Q: I’m 53 years-old and live in Pittsburgh PA and have recently had my 87-year-old father listed as POA on both of my investment accts (Roth IRA and TOD) at NY Life Securities so he can buy and sell funds on my behalf without me being directly involved. I’m now wondering if that was the wrong thing to do in regards to the possibility of a nursing home considering my investment accts, in part or whole, as part of my father’s assets if he were to ever end up in a home. I’m sure I also have him listed as POA on my bank accts too. Is this OK or could this potentially cause me a problem and I should remove him as POA on all my accts? If I should remove his POA from all my accts, will these accts now be subjected to Medicaid’s 5 year look back period? Thank you in advance. (Jefferson Hills, PA).
A: There is a difference in having another person on your accounts as POA as opposed to joint owner. POA status allows them to access the account in your place, such as writing or depositing checks. Being on the account, as joint owner, means that the person has equal ownership rights with you. If your father is a joint owner, yes, this could present problems if he ever needs to apply for Medicaid. These accounts could be considered a countable asset for Medicaid. If he is a joint owner, I would transfer the account into your name and keep a record of everything you do. If the issue ever arises with Medicaid, you can successfully defend any claim if you can show that the money used to establish and maintain these accounts was yours and your father was only put on the accounts for estate planning purposes. If is status is just as POA, I do not believe you have any worries regarding Medicaid.