Search for Elder Law Attorneys
Questions & Answers
When it comes to getting care for the elderly or protecting their interests, many families confront similar issues. Below we have collected questions received over the years from site visitors, along with our answers. Select the subject area(s) of greatest interest to you and see what others have asked. Chances are you'll find questions or situations that closely parallel your own.
Show me questions about:
Couldn't find the answer to the question you were looking for? Click Here
Will a Spouse's Monetary Gift Jeopardize the Medicaid Eligibility of the Spouse in the Nursing Home?
If the spouse of a nursing home resident gives a monetary gift to her children/grandchildren from her own monthly income, will it jeopardize the Medicaid eligibility of the spouse in the nursing home?
My mom needs to go on Medicaid and has a substantial sum of money in her bank account. What can we legally spend this money on in order for her to still qualify for Medicaid coverage of her nursing home care?
I am 65 1/2 years old, and as a homemaker I have never been employed. Am I eligible for some Social Security benefits while my 65-year-old husband is still employed?
My husband has Alzheimer's disease. I would like to sell our home and downsize to a continuing-care condominimium residence. Can I do this without his consent?
I've been taking care of my grandma for the past two years. She pays me $200 every week. She was recently placed in a nursing home after a fall and may need to file for Medicaid. If she does, will I need to pay back the money I received?
Due to availability, I have been the person to take both parents to all of their doctor/dentist appointments over the past years. I am the eldest of five, and two of my younger siblings are currently agents under my father's power of attorney (POA). Recently, the doctors' offices and the VA have asked for the agent to be present and this is necessary to facilitate pursuing my father's pension and his VA Aid and Attendance benefits. My father wants me to be an agent under his POA, although my mother is not in favor. My father is still of sound mind; however, the siblings who are agents under the existing POA are saying otherwise. How do I resolve this? How do I ensure that the other agents are abiding by their fiduciary responsibilities?
My son has a CD with his Social Security number on it, but my name is on it as well in case something happens to him. I am 70, and if I have to go into a nursing home and apply for Medicaid, can the government take those funds for my care, or is my son safe to leave me on the account? I live in Texas.
If I give my daughter power of attorney over my finances and property, can I maintain a separate account not controlled by my agent to purchase food and clothing items for myself?
I am getting ready to apply for Medicaid for my mother for assisted living. I just read that when she passes away, Medicaid will force me to sell her home to recover their payments to her. Is that true, and if so, is there any way to protect that asset from Medicaid?
My friend has moved in with her father because he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He owns his home and she has been told it would be better for him to gift the house to her than for her to inherit it in his trust. She wonders if this is true, both for tax purposes and to protect the home from liens.
Can I borrow money from my family while receiving Medicaid assistance to pay upfront attorney fees and court fees to probate inherited property on a small estate? I would subsequently pay back the loan upon sale of the property and give the remainder to Medicaid to remain qualified for assistance.
I heard about something called a “Lady Bird deed” that could be useful if I need to apply for Medicaid. What exactly is it and why is it named that?
tags: Senior Living, Medicaid Planning
We have parents in Florida. The husband is in a nursing home and the wife is still in the house, which is paid off. Can we move them to Indiana and still have Medicaid pay for the nursing home?
My husband is in a nursing home and is on Medicaid. All his income is going to the nursing home except for a small sum to pay for his portion of health insurance and for personal needs. I have a pension and Social Security of my own and my assets are less than the $115,000 resource allowance at the time he applied for Medicaid. My question is: If I have more income and lower expenses, can I save the surplus monies in a savings account even if I eventually have more than $115,000?
Many years ago my mother borrowed money from me – a couple times. She kept notes of what she borrowed. I also helped her pay down a credit card debt. Two years ago I asked her for repayment and she wrote me a check for $2,000 to pay off this debt. Now she is applying for Medicaid. Do I need to pay back this money? We have no paperwork except for the check.
I (50 years old) own one-half of a Florida condominium with my parents, who are residents of Illinois. I live in the condo full time and, up until this year, they were living here part time. This property is not income-producing. How does Medicaid view this asset? Will my parents be able to continue to utilize their income to pay 50 percent of the expenses and will my parents be required to liquidate the asset in order for my father to receive Medicaid benefits? I currently cannot afford to buy them out, so that would mean I would lose my home.
Can you tell me what a "Medicaid-qualifying annuity" is?
If I were approved for Medicaid coverage of my nursing home care, I know they would keep my Social Security and my small pension, but what would happen to the $6,500 balance on my credit card? I have no other assets. Could the credit card company make my children pay?
tags: Senior Living, Medicaid Rules, Estate Planning
Father is in a nursing home with Medicaid paying. Mom is still at home. If my father dies and mom is still in the home, will Medicaid place a lien on the home? Should we have a new will drawn up for my mother changing the beneficiary from my father to her children? Would the house then be hers when my father passes away, since they are co-owners, or would Medicaid be able to take all of the assets if sold, or would they only be able to take his half from the estate?
My mother gave me money in 2009. Now (2013) she is in a nursing home and needs to get Mediciad. Does that money need to go back in her account because of Medicaid's five-year lookback?
I own a house with my 79-year-old mother. Both our names are on the loan that we have had for 15 years. She now is in need of a nursing home, but we still have a mortgage together and I depend on receiving payment for her half of the mortgage -- $600 each month. If she goes into a nursing home, will they leave that amount to pay for her half of the mortgage each month?
My husband and I are considering setting up a trust for our estate. However, we will probably be moving to another state for his job in the next five years. Are trusts transferable to another state or would we have to re-set up everything?
My mother went from private pay to Medicaid pay in her nursing home January 1, 2013. She now has zero money and all of her Social Security goes to the nursing home. She has a modest, unoccupied home that I maintain and for which I pay all bills. She gave me power of attorney, so legally I can sell the home. Should I sell the home and effectively turn all of the assets over for her care or wait until her death, at which point Medicaid will take the proceeds from the sale of the home anyway? Also, she is 85 and has late-stage dementia/Alzhheimer's.
I am 75 and my fiance is 82. We would like to get married, but he is afraid that if I would need to be in a nursing home down the road, he might not have enough left to cover the cost of a nursing home if he needed one as well. He is a physician and worth a little over $1 million. This potential problem is keeping us from going ahead with our wedding plans. Is there a solution for us?
My mother is the primary beneficiary of a trust left by my grandfather. She is not a trustee, and my sister and I are secondary beneficiaries. Are the assets in this trust counted as assets by Medicaid?
tags: Medicaid Rules, Estate Planning
Mom is an unsafe driver but will not give up driving. If she has an accident, can her children be sued for not stopping her from driving?
tags: Grandchildren, Estate Planning
tags: Veterans Benefits
tags: Veterans Benefits
I am in the position where I have to decide whether to put my father in a nursing home or not. I have found a facility that seems appropriate and costs $4,500 per month. My brother has said he would like to keep him out but they don't have the space. Could my father pay my brother the $4,500 per month instead of paying it to a nursing home? What are the legal/tax implications, if any? It would be great solution for all as my brother has had some financial difficulties over the last few years and it would keep my father out of the nursing home.
I recently put my daughter on my bank accounts. I did this in the event that I took ill and could not pay my bills. I felt it was the easist way for her to handle things if this event occurred, as I am living in another state. Her husband is adamant that I remove her, as he is afraid that it will affect thier credit. Also, if I should have any issues with creditors, will they come after them? Are his concerns valid? I have excellent credit, and have never bounced a check in my life.
Currently, my father is living at home and cared for by myself and my mother. But my mother is panic-stricken about the what ifs of nursing home care and the community spouse. My parents still owe $94,000 on their home. Both are retired teachers. My mother is afraid that if my father ends up in a nursing home, she won't be left with enough to keep the house and enough to live on. She also refuses to contact an elder law attorney because she's afraid it will cost too much. We live in Indiana. Oh, I am also on SSDI myself so I think there is some recourse there too, but I neither understand enough to direct her nor can I afford legal assistance.
My mother is currently on Medicaid. She has Alzheimer's Disease. We have been informed that she will be receiving a inheritance from a recently deceased family member. How does this work with Medicaid? I know that she will no longer will be eligible for Medicaid. But what happens with this money? Do they have the right to monitor her money? Tell us how this money can be used?
We added one of my children to the deed on our property via a quitclaim deed. We signed at home with no witnesses or notary. My husband died in 2006 of cancer. I want to sell the farm and move, but my daughter wants it all. Do I have any recourse to get my farm back? I will sell it to her, but she says it is already hers.
Can I Gift My Father Money to Pay His Nursing Home Bills Until the Five-Year Lookback Period Is Over?
My father gifted some rental real estate to me in the neighborhood of $350,000. I have come across the rules on the five-year lookback for Medicaid. My father has had some health problems in the past but he is doing well for now. If he should need to go into a nursing home before the five-year lookback period has ended, could I gift him the money to pay his nursing home bills until the five-year period has ended and then after the five years has ended, he could apply for Medicaid coverage?
I am hoping to buy a home and use some of the funds from the equity of my mother's home as down payment My mother would also live there and have her name on title. My question is this: Can she still receive Medicaid coverage and do the full funds of the home need to be transferred into a new primary residence for her? Also, will Medicaid try to recover the medical funds that have been used for her when her house is sold or upon her death?
My mom died in Massachusetts without a will while she was on Medicaid. My sister's name is on the deed to my mom's house, and she filed probate. Now the state wants my mother's house for reimbursement. Can they take the house if my sister's name is on the deed?
My father-in-law gifted the family home to his daughter retaining lifetime living rights. He has not lived in the house for more than five years, nor does he contribute to the upkeep or maintenance of the house or property. At the father's request, the daughter took out a mortgage on the house and gave him a little more than double the price he originally paid for the property. The father now wants the daughter to "sell" the house and is demanding $50,000. What are the daughter's rights?
tags: Senior Living, Estate Planning
We live in NJ. My dad broke his hip from a car accident, went through therapy, came home to his house, and fell down his steps and broke it again. His house had too many steps so he could no longer live there. We sold my dad's house and used the money as a downpayment on a new ranch style house for myself, my wife, and my dad. We went though an eldercare lawyer who created the deed giving my dad a life estate and my wife and myself ownership after my father's death. My name is the only name on the mortgage. My Dad lived with us for one year and four months. His dementia has really increased, and we had to put him in a nursing home. We are applying him for Medicaid. Any ideas on how Medicaid will treat the life estate?
What are my rights as a daughter to information regarding my mother's medical and financial information? Approximately two years ago, my nephew had the power of attorney changed to him without my knowledge. She was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, and I feel she did not understand what she was doing. I never received a revocation. He now refuses to give me any information regarding my mother. The locks have been changed on her home. I have had the Office on Aging check into this and since then it has become even more difficult to get information. I only want to know what the condition of my Mom is and what is best for her. Do you have any suggestions?
tags: Estate Planning, Health Care Decisions
My widowed father-in-law quickdeeded his house to my wife as co-owner in Tennessee. Is there a downside to this? I've heard it can add costs. However, the house is now worth much less than when he purchased it a few years ago.
Mom has Alzheimer's Disease, and I am on her checking account. Mom is living with family, but she will eventually go to a nursing home. I am paying her bills from her checking account. My question regarding the checking account: What does Medicaid look for? Do they check every written check for past five years? What makes them stop and question something? Is it the amount?
I am planning to use a company to help get me through the Medicaid application process for my mother. Any opinion on using an organization like that versus a lawyer? They are very reasonable -- much less than a lawyer would charge.
Although my siblings and I are not in favor, my parents have health issues that might require one or both to go into a nursing home down the road. My parents have been giving us money for birthdays and Christmas (as much as $1,000 per child) and we are concerned that if they have to go to a nursing home in less than five years from now we might have to pay back this money. Are our concerns justified?
Sister has Mom living with her, charging Mom rent, etc. Problem is she thinks she has a free for all with all of Mom's money. I take care of all the finances, taxes, billing, bank, etc. She charges Mom $600 a month plus, and wants to charge even if Mom is not staying there, because that is what any place else would do. My husband and I never charged Mom in the 17 years we helped and took care of her. During the past months, I needed a break from helping Mom to take care of my own health. Unfortunately, sister is not fair with anything concerning Mom. I want to protect Mom's money for her, especially because she is almost 90 years old and has health problems. She is not in any facility, but we (my husband and I) are thinking of an apartment with the three of us, and hiring help for her and me. I need legal answers before I confront Mom with this mess.
Mom went in nursing home three years ago and has been private pay. Her son has lived with her since 1992. She became unable to care for herself about two years before entering the nursing home, and her son cared for her in the home. The deed is currently in her name. Assuming she eventually qualifies for Medicaid, will her home be subject to recovery? Can she deed the home to her son? She has Alzheimer's Disease.
What are the acceptable ways of spending money for someone who is applying for Medicaid? Can it be on clothing, home furnishings or appliances? Can funeral arrangements be pre-paid? What other ways can be used without Medicaid seeing it as a cash value or asset that they can cash in on?
My father-in-law is in a nursing home in our small community. Of course he gets social security and a pension. He has had his former employer take out taxes (federal) since his retirement. The nursing home gets all his money (around $2,430), and Medicaid picks up the balance. Medicaid is now telling my husband, that his dad will have to not have the money taken out for taxes, because they want it. We have asked them why, and they tell us his dad doesn't have to pay taxes because he is in a nursing home. Well the federal government is telling us he does have to pay taxes. What can we do?
My wife and I are in our 60's and have had to deal with aging parents who made some poor financial decisions later in life. How can we protect our assets from being given away by us should our mental capacities diminish? If we put them all in our children's names and they are sued, would we lose our assets?
Son put $150,000 of renovations into home of his parents . Home is now valued at $875,000. A year ago, parents changed the deed to the house so it's owned by the parents and the son jointly with rights of survivorship. How would Medicaid handle this? Wouldn't it make sense to transfer outright to son now to start five-year look back?
tags: Medicaid Planning, Estate Planning
My parents are getting older and they want to make sure their home is not taken from them if they should end up in a nursing home and need Medicaid. I have heard they should put the house in a trust but I have also heard that gifting the house to their children is the way to go. Can you please clear up this question for me?
Can a family member or agent under a power of attorney prohibit the community spouse from visiting the nursing home spouse when there has been no abuse or any substantiating reason for withholding visitation?
My brother recently died in Texas and at the time of death he was on state aid and had no money. My mother who lives in Arizona has recently received a few bills. Is she obligated to pay his debts? There is no estate. What does she do with these bills?
tags: Estate Planning, Senior Living
I am getting to that age where I need to start thinking about my assets and estate planning. Just wondering what the steps are and is it really necessary to see a lawyer? Thanks for the help or suggestions!
My aunt lives with my husband and me, having moved up here to Indiana from Texas where she and my uncle had no family down there to take care of them. My uncle is in a nursing home. My question is that I came across their wills that are about four years old and I need to have them changed because their living conditions have changed and I am now the full-time caregiver, power of attorney and whatever. Do I have to take them both to a lawyer to change this or can I just take my aunt who generally signs for my uncle?
My mother is 93, healthy, takes care of herself, does her own laundry, cleans her condo, fixes her own food and does her own grocery shopping. My sister, who lives an hour away, behind her back moved all of her furniture and belongings out of her condo and over to an assisted living facility where she does not want to be. They took her cell phone so she could not call me, and are now lying to everyone about her "memory" problems. She is heartsickened and devastated by the betrayal. She feels trapped and in prison. Can I move her back home, and if necessary pay for in-home care (or someone to check on her daily)? I went to my mother's doctor appointment with her and her doctor recommended assisted living because of her age. My sister has threatened to call protective services if I move her. Can I move her back into the area that she wants to live in -- either in her own home with "home care" or an "assisted living" -- without my sister turning me in to protective services? Does my mother have any rights?
tags: Senior Living, Estate Planning, Guardianship/Conservatorship
My mother is in a non-profit nursing home and the nursing home wants my stepfather's pension of less than $100, which I use to pay my travel costs for visiting my mother. My stepfather died before my mother was admitted to the nursing home. Can I refuse to give it to them?
My father and mother executed a co-durable power of attorney naming my brother and me as joint attorneys-in-fact. My father is now deceased. My mother is owner of an investment portfolio with monthly dividends being automatically reinvested. My brother and I wish to have the dividends placed into my mother's checking account so that I may utilize the funds for monthly fees at a 'memory-care center.' A large investment firm/bank doing business in our state of Washington will not honor the 'power of attorney' because it is a 'joint' power of attorney. Apparently the bank would honor the power of attorney if the document specified that my brother or I were able to act alone. My mother can no longer sign her name in order to modify the existing power of attorney. What legal grounds does a bank have to deny us using a power of attorney?
tags: Estate Planning,
My mother's (second) husband has been back and forth between hospitals and a nursing home for the past month. All of their assets -- home and stocks/bonds/annuities -- are in his name only. We contacted a recommended elder care attorney for the Medicaid application/asset transfer and preservation. I understand it's a rather complicated and time-consuming process. Can you please give me a ballpark figure for these services on Long Island, and also how is the attorney's fee collected, i.e., total upfront, payment in thirds, one half, etc. Thank you!
Can a nursing home refuse to allow my family to transfer my father to another facility if I have power of attorney? We were told because my sister placed him there I could not have him transferred until she approved it.
tags: Estate Planning, Senior Living, Guardianship/Conservatorship
tags: Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning, Senior Living
My mother just turned 60, and in trying to be prepared for her future I discovered long-term care insurance. Can I buy this insurance for my mother since she cannot pay for it herself? Should I buy this product in the state where she is living or in my state? She has no income, no insurance, no savings and no assets. Oh yeah, and she doesn't drive and she has fibromyalgia, and she was just turned down for disability.
What Are the Medicaid Implications of Sheltering an Alzheimer's Victim's Savings in a Separate Account?
In the case of an elder diagnosed with Alzheimer's, is it acceptable to transfer their savings into a separate account with the names of their children to safeguard the funds? The concern is the possibility of the elder with Alzheimer's having access to withdraw and/or gift the funds without realizing the consequences. Can the funds be maintained in this separate account and only withdrawn and transfered to the elder's normal account for paying their bills, personal needs, care, etc.? If the time should come for nursing home care and Medicaid application, and trackable documented transactions are maintained showing the funds were used for the elder's needs, would the full original transfered amount be considered available funds when determining Medicaid eligibility, or would it be the balance remaining in the account?
I have a question regarding moving my husband's 87-yr-old grandmother to Maryland from Florida since the passing of my father-in-law. We have already purchased a 55+ community condo for her, and will be moving her up in 3 weeks. She does not own a home, and it is my understanding that she only receives a small pension and Social Security. So, thankfully, there are no assets to fight over that we know of. She has one living son in NY with whom we have no contact. Other than ensuring she has a new medical power of attorney drawn up after the move, should we be addressing anything else?
My mother gave $30,000 away in 2008. She is now in a nursing home and will apply for Medicaid in about 12 months. Can we "give back" the money? If so, how is it done so as not to appear as a gift? She does not have the funds to cover a disqualification period.
An elder law attorney told me that a $9,000 gift from my father made in 2008 would have to be paid back. His assets will run out soon and so I want to apply for Medicaid on his behalf. Would the gift of $9,000, which falls within the look-back period, disqualify him from receiving Medicaid for roughly two months?
If my daughter pays me for 1% of the value of my property and I make a deed as joint tenant with her -- me as 99% owner and her as 1% owner -- would Medicaid consider that a transfer? Would the property be protected that way?
Suppose a person has an immediate annuity with 10-year term certain. If after 5 years, the annuitant dies and has been in a nursing home covered by Medicaid, will the second beneficiary be able to receive the next 5 years of annuity payments or do they become the property of the state?
I am age 87, retired-disabled; my wife is 78 and working part-time but looks forward to retiring soon. We own a home with a substantial mortgage, have a modest IRA, and about $70,000 in savings. We are being hit by excessive, crushing health insurance costs and our resources and SS income now are not quite enough to maintain a decent living standard. Our daughter has offered to help and we have discussed lending our savings to her business long term at 10% interest, which would be taxable income to us. Daughter is also willing and able to donate some gift money to parents if needed. Any alternate ideas; can I structure a plan where there will be no tax on the interest income? Or some kind of gift arrangement that would be better?
tags: Estate Planning, Retirement Planning