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Elderly owns home but in a nursing home

By Terry Savage on October 27, 2019 | Insurance & Annuities

My mother is in a nursing home and has some money to pay the bill for about a year but she doesn’t want to have to sell the house. Is there any way of being able to keep the house so she isn’t forced to sell it for the money for the nursing home. When she passes I am to inherit the house and my daughter is living in it currently.

Terry Says

You’re walking a thin line here. States have the ability to “look back” at any assets owned or transferred within 5 years of applying for Medicaid. And I’m assuming that’s what will happen when your mother runs out of her own savings. If she transfers the home to you, or your daughter, it would result in her being ineligible for Medicaid for a certain number of months. If a spouse is living in the home, then the home would be exempt, but not a child unless you apply for an exception for a handicapped child. There is a Caregiver Exemption for adult children who reside in the home and provide care for at least two years before entering a nursing home. But it is too late to use that exemption in your mother’s situation.
In your mother’s situation, there is a list of exempt assets in each state — typically a burial plot or pre-paid funeral expenses, and other similar assets. Otherwise, her Social Security check (except for some personal spending) and any pension would be taken to offset the cost of the Medicaid nursing home. If the house itself is that important to you (for sentimental as well as financial reasons), you could consider paying for her care out of pocket and then inheriting the house as planned.

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