sanford Okura

    Gary, the specific type of care that you must have provided to have a transfer of the property to you be an exempt transfer may vary from state to state and from Medicaid worker to Medicaid worker. However, if Mother would not have been able to stay at home without your help, that care you provided is probably sufficient. If your mother is willing to transfer the property to you, be sure that the transfer is made before a Medicaid lien is placed on the home. Consult with an attorney experienced in Medicaid eligibility and estate planning in your state as to the best way to do the transfer (straight transfer vs. transfer with reservation of life estate).
    This advice is for general information only. The facts of your case may change the advice given. Do not rely on the information in this column without consulting a competent attorney specializing in Medicaid Planning.

  57. 57 Sanford Okura

    CC, as a general rule, when a person passes away with liens on property, the person who inherits the property gets the property subject to the liens. Generally, one does not have to pay off the liens to take ownership. I practice in a separate property state, so you will have to check with an attorney in your community property state as to whether there is any difference in your state. This advice is for general information only. The facts of your case may change the advice given. Do not rely on the information in this column without consulting a competent attorney specializing in Estate Planning.

  58. 58 Sanford Okura

    Linda, if Mom is 65 or older and has Medicare, it is Medicare that pays primarily for rehabilitation from an injury, rather than Medicaid. Medicare pays 100% of skilled nursing care for 20 days, then all but $144.50 a day (in 2012) for up to another 80 days. Medicare will not put a lien on the home. If Mom’s condition is downgraded to custodial care and Medicaid starts paying for her, then unless there is a relative living in the home that qualifies for an exemption from placement of a lien, a Medicaid lien can be placed on the property. The government should send her a notice before placing a lien. If you are not sure whether a lien has been placed, the surest way is to have a title search done on the property. If you don’t want to spend the money for a title search, find out from the Medicaid office the contact information for the department that places Medicaid liens, and ask them whether a lien has been placed. In Hawaii it is the Recovery Unit of the State Attorney General’s office that places Medicaid liens on property. If Mom in the past signed a deed to transfer the property to your son but never recorded it, an important question is whether you should now record the deed. If the deed was signed more than 5 years ago and you can take the position that the transfer occurred then, you should record the deed before a lien is placed. If the deed was signed less than 5 years ago, then the transfer would create a Medicaid penalty and your mother would lose Medicaid benefits. But if the deed is not recorded, a lien could be placed on the property. It would be important to have the papers examined by a competent Medicaid attorney, and to get advice as to what you should do.

  59. 59 Melissa T

    Today we found out that our land lord passed away, she had been living in a nursing home.  About six months ago the state of Washington put a lien on the property. My question is what will happen to the property will we have to move? I know that her children don’t want the property. Please help!

  60. 60 sanfordokura

     @Melissa T Since the children don’t want the property, if the value of the house is greater than the amount of the lien, the children could sell the property, and you would have to deal with the new buyer who may either continue to rent to you or ask you to leave.  If the children do nothing, the State of Washington could sell the property, and you would then have to deal with the buyer.  Depending on how busy they are, the state employees and attorneys who deal with foreclosing on Medicaid liens could take months or even years before anything happens.  You probably are ok just staying put until you are given notice that you have to leave.  You could offer to pay rent to the estate of your deceased landlord.

  61. 61 Sanford Okura

    Terri, you need to find and hire a competent attorney in your state who has expertise in Medicaid for nursing home costs.

  62. 62 Sanford Okura

    Lyn, you can buy the house, but since your grandmother will have cash from the sale of the house, that cash will disqualify her from Medicaid benefits. You need to find and hire a competent attorney in your state with expertise in Medicaid for nursing home costs.

  63. 63 Sanford Okura

    Britney, you should use her money to pay her bills, but not yours. You need to get guidance from someone familiar with the Medicaid rules in your state.

  64. 64 Mike1947

    My mother’s house is in a life estate.  She has been in the nursing home for a little over a year now and is almost 96 years old.  The renters are leaving in July, can I sell the house in Indiana and keep the proceeds or does Medicaid get a portion?  Thanks for the quick reply.

  65. 65 Deborah

    Hi. I haven’t seen this question posted previously so I hope you can help. My mom has been in  nursing home in Memphis, Tennnesse since Dec. of last year. We realize that in selling her house the proceeds will go to Medicaid to help pay for her care. She is in an excellent facility and that seems very fair to my husband and me. However, we’re discovering that selling her home is no easy proposition. The value has dropped, although the house itself is in remarkably good condition, even though the area around it is declining. We’ve had a lot of interest in the house but few qualified buyers. We finally have got someone who is qualified for an FHA loan…but ONLY if we can pay the $4,700 closing costs, the $2,300 agent commission….and now, as a result of the inspection, there’s another $2,000 in repairs and expenses. That means it will COST us to sell a house we will never get a penny from. Will Medicaid allow us to deduct these expenses? It seems that they should, because we have gotten a lot of calls from investors who would pay us $40,000 cash for the house. It’s listed for $76,000 and recently assessed  at $85,000. If Medicaid won’t let us get reimbursed I see little reason for us to continue with this potential buyer. What do you think?  Deborah

  66. 66 Erin A

     
    There is some property that we would like to purchase. They lady is in the nursing home and is willing to sign the property over to us. But the property is in litigations with the state for the last year. How can we go about purchasing the property? It has been setting vacant for 3 years and will not really be worth much if it keeps sitting. My grandfather lives right next door this is why we want it so much. All her family lives in CA and does not have to money to purchase the property and they don’t even want the property.  Please help. This is in the state or Arkansas I don’t know if you need that information.

  67. 67 beans44

    My Mother and I owned a home with a “Joint Tenency with Right To Survivorship” Deed. Mother was on Medicaid in a rest home for 4 years until she died. The home went over to me, but  shortly after a Medicaid lien as put on her half of the home.  I now live with my soon to be wife and son in this home. Q. In the event that I passed , say tomorrow, is there anyway to protect my family from Medicaid forcing a sale of the home so they can remain in the home? 

  68. 68 kyland

    my mother never went to a nursing home although i lived with her fore four years before she died her lawyer did not do what he was supose to do and put my name on the deed after 2 years something he was supose she passed last week is there anything in i can do to kep the home

  69. 69 kyland

    i have been living and taking care of my mother for 4 years before she passed last week since i was able to take care of her without putting her in a nursing home how could they put a lein on the house my mother left to me in her will she had als which was a difficult diseae to feal with you would u would think i saved the state ome money from not putting her in a nursing home

  70. 70 kdbrechbuhl

    We are in the state of Ohio and last November my grandmother went into a nursing home. Got a call a few days ago saying we need to sell her property to pay back medicaid. Or we have to show proof by November that it is for sale. From what i have been reading does the state have to wait for her death before they require us to sell? Or can they force us to sell it now?

  71. 71 deninponca

    My Dad deeded me his house back in 2004 with a reservation with life estate. He has now entered into a nursing facitity and I am applying for Medicade. Can I sell the house before I apply for Medicade and keep the proceeds, or will the proceeds be subject to Medicade qualifications? I live in Texas.

  72. 72 MichaelLouis

    My mother gave my brother and I power of attorney over her estate last year.  Since then she has had brain surgery from a fall and is now in a nursing home with dementia symptoms.  Thinking it was the best thing to do, we transfered the deed of the her home into our names.  (The home is only valued at $35,000.)  Now we are being told by her caseworker that we should not have done that and could be penalized for it.  Should we put it back in her name or was this a legal move?

  73. 73 dsamp739

    My Father is in a nursing home and my Mom has to pay $450.00 per month. She owes on her home with out any equity in it. What happens to the home and Mortage loan if Meicade takes it?
     

  74. 74 dsamp739

    My Father is in a nursing home and my Mom has to pay $450.00 per month. She owes on her home with out any equity in it. What happens to the home and Mortage loan if Meicade takes it?

  75. 75 BonnieSue

    My dad is in a assisted living with Medicaid paying. My sister is power of attorney since he has dementia.  My sister and I are on his home under “joint tenency with right of surviorship”.  We owe 80,000 on home and it’s value is approx. 100,000. will medicaid want 1/3 of the amount left after paying off the loan, which would be from the 20,000 or less after sold?  I wasn’t sure if we needed to give them anything since we owe 80,000 on it. We wanted to buy him out if possible.

  76. 76 Kelly

    I’ve taken care of my mother for 20 years, she did not go into a nursing home.  She had no real estate or bank accounts.  Before she died she signed the title to me and I applied for the change which went through 5 days after her death.  Today I received a letter from Idaho dept of Health and Welfare providing a ‘claim’ against her estate for yearly expenses of 9000.00.   Isn’t the mobile home exempt as it’s not considered ‘real’ property?   I’m worried because on the form they list a mobile home.

  77. 77 EmptyFaces

    I have a similar dilemma. I purchased a home in 2006 with the partial funds of a previous home sale. After a tumultuous twelve year divorce my credit was in shambles, so I purchased the home under my then ill mothers most perfect credit in order to receive a decent rate of interest for the property purchase. Sin months later I transferred title to an irrevocable trust in which we were both trustees. She was placed in a nursing home facility in 2008, two years later. I am her caregiver and have kept her alive for 22 years learning and diagnosing illnesses and delegating medications. We lived together since 1990 when she had fallen ill. Medicaid had propitiously placed an open lien on my home. Prior to such lien’s assertion I had moved to transfer title from the trust to my corporation. All funds attributed were that of my own only. The need of a better interest rate was my primary objective in choosing my mother as the temporary title holder. In no way had she any viable income to sustain mortgage payments all the less a hefty down payment. What are the legalities in which I must face futuristically. I live in the home; she does not.

  78. 78 EmptyFaces

    Please respond here: lifes_child@yahoo.com

  79. 79 EmptyFaces

    I purchased a home in 2006 with the partial funds of a previous home sale. After a tumultuous twelve year divorce my credit was in shambles, so I purchased the home under my then ill mothers most perfect credit in order to receive a decent rate of interest for the property purchase. Six months later I transferred title to an irrevocable trust in which we were both trustees. She was placed in a nursing home facility in 2008, two years later. I am her caregiver and have kept her alive for 22 years learning about illnesses she has  diagnosing them and delegating medications. We lived together since 1990 when she had fallen ill. Medicaid had propitiously placed an open lien on my home. Prior to such lien’s attachment I had moved to transfer title from the trust to my corporation. All funds attributed were that of my own only. The need of a better interest rate was my primary objective in choosing my mother as the temporary title holder. In no way had she any viable income to sustain mortgage payments all the less a hefty down payment. What are the legalities in which I must face ritualistically. I live in the home; she does not.
    lifes_child@yahoo.com

  80. 80 Ooooooooo

    @Kelly, if it IS a mobile home & u really don’t want 2 lose it, if I were in ur shoes, I’d move it 2 an undisclosed place 4 its protection, never 2 b found again. I personally, would just vanish since ur mom DID give it 2 u. Most mobile homes r just that: mobile

  81. 81 Ooooooooo

    @dsamp739, is she paying a mortgage? If so, the bank really owns the home til it’s paid off

  82. 82 Ooooooooo

    @kdbrechbuhl, I wouldn’t think they could force a sale til after the owner’s death

  83. 83 Ooooooooo

    @kyland, maybe if she knew the system, she would’ve considered doing what family owned businesses do; transfer the place 2 the kids long b4 anything had a chance 2 happen 2 her. Hopefully this will shed light on future recipients who r meant 2 have a family home

  84. 84 Ooooooooo

    @kyland, I’d take all docs 2 a new atty & go from there

  85. 85 Ooooooooo

    @Melissa T, it sounds like u may have 2 move. However, as a long time tenant, my LL also passed & my rental was fortunately passed 2 his brother who soon put it up 4 sale. I knew I wouldn’t go nowhere, & sure enough, after several ppl passed thru here, a good LL who heard how good a renter I am bought my place & kept us tenants. Now I can only hope this will b ur case also. What I’d do now, is start packing what u wanna take & donate what u don’t wanna take. Just b prepared just in case,mince ur place WILL likely hit the market. Get a real estate magazine & keep an eye on the place. Don’t move til ur forced out

  86. 86 Ooooooooo

    @Sanford Okura @Melissa T sounds like u may have 2 move. However, as a long time tenant, my LL also passed & my rental was fortunately passed 2 his brother who soon put it up 4 sale. I knew I wouldn’t go nowhere, & sure enough, after several ppl passed thru here, a good LL who heard how good a renter I am bought my place & kept us tenants. Now I can only hope this will b ur case also. What I’d do now, is start packing what u wanna take & donate what u don’t wanna take. Just b prepared just in case, since ur place WILL likely hit the market. Get a real estate magazine & keep an eye on the place. Don’t move til ur forced out

  87. 87 Ooooooooo

    @Lyn, buying the home NOW sounds like a real winner. I personally would go ahead & buy it if u choose, THEN appeal medicaid’s decision AFTER the home’s rightfully urz fair & square. Meanwhile in the process, make good & SURE no loopholes will let Medicaid lien the home w/ it in ur name. Yes, in ur shoes, I’d buy it NOW b4 it’s 2 late

  88. 88 Ooooooooo

    @Lyn, buying the home NOW sounds like a real winner. I personally would go ahead & buy it if u choose, THEN, make good & SURE no loopholes will let Medicaid lien the home w/ it in ur name. Yes, in ur shoes, I’d buy it NOW b4 it’s 2 late. As 4 cash, I’d see about having some sort of system in place 2 protect it 4 her. Maybe even guardianship? Guardians I hear have the most power 2 act on a person’s behalf & make decisions legally on their behalf. Do all u can & close ALL possible loopholes u can so the system can’t take what belongs 2 ur family

  89. 89 Ooooooooo

    @Lyn, buying the home NOW sounds like a real winner. I personally would go ahead & buy it if u choose, THEN, make good & SURE no loopholes will let Medicaid lien the home w/ it in ur name. Yes, in ur shoes, I’d buy it NOW b4 it’s 2 late. As 4 cash, I’d see about having some sort of system in place 2 protect it 4 her. Maybe even guardianship? Guardians I hear have the most power 2 act on a person’s behalf & make decisions legally on their behalf. Do all u can & close ALL possible loopholes u can so the system can’t take what belongs 2 ur family. As 4 bills, yes, paying her bills off w/ the cash also sounds like a winner. I’d speak 2 ur relative about this as a potential possibility.

  90. 90 Ooooooooo

    @Linda, do u all have actual copies of the paperwork? If so, u may take them 2 the courthouse & show them 2 whoever needs 2 c them. Ask them y this was never recorded & insist on recording it right then. Do whatever steps r needed 2 record this IF u have ANY paperwork PROVING this

  91. 91 Sheryl

    My mother has about $100,000 equity in her house, if she sells it and moves into an independent/assisted living facility and then uses the equity money within 3 years on living expenses then needs to apply for Medicaid. Will Medicaid go back 5-years and make her come up with $100,000 before they will help?

  92. 92 Jesse

    Hi. I have a question pertaining to my grandmothers estate. She currently owes 20,000 in back property taxes and has been receiving medical senior citizens live at home assistance which is funded by her medicaid/medicare. Now I do not know whether to pay the taxes because her health is deteriorating rapidly and I do not know if the liens will end up taking the home regardless. Could I still transfer the title of the home to one of her grandchild’s name and protect the house from any liens?

  93. 93 rosie

    I live in pa. 10 yrs ago my grandmother put me on the deed with her I have no choice but to put her in a nursing home. I live in the house still. Can they come after it

  94. 94 ethan

    @Sheryl, the short answer is no. Any money that your mother spends on her own care/living expenses/needs will not be considered a “gift” or “transferred for less than fair market value” within the lookback period. However, just so you know, after February 8, 2006, the lookback period is now 5 years, not 3 years.

  95. 95 Ethan Okura

    @Jesse, if she’s already receiving Medicaid assistance for nursing home care and has a lien placed on the home, then it will be trickier to avoid paying back the lien amounts and protecting the value of her home. Simply transferring the title of her home to a grandchild will not protect it from any pre-existing liens, and in fact doing so will likely get her kicked off of Medicaid assistance. However, if there isn’t a lien on the property yet, or if the value of the property is high enough that even after paying off the liens there would still be value, then there is a way that we can protect at least half (and possibly up to 3/4) of the remaining equity value for her family. If you believe there is equity to save, feel free to contact our office to schedule a consultation.

  96. 96 Ethan Okura

    @Rosie, the laws vary slightly from state to state. However, the federal law which allows her to transfer her home property to a child without penalty (as I mention below) applies to all states. The answer to your question depends on a number of factors. Primarily it’s how your grandmother put you on the deed with her. If grandmother is still on the deed as joint tenants or tenants in common with you, it’s possible they could come after the property to recover their expenditures after her death. In Hawaii, as long as grandmother only owned a life estate in the property, it would be protected from recovery after her passing as long as you don’t sell the property during her lifetime. One possibility, which may sound extreme but we’ve done for our clients successfully, is the following: 1) You could have grandmother legally adopt you so that you become her daughter; 2) She can transfer ALL of the property out of her name into yours; 3) There would be no penalty for her to qualify for Medicaid assistance even though she transferred her portion of the property to you as long as you’ve lived with her for the 24 months prior to her entering the nursing home and you’ve helped to take care of her.

  97. 97 Donna

    Hello, Can anyone answer my question, I just recieved a letter from a co. my mom had shares with. I have her will, with me as a heir. We did the spend down for 6 months to get medicaid, We had to place her in a nursing home. She passed 8 years ago. So I get this letter she has 6 shares with them, worth about $1,000, what do i do with this?, do I give it to the state, or put them in my name & keep them. Thank You for any help

  98. 98 Keri

    My grandmother recently went into a nursing home. She had a older mobile home that my family moved into. She had lived with my father in law, her son, and they moved into a home a couple months before she went into the home, her name is still on the title of the mobile home as well as ours now. I was wondering how long we had to wait to be able to sell the mobile home without it causing her any complications with Medicaid. We are house hunting.

  99. 99 Cathy

    We purchased a home in NY in April. The woman that owned the home was placed in a nursing home by her son. He never told us until after the fact. An abstract for the last 25yrs had to be done before we could purchase the home and have a deed drawn up. Nothing showed against the home. The woman that owned the home signed a bill of sale that was typed up by our attorney’s office and it was all notarized. We have a deed, and abstract, a bill of sale and just received the “back owed” taxes for this property. Today we received a notice from an attorney representing the nursing home. It is stating that we, not the woman’s son, have to pay her nursing home bill. HOW?

  100. 100 gaby

    We are applying for medicaid for my mom should she need long term care. Regarding the “lien” that goes with this medicaid app, how does that work if my mom and us kids live in hawaiian homes? It’s only in her name, however i am the successor (24 yrs old oldest child) i’ve lived there for more than 2 years, my father her spouse lives there and my two other siblings that are still minors. Can they put a lien on our home?

  101. 101 Ethan Okura

    @Donna – It depends on your State’s recovery laws, as each state is different. If it was that long ago, it’s unlikely that the state will still be looking to recover anything from your mother’s estate. However, they might be entitled to do so. The safest route would be to contact the State Medicaid Recovery office and ask them.

  102. 102 Ethan Okura

    @Keri – The laws on this are State dependent, but if she owns part of the mobile home and it is sold, her share of the money will likely have to go toward repaying the State for her Medical expenses or paying for her ongoing nursing home costs. If she added your names to the title of the mobile home within 5 years prior to applying for Medicaid, that was likely a gift of part of the value of the mobile home which should have been reported on her Medicaid application. There may be an opportunity to protect the value of the mobile home if she lived with one of her children in their home for 2 years prior to entering the nursing home. It is best to see an elder law attorney specializing in Medicaid asset protection to determine if there is anything that can be done.

  103. 103 Ethan Okura

    @Cathy – That sounds like an unfortunate situation. As always, laws differ from State to State, so your circumstances may differ from my analysis here. Whenever you purchase property, you want to make sure that you have a well-drafted purchase contract detailing who pays for what and that you know what you’re getting (i.e. The price you pay reflects the fact that you’re paying for back property taxes, etc.) In addition, whenever you purchase property, you want to make sure that the deed is recorded with the appropriate governmental agency (usually the County, but sometimes the City or the State) as soon as possible. If her deed to you was never recorded, then it is possible that she used the home as collateral guaranteeing her nursing home payments. This seems unlikely to me, and if it is true, then you probably have a claim against your lawyer for malpractice and his insurance will be responsible to make you whole. In any case you are not personally responsible for paying her nursing home bill if you didn’t sign anything with the nursing home guaranteeing her payments. The worst case scenario is–as mentioned above–if you did not record the deed notifying the public that the property now belongs to you, it’s possible (though unlikely) that the nursing home recorded a lien against the property while it’s in her name. This could give them a right to foreclose on the property. Chances are, the nursing home is doing anything they can to get paid and trying to collect from anyone they think might be willing to pay. If you bought the property for fair market value, then you should be able to defend your claim to the property against the nursing home if it ever went to court.

  104. 104 Ethan Okura

    If your mother is applying for regular Medicaid and doesn’t need long term care yet, then there will be no lien on the home for now. If she ever does need long term care Medicaid, then they can’t put a lien on the property as long as she has a spouse or minor child living in the home. If your siblings grow older than age 21, and your father passes away or moves out of the house (perhaps also goes to a nursing home), then they can put a lien on the property at that time. It may be worth getting a consultation from an attorney specializing in Medicaid qualification & recovery prevention.

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