Medicaid has become the de facto long-term care insurance for many American senior citizens. This is true even though many of them were never impoverished throughout their lives.
This is due to the fact that Medicare will not pay for an extended stay in a nursing home or assisted living community. These facilities are extremely expensive, and the costs are simply out of reach for the majority of people who need living assistance.
Medicaid will help with long-term care expenses, but you have to meet the eligibility requirements. Because Medicaid is intended for people with significant financial need, you typically cannot have more than $2,000 in assets if you want to qualify.
In determining this amount, you must understand that everything you own does not count toward this $2,000 upper asset limit. For example, your home may not be counted as a countable asset, although an upper equity limit of $536,000 applies in Oklahoma for 2013.
It should be noted that there is no equity limit at all if you are entering a long-term care facility and your spouse is still living in the home. This would also be true if your dependent lives in the home.
Medicaid is a jointly run federal-state program. The states are required to seek recovery from the estate of someone who had been receiving Medicaid assistance while he or she was residing in a long-term care facility.
This raises a profound question: can Medicaid seek to attach the value of your home after you pass away?
The answer would be that it depends on the circumstances and the laws of the state. In general, if your home becomes probate property then yes, the Medicaid recovery efforts could bear fruit.
You may wonder if you can prevent Medicaid recovery by simply adding your son or daughter to the title of your home as a co-owner or joint tenant. It is indeed possible to take this course of action if you want your home to remain in the family.
However, there are some important issues to consider before you decide on the proper course of action. Let’s say that you are self-sufficient and still living in the home. If the joint tenant was to run into financial problems, the creditors or claimants could see to attach the home. A tax lien could even be placed on the home if the joint tenant has unpaid tax liabilities.
Another potential difficulty is that you must obtain the joint tenant’s consent if you want to sell the home. In some circumstances, a sale may not be in the best interests of the joint tenant.
The best way to proceed if you want to protect your home from Medicaid recovery in Oklahoma City would be to discuss the matter in detail with a licensed Oklahoma City elder law attorney. If you’re interesting in doing so, simply contact our firm to request a free consultation.
Parman & Easterday
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