My father remarried and is now in a high level assisted living facility due to dementia. His spouse doesn’t want to pay for my father’s care from their joint checking account and feels his assets (that I am POA over) needs to pay for his care instead. Since all of his social security payments were put in their joint checking account over the past 16.5 years and the balance of their checking account was $42,000 when he entered the assisted living facility, I feel his spouse should spend down the $42000 before I take over paying for his care. She’s contacted a lawyer and her lawyer says my father's assets are to be used to pay for his care, not the $42000 in their joint checking account the day he entered the facility. Help!
Pay his bills from his assets.
Their joint account is her money too. He set it up that way, he married her and stayed with her, respect that for his benefit.
I think you and his wife need to see an elder law. The assets you claim are his may be his wife's too. Depends on the laws of your State. If he came into the marriage with assets, your State may protect those assets from her, they may not. IMO his SS and any pension are his, but then u don't want to leave her high and dry, she is his wife. That 42k is jointly owned and Dad is entitled to half of that, at least.
Medicaid allows splitting of assets. Assets can be split and Dads split gets spent down and then Medicaid can be applied for. His wife is then a Community Spouse remaining in the home and getting a car. Their monthly income will be looked at and she will get enough or all of it to live on. When Dad passes Medicaid will put a lien on Dads half of the house that will need to be satisfied at his wifes death, house is sold or she leaves the house.
Again, you need an Elder Lawyer to help set this all up.
If he isn’t on Medicaid yet, I’d suggest working with an elder law lawyer familiar with estranged spouse issues.
Meanwhile you can only pay bills with money that the POA gives you access to.