We are Joint on the bank account and the nursing home said that does not matter. Can I just take the money?
Estate Planning Attorney
This is not legal advice nor intended to begin an attorney-client relationship.
The short answer to this question is that if you aunt transferred the funds to you more than 60 months (5 years) from her admission to a nursing facility or her attempt to qualify for Medicaid the transfer could have occurred without consequence. If you take the money now (and she is very close or already in the nursing home) it will be counted as her money and any attempt to transfer it will be deemed fraudulent. If it is this far along your options to save any assets are probably very limited.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship.
Elder Law Attorney
I would not advise it. As general rule of thumb there is a Five Year look back Rule on any gifts from your aunt to you, furthermore in most Jurisdictions an assumption will exist that funds in the account belong to your aunt should she need Medicaid benefits. Please seek out local counsel (Elder law attorney) in your area to protect these funds.
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You should speak with an "elder law attorney" in your area as soon as possible. Medicaid has very strict rules on transfers - it can get very complicated very quickly, and it sounds like Medicaid might be necessary for your aunt in the future. An experienced elder law attorney is up to date on the current rules and regulations (federal and state) and can lay out the options for you and point out what the problems are - so that you can work around them now, rather than being (even more) surprised in the future. Good luck!