Question about money....

carrie630October 24, 2010

Okay - Mom was given money from a relative - she is 83, lives on her own - no signs yet of needing a nursing home. She put my name on it jointly because while the check was given to her, it was understood that she could share it with me - and I could withdraw any amounts I wanted. I haven't done that at all...

Here's my question: (Excuse me if I've asked this before):

If my name is on the joint and I plan to take some out (with her next to me, as I feel it is mostly hers), what would Medicaid think of that five years down the road if she were to apply?

Would they consider it "hers" because her name was on the account first? This is confusing because the check was made out to her with the understanding (from the relative) that she could share it with me...

I am going to assume the worst - that they would consider that "spending down" even though the check came as a surprise at her old age.

Also, what happens if she inherits money while possibly in a nursing home? She's not in one, but it could happen. The will would read upon her death, the money would go to me... so is it protected as such?


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Please talk to an Elder Law specialist about your questions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Medicaid Lookback

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 3:57PM
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Most wills I believe state that your just debts be paid. If your Mother inherits money in a nursing home but wills it to you, it's still fair game for Medicaid. That would be considered a just debt.
I have been told that although this house is mine (was my parents, and I've lived here all my life, if anything paid out for my husband who has moderately severe Alzheimer's they would look to be paid back from sale of house after I die. How nice. And my husband didn't pay for it my parents did. There goes all my charities I was leaving money to.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 1:04AM
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Okay - now I am really confused.

Made up scenario: (totally made up) I won't even use my mother as an example since she is healthy and in no need of any assistance.

But... say she IS in a nursing home - all fair and square - had only the $2000 in assets, etc. - and all of a sudden she inherits (again, made up story) - $50,000 from a long lost relative.

Does she stay in nursing home and they take the cost of the home out every month and thereafter, or do they say "she is no longer qualified to be here" - which wouldn't make sense to me - I would think if the cost of the home was $5,000 per month - they would dip into the inheritance every month, right?

But - say she dies in the home - and her children were name as the next in line with that inheritance, can the children claim the rest or does it stay in the home?

See my question? Again, this is a made up story, but it could be possible for any of us who may have relatives with possible inheritances.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 8:50AM
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The patient could also just drop dead tomorrow and all the concerns would be for nothing.

you need to get answers from Medicaid IN YOUR STATE.

One thing that I do know is that a good nursing home cannot just toss a patient out. They will, after death, probably put a lien on the Estate to collect any balance due before it's distributed to the heirs.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 9:23AM
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Thanks, agnes - info was helpful - but calling Medicaid is almost impossible (unless to have time to sit and wait for quite a while before someone answers).. :0)


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 12:33PM
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Carrie, you've come to a general discussion board with lots of people from different parts of the country, and you are asking about a specific and hypothetical situation. Many people here have suggested that you visit with the parents' attorney in person, or call Medicare in the state in which they live, etc. But it seems to be too hard for you to do.

Here's my advice. Take the time to visit with your parents as often as possible. Now. And often. Enjoy their company while they have no major medical problems. They won't be here forever, and their company is worth more than money.

If the time comes when they do have problems, you will be more tuned into who they are and you can help them more.

Yeah, it's a pain to sit on the phone or get into a plane or take a long drive. But when your parents are gone, you won't have that "burden".

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 12:50PM
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Thanks - actually, I am really just curious about how the system works - I keep in touch daily with them, etc. etc. and make trips whenever - - I just posted (and won't for now) to ask some general questions - most scenarios made up - just for general information about how the system works.

"burden"...? It is never a burden to visit, speak or care for them... but it is hard to get good information on the phone.

I will try my best without asking too many questions here from now on - but I HAVE learned a lot - for myself and for them - in the future

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 12:59PM
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First thing to get straight is the separation of Medicare from Medicaid.

Medicare is a federally administered program of health care for those who are eligible and are aged 65 or older, or younger people with disabilities and people with End Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant).

Medicaid is healthcare for the needy; a federally and state funded program.

Banks don't look twice at joint checking accounts. It's very common with so many people looking after elderly parents, etc., who no longer feel inclined or are unable to write out, sign, and mail checks for their bills and routine household expenses. To keep a little cash on hand when credit cards and bank cards are no longer used.

What they (or someone like Medicaid within the 5 year look back inquiry period) would look at would be a cashing in of assets - stocks, bonds, Treasury notes, etc.- putting the proceeds in a joint account and systematically draining it, then applying for Medicaid benefits.

If your Mother has assets (in addition to a pension or Social Security which the nursing home will take) those should rightly be used for her upkeep for as long as they last. If there's an inheritance received while in the nursing home, the home will take that for her upkeep. Even though, in your scenario, a will is involved and you are to inherit upon her death. That would indicate the inheritance was expected to be left to be passed down again. Not too much a chance of that happening unless death occurred before the inheritance and assets were exhausted.

I realize you're information gathering for a situation that may or may not arise in the future. You do have to be aware though - and please don't take any offense as none is intended - that many of us on the forums as well as out in the world, don't look kindly on deliberate spend downs to preserve an inheritance. In other words, if you've got the means, you pay the freight. My mother did because that's what her estate was for. I expect to do the same myself.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 4:14PM
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Thanks, that was the most clear explanation of how everything works... I really appreciate the time and effort that you put in to make me understand.

I actually think I no longer need any clarifications. You really helped those of us who are completely unaware of rules and regulations, etc.

Mom did open a joint account with me, but I never take anything out of it - and will remember never to do so - "just in case"... :0)


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 6:19PM
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You might try asking this question at

I've used this site to ask questions about estates, etc in the past and received speedy, helpful responses.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 2:30PM
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