Will I lose my house?

Q: We built an in-law apartment onto our home with proceeds from the sale of their home. If they need to be moved into a nursing home before five (5) years have passed, will they or us need to come up with the full amount of money generated from the sale of their house, necessitating the sale of our home to recoup the $53,000 spent on their apartment, before Medicaid will pay the rest of the expenses? Or does Medicaid accept/require the remaining monies only? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: You need to consult with an attorney who is versed in Medicaid regulations. Generally, the idea is that any transfer of wealth, without fair consideration (like gifts) within five years of the Medicaid application, can render the Medicaid applicant ineligible for Medicaid funding to the extent of the value of the transfer. It is not the nursing home that triggers the 5-year look back but the Medicaid application. If you are saying that they liquidated their home, to pay for an addition to your home so they can live in it under your care, I am not sure the entire value of the addition is a gift as they are receiving consideration in the form of housing and care. An attorney can also advise you on a caretaker contract which may help you shelter some of the in-law’s estate.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.