Q: My mother has Alzheimer’s and we are looking into placing her into an assisted living facility which deals with her specific needs. If me and my siblings self pay with no charge to her insurance, is the facility entitled to their savings account and or home? (Munhall, PA)
A: I believe your question is whether or not Medicaid potentially has an interest in your parent’s bank accounts or home. The assisted living facility does not care who pays the bill, as long as it is paid. If the bill cannot be paid due to the exhaustion of funds, the facility will advise the next of kin to apply for Medicaid. Once the Medicaid application begins, Medicaid will require the next of kin to report all of mother’s assets. In simple terms, since Medicaid is potentially paying for your mother’s nursing care for the remainder of her life, they expect a contribution of the value of her personal assets. Medicaid looks at all transfer of an applicant’s assets within the five years preceding the application done for less than fair compensation. This normally include gifts to family. Any asset so gifted, can penalize her from Medicaid coverage to the extent of the value of the asset transferred. Since you can afford private pay now, you have some time to prepare for the future when mother’s costs may grow significantly, and you therefore should meet with an attorney.
Q: Why is the nursing home spending my mom’s 50 a month on bras that don’t fit without consulting it with me seeing I am her POA? They buy her bras without consulting me, buy the wrong size and tell me they don’t have to ask me!
A: You need to ask the nursing home and have a conversation with them before you think of hiring lawyer to get involved. Communication should resolve this. If they cannot buy the correct bra size, tell them you will do it for them. If your mother is incompetent, you should be able to decide who purchases her bras. Ask to speak with the director, if the staff will not address your concerns.
Q: Is my mother responsible for a credit card bill when she will be put into a nursing home in a couple of days? Medicaid will be taking her small SS and retirement to pay for the home. She will have absolutely no money to pay for the credit card balance. She has absolutely no assets and the card is in her name only. Can she just inform the company and let the balance go?
A: Basically. Yes, if what you are saying is correct her money will be spent down to the level permitted in her personal care account at the nursing home, under Medicaid regulations. They can sue her but won’t collect because she is indigent and her personal care account is a protected asset. They can bring a claim against her estate when she dies but their claim would be behind, Medicaid, and others. It is likely that there will be no estate when she dies. If for some reason there is money remaining when she dies, Medicaid and other priority claims take their share, for example, for taxes, administrator fees, lawyer’s fees. I would inform the credit card company of the situation and send them any paperwork if they ask. If they keep pestering you, change your phone number. Sometimes, these big credit card companies just don’t get it and spend thousands of dollars pursuing claims against people who are penniless or who have even been dead for years.
Q: My Aunt is in a nursing home in Westmoreland County. She still owns her home in Allegheny County but will not be able to return there to live. Can we keep aside some of her money to pay for yearly taxes and homeowners insurance? If so, how many years can we keep back? (Churchill, PA)
A: If she has enough money to pay for the home and at the same time afford nursing care, she can keep the home. I think your concern is whether this home can be maintained if your aunt should run out of money to pay for nursing care and need to apply for Medicaid to continue in her nursing home setting. Generally, there are planning tactics to avoid Medicaid recovery against the home but doing this at the last moment and not years before is basically too late. If she will need to apply for Medicaid because she has insufficient funds to afford nursing care, the home will need to be sold. However, you should only do so under advice of an elder law attorney versed in Medicaid to determine how the proceeds should be spent down to save as much money as possible for your aunt. Without knowing more, I can offer this. If you want to preserve the home, and she can afford it, do so. Whatever you do, do not have her transfer it to family or friend as a gift as this will render her ineligible for Medicaid. If she must sell the home, sell if for fair market value and keep records of everything.
Q: How does my mother make arrangements to keep a nursing home from taking her property in future? She is in a nursing home at present but will be paying on her own after 1/25/14. I would like to take her home with me to see if she improves but her mental capacities are rapidly fading. (Munhall, PA)
A: You have several issues here. One is your ability to care for her at home. The other is potential funding issues if she should deplete her savings and neither she nor you can afford the level of care she needs. This is a Medicaid issue. Consult with an elder law attorney or estate attorney before you do anything. I assume you are concerned about Medicaid. There is a 5 year look back from Medicaid on all transfers without consideration. Some transfers are allowable, others are not and could result in her being ineligible for Medicaid. You do not want to start gifting property to family or changing title to property unless advised by a lawyer.
Q: Nursing home is applying for guardianship of my elderly mom. If they win will I have to move out of the house that both mom and I own as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Will they force me to move out to sell the house to pay nursing home bill?
A: You need to contact an elder law attorney asap. If you feel you can handle being Guardian, you should file through an attorney. An attorney can advise you on this and how to protect that home from a potential Medicaid claim which could arise down the road. If you have been living in the home as mom’s caretaker you may be able to keep it for yourself.
Q: My mom paid off my car and then went into the nursing home. The deal was, a few years later would I have to pay that amount to the nursing home. My mom is getting very forgetful if she gave me money to pay off some bills I have. If I have to have in home help or have her go to a nursing home. Would that penalize her, or would I have to come up with that money? I am on her checking account and I have durable power of attorney. Thank you.
A: I am a little confused and don’t have all the facts that I need. You really need to ask an elder law attorney who can look at the entire situation. Generally, transfers of a person’s money to others, without consideration (no payment in exchange) within 5 years of Medicaid eligibility, can cause that person to be ineligible for Medicaid in the amount of the transfers. It is not the nursing home that is the problem, it is if and when your mother needs to apply for Medicaid. It sounds like you and your mother could really benefit from legal advice, but the attorney has to know the entire situation.
Q: My Dad was put in a home by someone who is no relation and she signed papers so I have no rights. Can’t I just take him home with me? I am his only daughter (both at a biological & legal stand point) and he has supposedly been diagnosed with dementia. I have no criminal background, etc. There is no reason I shouldn’t be able to take my Dad home to be in my care.THE PAPERS SHE SIGNED WERE JUST FOR ADMITTING HIM UNDER THE FACULTY’S CARE. I BELIEVE. NO GUARDIANSHIP EXISTS.
A: Much more information is needed to answer this. For example, on what authority did the “someone” act upon in putting him in a “home”? Did he or she have a Power of Attorney from your dad? The only person who can sign him your dad out is your dad or the person who has legal authority over him. If suddenly taking him out of the home would be detrimental to his health, you may be opposed, unless you have the ability to continue the type of care that he needs. The facility may file for a guardianship. You would have to demonstrate that you are responsible and have an appropriate home. A home assessment would have to be done. If you walk into the nursing home demanding to leave with dad, they will likely call the Department of Aging. You may have to file for a guardianship. You should find a local elder law lawyer and have a talk.
Q: He would go home to his “wife”, but she doesn’t want him at home. It is not right. He is wealthy and is now on walker and needs assistance but wife doesn’t want to help. His mind is sharp as a tack still but when he was ill he gave wife and son power of attorney. His son has control over his money. He wants to go home and get a nurse but they won’t let him. Can he get help? They just don’t want to be bothered and have a nurse there all the time. It cost him 6,000 a month to live at this nursing place. He is not dead yet and they won’t let him live his life what he has left.
A: If he is still competent, it is up to him whether he wants to return home with a nurse. Even if the wife son are his Agents on a Power of Attorney, he still can make decisions for himself. He may also want to consider a new POA in which he appoints a new Agent. This will have the legal effect of revoking the old POA. If what you say is true and he is competent, he should consult with an attorney as to his wishes. In theory, he should be able to sign himself out of a nursing home and contract for home nursing care on his own. It sounds like there may be a family conflict, which is unfortunate. I am not sure if there is any service the Department of Aging can provide to intervene but it may be worth a call. I think it would be very beneficial and perhaps dispositive, if his doctor would approve of him returning home with nursing care.