My mother is 88 years old and still living in her own home. She wants to continue to give monetary gifts at Christmas but is worried about the "look back" law. How much can she give that is considered reasonable so children won't have to pay back if she will need to qualify for Medicaid in the next 5 years.
With elders living over 100 now a days, one never knows what will be the time line 5 years from now. So I need to be ready just in case with a lot of xerox copies of bills. For awhile I was needing to reimburse myself for caregiving bills that were pulled from my own checking account so those costs were a biggee.
But you're right; we're not the POA so, yes, also right, up to her, why talked to her; she's high up at a financial institution where she talked to their lawyer re - as I'm thinking she didn't really understand herself based on lawyer who did all that - the LE, thinking that all the children actually owned the property and could do with as will, especially since mil no longer lives there, not that was an actual stipulation, anyway, rather than it being than mil actually still owns it; she takes no responsibility, like as far as paying the taxes on it; she doesn't care since she doesn't live there and POA doesn't either, so if the children didn't go ahead and pay the taxes for their parts, everybody would just lose it all, which, again, mil probably wouldn't care and POA either, except for their part, which is a whole other issue, except that we've been given to understand - not from the POA - that all the money fil left her to take care of her is gone and if not "working" hence no MERP exemption then seems POA needs to be concerned, if no financial flexibility, unless she's planning on taking care of it herself? guess need to be finding out the rules here but nobody seems to want to, unless maybe as the ones who are having more to do with her and she with them, which doesn't seem to be us; her new hub came by our place over the weekend while she was out with them, including the poa; are finding out more as they do or are attempting to get more done; last time we talked mil didn't want to have anything to do with any of it; she didn't even want the le to be on the property; attorney just did it because had been done on the house part; said he wouldn't have any problem taking it off the rest if she'd just come in, but she doesn't want to bother with it, but maybe that's because of the money situation we didn't know about then and maybe poa knows as well
If what I'm reading on your situation is correct, your not the POA, right? Well its going to be up to the POA to deal with all for her. It sounds like quite a sticky mess and its the POA's tar baby to deal with. You & hubs can go and visit and make her day brighter but don't have to deal with the minutia of legal and paperwork that's out there.
For those on Medicaid, since an LE in theory passes outside of probate, it was viewed as a way to get around medicaid's estate recovery (MERP). Merp was envisioned as done within the probate process. But states seem to now to take a wider view on recovery of assets even those outside of probate like an LE. PamS has posted about this happening in NYS. As an aside on this, NYS for things financial & legal often sets a standard for other states....so if NYS estate recovery is disallowing LE from bring outside of merp recovery then other states will likely do so also.
For those of us who are boomers, well it's going to be interesting what middle class retirees start to do to plan for future Medicaid.....if you've dealt with your parents Medicaid, home health, AL, NH sagas, you've seem up close that easily 100k, 200k, 300k is pffft gone within a pretty short time frame.
But back to your farm ?.....working farms & ranches can be exempt from medicaid estate recovery (MERP). Just like property the elder owns that is the site of a active family business can be exempt. But it's all on family & heirs to do whatever to deal with the paperwork for the exemption.
I would check with an Elder Law Attorney to see what other way you could be "paid" that would be accepted to the 5 year Medicaid look back law.
But here's my thoughts on your situation...it sounds like the $ to be paid to you is NOT for a hard cost item paid (like you paid MILs utilities, cable, taxes) but instead for services rendered by you, is that it??
If so, IMO the $ paid by mil to you is likely to be viewed as gifting & subject to transfer penalty by Medicaid UNLESS the payment was made to you by MIL for professional services rendered to her as you /your biz would invoice to any other client OR mom & you have a memo of understanding or a promissory note done & notarized as to the "commission" and what it was paid for...eg, your an atty and review moms legal and she writes you a check for $1k which you deposit into your business account...or your an interior designer and stage the house prior to listing and mom pays you your standard rate for doing design work. And all is reported taxable income by you & your biz.
The issue with real property & Medicaid, is that the info is in the states database to the penny & date of sale. So a sale of 150k is known & mil expected to spend down 148k before medicaid eligibility. Also property must be sold at FMV which will be sticky as its gonna be tax assessor value PLUS her portion of farm income as per IRS. It's gonna be complicated & IMHO your "commission" is gonna kick up scrutiny of mils medicaid application past the local caseworker to whatever division deals with penalties & forensic reviews on applications. But whatever the case, must be FMV, so no special deal to family. If assessor value is whack, then family must get land & farm by a licensed & registered with the state appraiser to show a more accurate value.
BUT i have another thought for you.....You know working family farms & ranches have a special niche in the mice maze that is Medicaid. Most states have them as exempt assets for any estate recovery action (MERP). Even big 100+ sections type of ranches (like for TX where you need alot of acres per cattle) can be totally exempt from any eatate recovery. Mil might want to keep her portion and then your wife as her heir or as executor gets the merp exemption on it after she dies and then you all sell it and your bride gets the $ as heir. You, your wife and other family are gonna need to have a flexible wallet and be patient to do this approach but if it were me I'd look into if this coukd be feasible & get a NAELA atty to get an advance plan thought through before mil ever applies for Medicaid.
Btw Most family or in laws do stuff out of a sense familial duty & for free.
For NH Medicaid eligibility, an individual must show that:
1) are 65+ (can be younger if qualified disability),
2) medical condition requires skilled level of nursing care,
3) monthly income at or below their states max (varies, about 2K),
This is the “income test”– how much $ do you make.
4) all countable assets (or resources) are at or below 2K (higher if community spouse). This is the “asset test” – how much $ do you own.
Assets are savings, IRA, stocks, insurance, real estate, etc.
5) have not gifted away anything of value during 5yr look-back.
If you do, could be a “transfer penalty” for gifting. Transfer Penalty based on each state’s NH daily reimbursement rate. For Texas $ 142.92 (2011 rate). So a gifting or transfer of a Blue Book value car of 10K = 70 days penalty in which you have to private pay NH although they are accepted in Medicaid if in TX. The transfer penalty is sticky to deal with as it usually comes up after they are in the NH and the state in it's required due diligence finds the transfer and you and the NH get the transfer penalty letter & have to quickly figure out wtf to do and come up with the $ and the NH will be pressing you to figure out what also otherwise you could face the dreaded "30 day notice" (which really is like 90 days) but puts family in a total panic situation and awful situation for the parent as they can feel the problem. The transfer penalty has a specific equation in how it's done in each state.
Financial look-back is up to 5 yrs. Most states require 3 – 6 mo. of all financials, plus property ownership documents with the initial application. For car or home, that usually is current tax assessor’s statement. You sign off for state’s ability to access any & all records. State can require add’l documentation if something pique’s interest, like paperwork to establish if insurance is term or whole life.
My mom's Medicaid application was over 100 pages, mainly due to her very old-school life insurance as you are asked to provide every page of the policy and it was like 15 legal size pages = 30 pages. Even then there was a glitch on it as the old policies don't scream "this is a term policy" on the face page but you have to read it. So I had to get a broker who holds a TX insurance license (I don't live in TX) to do a letter stating that and faxed it over to caseworker. That problem solved
Also I had to do a letter from my mom's bank as to the disposition of all accounts for 3 years prior. She had CD's and multiple accounts and when she went into IL
I started to close them out and into a single account. Like when a CD expired, it didn't get renewed but transferred into the main account. This was in the long run a most fortunate move as having that letter on bank letterhead signed by a bank officer and notarized clearly established her path to impoverishment. My mom is mid90's and really if they live long enough, they will run out of $ and will qualify for Medicaid unless they are generationally wealthy imho.
The transfer penalty if it gets sticky will need an elder care attorney to deal with and work out for you. Tangible property like cars and houses are recorded by the state and any transfer of them will be found out eventually. Bank accounts perhaps not so but do you want to live with that possibility looming out there? With the states facing enormous shortfalls of income, pressing the transfer penalty on family is an simple way to get NH costs paid privately. The only items I've heard of that are under the radar for Medicaid review are oil & gas & mineral revenues and that is probably due to how they get recorded so unless you are Abagail Aardvark
your name is not going to come to the surface for partial ownership on that gas line and the payout is often held till it reaches a set amount which could take a few years to build to that.
Janice - yes I agree with you that many continue to have their elder live with them because they cannot pay the transfer penalty. And there are those that really have become interdependent on the elder's SS or other retirement income for them to stay afloat financially. It is a tragic and stressful situation to be in for all.
I am not from Ohio, hopefully someone who knows more will also reply. I have read various Medicaid scenarios and the only thing I have seen that will help with a penalty period problem (other than returning the money) is having the senior live with the people who received the gifts.
Two of my aunts were in the same small-town care center, built maybe 25 years ago, and kept up very nicely. They each had private rooms. One was definitely on Medicaid, and I am not certain about the other. They both had private rooms for the very simple reason that every room in the center was private. So, sometimes you luck out. :)
HIPPA regulations are about the federally required privacy of data and personal information and not sharing a room privacy.
I'd suggest a word of caution about complaining as there is only so much the NH can do. Between my mom, MIL and aunts, I've dealt with 6 facilities in 2 states (and looked at a dz+ more), the amount of $ the NH is given for Medicaid reinbursement is pitifully low. TX is $ 143.00 a day, so there is only so much Hilton Hotel that can be done on a Comfort Inn rate. The current system is not perfect, but every day I am grateful that Medicare and Medicaid exist. The program is facing huge costs and there is no way the system can afford private rooms. Again, unless they are a ward of the state, no one is forcing them to apply for Medicaid or move to a NH. But if you do, you & the NH have to be in compliance.
BTW not wealthy.