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Can I give my son a gift of money before going into a nursing home?

Saint Louis, MO |

It's my understanding that nursing homes will take all of your money when necessary if you go into their facility. My son has helped me so much, I wish to give him a check for $2000 before entering. Will they see that as trying to hide this money?

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Attorney answers 2


What you are actually talking about is if you go into a nursing home and then seek to apply for Medicaid. When you apply to Medicaid they are going to look back for a period of five years and determine if you have made any gifts or transfers for less than fair market value. In this case, since it sound like your sone has already performed the services the $2,000 would be considered to be a gift or transfer for less than fair market value. When you have a transfer or gift during the lookback period, then you are subject to a penalty period or period of time during which Medicaid will not cover the costs of your stay in the nurshing home. You might be able to enter into a caregiver agreement with your son that would allow you to compensate you for services he renders in the future. Say for example if your son was going to make sure that you were being properly taken care of in the nursing home and he was going to take care of your financial affairs. In that case you could enter into a written contract with your son to compensate him for such services. The compensation must be at or below the fair market value for such services and your son would be required to pay income taxes on the amounts that you paid to him. The benefit would be that the money you pay to your son will not have to go to the nursing home during a spend down, nor would it be considered a transfer of assets for your medicaid application. If you are interested in something like that, speak to a local elder law attorney and they should be able to walk you through the process and get the proper documenation in place.


I would recommend consulting with local counsel, preferably a certified elder law attorney.

the short answer is, yes, it would be a penalized uncompesnated transfer if you went into a nursing home within the next five years.

If your son "worked" for you pursuant to a written care agreement that pre-dated the date of payment, then you might be able to compensated him, but any gift would result in a period of ineligibility for Medicaid.

Medicaid is very complex. consult local counsel.

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