This lawyer irritated me... tell me if I am wrong

carrie630September 22, 2010

I set my parents up with an Elder Attorney.

I was on conference from another state, he could hear me, I could hear them, they couldn't hear me.

Mother is 82; father 89

Both are living in their home.

Their will was old and I realized that there was no medical power of attorney for each other and no alternate - Fine - that was taken care of

I also got power of attorney over their finances, since I am trustworthy and will not abuse this power. Hope I never have to use it.

Here's my question:

I started to ask him something about Medicaid, etc. and he cut me off... he said "your mother looks great (she's 82 and is at a neurologist today because her limbs are going numb and has other problems) she won't go into a home for a long, long time"

Well, I thought that was unprofessional. Not that I want my parents to start depleting assets, but I wanted them to hear from a lawyer that if they started to give us money, and five years from now, they would have to wait to apply for medicaid, etc. etc. or possibly if there was a way to put some of the money into a trust so that no one could touch it, etc. etc. He never gave me the chance. He changed the subject and said she won't need a home.

He didn't even ask about her health - he just took one look at her and said she was "sturdy"... Imagine that!

I am annoyed.

Would you be? Am I being picky? It just rubbed me the wrong way...(the good news is that at least my Mom was complimented, I guess)


I wanted to ask some questions about trusts, etc. and he cut me off.

Is it too late to put money into a trust at age 82? Thanks (asking for the rest of siblings)

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They can open a trust at any age. It will make your job as executor easier than if their assets have to go thru probate, but is only worthwhile if their assets exceed a certain amount.

But between you and me, you are a bit too concerned about spending down for a nursing home. It is not a problem right now. And there are apparently no health issues. Am I right? When/if they need a nursing home, they can use their own money for their own care, thereby effectively spending it down. If they care to make cash gifts now, fine. But please do not mix that up with the issue of Medicaid eligibility.

I suspect that the attorney thought that you wanted to give away their money now. Which sounds bad to an attorney. They are his clients, and not you.

If I were you, I'd take this as a big sign that you really should back off WRT depleting assets.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 1:27PM
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Thanks - while I appreciate your information and great advice...I actually spoke to the lawyer today and he knew that wasn't my thought at all. His remark was all in good faith - I am no longer "irritated"... thank goodness :0)

It is NOT our/my money. These questions I was asking for both of them, since I am able to articulate better what they were thinking about. They don't always understand the jargon (as I don't either, most of the time ;0/.. but I am learning - with your help and the great conversation I had with the lawyer today.

I just like to know the "rules" "facts" about all of this spend down, look back etc. ... I am learning for myself as I am getting up there too! :0)

Thanks - your response always helps me learn

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 4:41PM
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Basically, all one needs to know is that the lookback period is five years (and they're dead serious, not 4 1/2 years, not 4 years and 10 months - a full 5 years). Deplete one's assets within that time, Medicaid eligibility would not come into play until the requisite wait/lookback period has been satisfied.

My mother spent her last year in a long term care residence. She and my father both had revocable living trusts. On my father's death, his trust became a family trust for the benefit of my mother. And of course, my mother still had her own. It would have been incomprehensible for either my brother or me to attempt any spend down of either trust - assets were available for private pay for long term care. That's what assets are for - paying the freight, not insuring a legacy.

I know that wasn't your intent; but, unfortunately, it is the intent for many.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 5:24PM
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