Ask The Expert: My mother wants to give out her inheritance right now. Can she just write checks to all of her children?

posted by: Ben A. Neiburger Elder Law Attorney

One of the requirements for Medicaid eligibility is that the person who applies for Medicaid cannot have given away assets in an effort to qualify for Medicaid benefits sooner than they would have if they had not given the gifts. If these gifts occur within the last three to five years immediately before applying for Medicaid, the Medicaid agency could impose a penalty period during which the applicant will not receive Medicaid benefits. If the applicant does not receive Medicaid benefits, then the nursing home may discharge the applicant for failure to pay for care. Accordingly, unless you can prove with written documentation that the gift was not a gift in contemplation of getting Medicaid quicker, mom should not, in general, give gifts.

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Posted by:Carol D. Young

7/28/2011 1:54:04 PM

My parents sold their home a year ago. My husband and I borrowed 50,000 from them to purchase property following the sale. We are repaying the loan to my parents. My father's health has now declined rapidly and my mother is contemplating that he may have to go into an assisted living home. While they have funds to pay for his care for about a year, following that time frame, they may need to apply for Medicaid. How will this work with the money that we have borrowed?

Posted by:Joel Clary

12/8/2009 8:23:57 AM

In response to the above question/answer, is there an amount that is safe for an elder to give as a gift to children before going to some kind of an assisted living facility?

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