How do I spend down Uncle's patient acct in a nursing home to avoid reaching limits on Medicaid assets?
3 attorney answers
You can spend your Uncle's money on anything that benefits him. Food, clothing, entertainment. It's not a good idea to give it away, but a small token of appreciation for caregivers would probably not be a problem. Usually people in nursing homes need new clothing every once in a while (as old clothing gets worn out, lost or destroyed). Most folks have a favorite treat like a candy bar or soft drink and a supply of those could be purchased. If your uncle likes music you could buy him some headphones and a music player of some sort. If your uncle likes movies you could get him a tablet or viewer so he could watch movies on it, along with a subscription to a streaming service perhaps.
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Consult an attorney knowledgeable about the Massachusetts specific rules. If he is already receiving Medicaid and receives a large amount of money there are limited ways to spend funds without penalty. Gifting is generally going to result in a penalty, meaning he could be ineligible for Medicaid for a set period of time. Tread carefully. Some states allow what is known as gift and return, but an experienced Massachusetts practitioner can tell you how best to proceed. Do not spend anything until you have consulted with an attorney. This answer is not taking into account power of attorney issues, etc. which could come into play in this fact pattern.
I have two additional suggestions: take care of any outstanding funeral and burial expenses and set up a burial account. The account can be jointly owned and can be funded with up to $1,500.
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