Skip to main content

What is the effect of having joint (JTWROS) accounts with mom on $13,000 gifting and look back rule?

Philadelphia, PA |

My father died in Apr. 2009. All of my parent's bank accounts, etc. have now been changed to joint accounts between my mother and me. Does this mean that since I am on the accounts with her now, she cannot gift me? She, of course, can gift my son and husband? Can I also gift my son and husband from that same joint account with her?
Additionally, since the accounts are jointly owned , how does Medicaid view this if my mother needs to go into a facility? Will half of the funds in the accounts be considered mine, and therefore, will not be considered by Medicaid in determining my mother's eligibility?

Attorney Answers 2

  1. 1) Medicaid will consider ALL of the money to be your mother's, since (a) the money was all from your mother in the first place, and (b) she has the right to withdraw any or all of the money as a joint owner. Therefore, all of the money in the account will be considered an asset of your mother's in determining eligibility.
    2) I'm not sure about your question on gifts. Are you asking if your mother can use some of the money from this account to give you a gift? If so, the answer is yes.
    3) About your question if you can use some of the money in this account to give gifts to your husband and son, the answer is yes. As I indicated above, the money in a joint account is available to all of the joint account holders. Your mother might not like your giving this money to your husband or son, though. If you do give the money to your husband or son, Medicaid will consider it a gift from your mother to you and use the five-year look back rule to bring it back into her assets for determining the penalty period.

  2. I agree with the first answer. You may want to review my legal guide on joint tenancy accounts and the legal issues involved with those accounts - not good in my opinion. You should seek the advice of a medicaid attorney as this area is ever changing and taking certain actions could have legal implications that you do not want to be a party too. Be careful and good luck.

    Mr. Post is licensed to practice law in KS and MO. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply unsuitable. Mr. Post strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

Elder law topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

An attorney can help.

Post a question and get free legal advice from attorneys.

Ask a Lawyer

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics