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Do elderly disabled parents qualify for medicaid benefits?

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When writing their will(s) in 2003, my parents created a revocable "family trust" in which they placed the family home and one other piece of real estate. In 2008, my siblings and I signed a document at their lawyer's office, involving the outright transfer of ownership of the properties contained in the trust - after a 5-year waiting period - to us children. The 5-year period has now passed, and I am wondering if my parents are eligible to receive financial assistance from medicaid to help pay for either a nursing home or in-home care to stay in the family home. Both need constant (24/7) supervision for safety reasons, and help with walking, feeding, bathing, etc. Dad receives a small workman's pension, and Mom receives some SS income from previous work. They have no major assets.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

I would want to look at the document which you signed in 2008 to see exactly how it is phrased in order to answer your question. A little knowledge of elder law is a dangerous thing. I don't know if the attorney you saw then actually does elder law as a major component of his or her practice; however, if he doesn't, take the legal documents to an elder law attorney for review. An experienced elder law attorney can also discuss with you eligibility for MassHealth services in the community under the various programs that are available for that purpose.

E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you Atty. Golden for your thoughtful response. I don't believe that my parents' attorney's primary practice is in elder law. My sibs and I will certainly consult with an elder care attorney regarding the language in the 2008 document. In the meantime, would you kindly give me your opinion as to whether it is wise, or even necessary, to hire someone apart from an elder care lawyer to help with the MassHealth/medicaid application form for my parents, or do elder care lawyers help with this process? I have heard the term "medicaid lawyer" referred to in other posts, and was wondering if there was a difference between an elder care attorney and a medicaid lawyer specialist. Thank you.

E. Alexandra Golden

E. Alexandra Golden

Posted

Elder law attorneys are knowledgeable about Medicaid law and most handle MassHealth applications. IMHO, if there could be a question about the status of ownership of property or whether a transfer is permissible or countable, you need to see an elder law attorney first. Although there are certainly services which complete these applications for less money than a lawyer might charge, a poorly prepared application can cost the applicant and his family thousands of dollars in lost benefits for any number of reasons, including premature filing, mischaracterizing the nature of assets, failure to spot and advise about prior disqualifying transfers, or failing to advise the applicant and his family to consult with an elder law attorney to make sure that assets are properly transferred to eligible recipients PRIOR to filing the application. On the other hand, if you are dealing with a super-simple situation, such as a single elder with very modest assets, then these services may be fine.

Asker

Posted

Thank you again, Atty. Golden, for your response. We will be sure to have an elder care lawyer review our parents' will and documents pertaining to the family trust, and request that s/he advise and assist us with the MassHealth application should s/he deem filing for benefits appropriate. On behalf of my family, I thank you very much for your time in answering my questions and for pointing us in the right direction.

Posted

It depends! Don't you love that answer? But it really does depend on what is actually in the documents that were executed as well as the law in your state. It is not impossible that the properties are now "off the table for MA purposes, but you must talk with an elder law attorney to be sure. Why not the attorney who drew up the documents in the first place?

This is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer. You are not my client. You cannot rely on my response to your question. My response to your question is probably worth exactly what you paid for it. You don't get to sue me for anything. If you'd like to sue me, well you have to hire me first. Here's how you can hire me! #1 Call: 1-888-463-2843 #2 Email: david@davidcarrierlaw.com #3 See me on TV! www.woodtv.com - go to the Ask the Expert tab! #4 Listen to my radio show (2 full hours every week!) www.woodradio.com - go to the podcast section.

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Posted

As my brother stated, it depends. The key is going to depend on the wording of the trust and the style of transfer of the properties in your question.

No attorney-client relationship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside.

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Posted

I agree with the other attorneys and suggest you now hire a medicaid attorney to help with the application.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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Posted

Medicaid varies from one state to another but here in Alabama, if the real estate had in fact been transferred 61 months or more out of your parent's name, it would be exempt from a Medicaid lien. There are exceptions to this and seeing the deed would be definitive so I strongly encourage you to search for an Elder Law attorney in your parents' state and consult with her/him on this to be 100% sure of what you have.

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