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Conference at DeskWhen 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 areas of greatest interest to you and see what others have asked. Chances are you'll find questions or situations that closely parallel your own.

 

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Q:

What Do We Do When the Medicaid Agency Won't Respect Our Power of Attorney?

My 89-year-old mother-in-law was cut off from Medicaid because she did not fill out some forms. She has been in and out of the hospital the last few months and is now on her deathbed in the hospital. When we called the Medicaid agency and tried to straighten things out, the agency refused to talk to us, saying they have to talk to my mother-in-law directly. When we explained she can't call them, they still wouldn't talk to us. We faxed them the paperwork, signing her name because my wife has power of attorney, but it hasn't done any good. Meantime the bills are piling up. What can we do? 

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tags: Medicaid Rules
Q:

How Will a Gift to Charity Affect My Medicaid Application?

Is a charitable gift to a community foundation subject to Medicaid look-back? I would like to give some money to a local foundation so they can set up a fund to distribute grants to certain area charities. If I have to apply for Medicaid to pay for a nursing home within five years of donating the money, will the gift affect my application? 

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tags: Medicaid Rules
Q:

Will Cash Payments to a Caregiver Disqualify Mom from Receiving Medicaid?

My mother-in-law is widowed and has been bedridden for one-and-a-half years. We currently have live-in help to assist her 24/7 in her own home. We have been paying this person in cash without a detailed paper trail of expenditures. If my mother-in-law needs to be placed in a nursing facility, how will the Medicaid look-back regard the cash payments? Will we be held accountable fiscally for the one-and-a-half years of cash payments for her at-home care?

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tags: Medicaid Rules
Q:

Can a Grandchild Qualify Under the Caretaker Child Exception for Transfers?

On the advice of my mother's attorney and because of my mom's advanced dementia, we were encouraged to transfer the title of her home to my sister, my brother, and me equally. My sister's son, moved in with mom over two years ago to provide basic in-home care and security for his grandmother. Over the past several months mom's dementia progressed to the point that she could not take care of her personal hygiene or dress herself. At that point we were encouraged to find a nursing facility with an Alzheimer's wing or section. We selected a reputable place for her and have been paying over $4,400 a month out of pocket toward her $6,400 a month nursing home bill. Her income of $2,000 covers the balance. The house has been on the market for five months with no one interested in buying it. Can we transfer the house to her grandson, as he was her live-in caregiver up to that point? Would he qualify as a "child caregiver”? Are we stuck trying to sell the house with no relief until the house is sold? Can we deed the house to the state? How do we proceed? We live in Georgia. 

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tags: Medicaid Rules
Q:

Can My Mother Transfer Her Life Insurance Policy to My Disabled Sister?

My mother's life insurance policy was purchased to benefit my disabled sister, who receives Social Security disability benefits. My mother is applying for Medicaid and the policy's value is too high.  She needs to spend down the policy in order to qualify, but this will leave my sister with nothing. Is it possible to transfer the policy's cash value to my sister so that my mother can qualify for Medicaid? 

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tags: Special Needs Planning
Q:

Will the Gifts I Give My Parents Count as Income When They Apply for Medicaid?

I own the home my parents live in and I gift to them a combined $26,000 each year. These funds are used to pay their health insurance supplement, long-term care policies, and living expenses. We are looking at moving them to an apartment with services, and if needed they will eventually go into a nursing home. How will this affect their eligibility for Medicaid if and when they ever go into a nursing home? They each receive Social Security, which gives them a combined net income of $1,800 a month. They have no other pension or income and do not own any assets. Because I have been gifting them funds to help support them, will I then be obligated to pay for their nursing home care? 

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tags: Medicaid Rules
Q:

Can My Mother Gift Her House to Me to Repay a Debt Without Jeopardizing Medicaid Benefits?

My mother has had financial issues for the past nine years. Over the course of that time, I have: loaned her money (that has yet to be repaid); provided for her room and board for a period of 18 months; and paid for services, supplies, and tools during the renovation of her house. She recently sold the house and purchased a condo. The original understanding was that the condo would be deeded to me to repay me for my expenditures on her behalf. After learning more about the Medicaid look-back, we're concerned that this may jeopardize this plan, as she is starting to get to an age when she could need extended care at any time. Could this repayment bypass the look-back considering it's to satisfy a debt instead of a being a gift? 

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tags: Medicaid Rules
Q:

Will I Have to Fill Out a Gift Tax Form If I Pay My Child's Bills?

If we pay our child's bills, is that the same thing as gifting her $14,000 [the current annual gift tax exclusion]? Do we have to fill out a form 709? What if only one parent paid the bills and it's more than $14,000? Can we claim that each of us gave her the money and, therefore, be within the law if it's more than $14,000 total? 

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tags: Estate Planning

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