My mother is in a care home on Medi-Cal. If she sells her house can she keep $2000 and funeral expenses, non-revokable?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Sacramento, CA

My mother is in a care home on Medi-Cal. We are told she is allowed to have $2000. She has a home and a car. The doctors are saying she can't go home anymore. As we understand it the state will take the house even though it is in a family trust. If she sells it can she keep $2000 since she is over drawn right now? We are also told she is allowed an non-revokable funeral plan. Would she be able to keep enough to pay for an inexpensive casket, funeral visitation, not even embalming, and transport to the national cemetery where she has a plot? And is there a time frame to do this so many months before she dies?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Robert Paul Bergman

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . For your mother to qualify for Medi-Cal in the first place, her home was counted as an exempt asset for eligibility purposes. However, except under very limited circumstances, the state will require repayment for moneys paid out for your mother after your mother has died.

    If the house is sold while your mother is still alive, she would no longer have an exempt asset (i.e. her house), and the state would not only remove her from Medi-Cal, but would likely make a claim for reimbursement right away for moneys already expended on her behalf.

    Do not attempt to do anything without the assistance of a qualified elder law/Medi-Cal attorney, because a mistake made that this point could cause a serious loss of property.

    Please remember to mark what you believe to be the best answer to your question. This answer is provided by... more
  2. Michael Leo Potter

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . California is not exactly 'User-Friendly' in this regard. Your mom's home was originally counted as an Exempt Asset for purposes of determining her Eligibility. The state can require repayment for moneys paid out for your mother after she is deceased. I concur that it would be VERY wise to consult with a qualified Elder Law attorney right away before making a decision to make sure she doesn't lose her coverage. Good Luck!

  3. Joseph Bernard Mchugh Jr


    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As the other attorneys stated, the house and car are considered exempt, and thus will not affect Medi-Cal Eligibility. And as had been stated, if the house remains in your mother's name (even though in the Trust, which is considered to be your mother's alter-ego), then recovery can be made against this after your mother passes. However, there are some things that can be done. First, if you have been a caregiving child for 2 years prior to the MC application, there is an exception against recovery. However, the house can also be gifted directly to you, with an Occupancy Agreement allowing your mother to occupy the house for her lifetime; or gifted into an Irrevocable Trust, also retaining residency rights. Both options take the property out of your mother's name and will not be subject to recovery. You definitely should contact a qualified elder law attorney.

  4. Matthew Erik Johnson

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As Mr. Bergman mentions, the time frame may have already passed. Not only because selling or transfering the home would likely make your mother ineligible to continue welfare. However, states do typically create an exemption amount for basic post-life necessities, such as funeral costs and burial-cremation costs. So speak to an elder care attorney locally who would know CA laws on exemption amounts before the Estate Rule goes into affect, allowing a recoup of welfare monies.

    Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale... more
  5. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Both attorneys offer comprehensive responses. Still you need to get with an elder law attorney BEOFRE any actions are taken that could impact benefits and taxes. Do not rely on a general forum; get a real expert to assist you.

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia... more

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