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Gierach and Gierach, P.A Gierach and Gierach
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Family Caregivers And Medicaid Eligibility


The idea of aging in place, surrounded by your closest family members in the house where you have lived for decades is a comforting thought, but aging in place is not as glamorous as it sounds.  Some people stay in their family home as their ability to live independently declines because, from a financial perspective, they have no other options.  Selling your house and moving to an assisted living facility is fine if you live alone, but what about the family members who live with you?  Especially if they are of working age, your house is probably the only thing separating them from financial catastrophe.  These are bleak economic times for the American workforce; a paid off or mostly paid off family home is a great source of financial relief.  Meanwhile, acting as a live-in caregiver to an elderly parent is relentless and exhausting work.  Once you come home from your job, you have another shift of work helping your elderly family member prepare food, bathe, and take medication.  The good news is that, in some cases, it is possible for the elderly person to move to a nursing home as a Medicaid beneficiary while the family members who have been providing care keep possession of the house.  To find out more about transferring ownership of your house to a family caregiver without losing Medicaid eligibility, contact an Orlando estate planning lawyer.

Medicaid Is Supposed to Alleviate Poverty, Not Cause It

Unless you plan carefully, Medicaid nursing home benefits are a Trojan horse.  Medicaid cannibalizes your Social Security check while paying for your nursing home care, and after you die, it files a claim against your estate to recover the rest of the money it spent on you.  Many estates have had to sell the decedent’s house to pay Medicaid, obliterating any stability the decedent could have provided for the younger generations by buying the house.  Medicaid uses the five-year lookback rule, where any assets the decedent gifted or sold for less than market value within five years of entering the nursing home are fair game for its claims.

The good news is that Medicaid will not take your house if you transfer its title to your son or daughter just before you enter a nursing home, as long as your child has been living with you and acting as your caregiver for at least two years before you entered the nursing home.  Only biological and adopted sons and daughters are eligible under this rule.  Sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, nieces, nephews, stepchildren, and grandchildren are not eligible, even though they may have contributed to your care.  If you own your house jointly with your sibling, your sibling also gets to keep the house after you enter a nursing home and does not risk losing the house during the probate of your estate.

Contact Gierach and Gierach About Providing for Your Family Caregivers in Your Estate Plan

An estate planning lawyer can help you plan to access Medicaid nursing home benefits without putting your family in a precarious financial position.  Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.


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