We live in Michigan, she is 88 yrs old and has Alzheimers and needs home help. Can I protect this account from medicare taking it since my name is on the account? She wanted this for my sister and I to have for our retirement.
An 88 year old with Alzheimer's Disease has significant and unique legal issues that should be addressed sooner rather than later. To get to your specific point, the fact that you are a joint owner will, most likely, not be sufficient to protect the asset. I say most likely, because there are a limited set of circumstances where this might help.
Your mother most likely worked very hard to accumulate some savings, and it is only natural to look at all possible steps that can protect your mother and honor her wishes. There is, in fact, things you can do to protect her and her assets.
This is NOT a do-it-yourself project. Most attorneys acknowledge that this is one of the most complicated areas of law to practice. Attorney John Ternes has been practicing Elder Law in Petosky longer than most of us had even heard of the term Elder Law. You may want to give his office a call.
In contradiction of popular belief, it is NOT true that Medicaid is only accepted at the worst nursing homes. In fact, the vast majority of nursing homes in Michigan accept Medicaid (including many of the better nursing homes). There is a list available that tells you which nursing homes accept Medicaid. There is only a small percentage that do not have any Medicaid beds.
Michigan Elder Law Attorney
Medicare does not take any money. You are confusing that with Medicaid, which is a welfare program for poor people who cannot afford medical care. What you are asking is if you can intentionally impoverish your mother so that she can qualify for government assistance, so that you and your sister can have an inheritance.
The legal concerns with doing that are that there is a look back period of five years. The money needs to be out of your mother's name for that long before she would qualify for Medicaid. If you remove all of the money, then it would be considered divestment by your mother and she would not qualify until you had paid down the amount transferred.
The practical concern is that, even if your mother qualified for Medicaid, immediately, there are only certain nursing homes that accept Medicaid patients. Many of the better nursing homes do not. Most nursing homes limit the number of Medicaid beds they have, because Medicaid does not pay as much as private pay patients do. There is no financial incentive for them to take Medicaid patients. Some facilities require you to private pay for 6-12 months before they will take someone as a Medicaid patient. So you may not be able to find a facility that will take your mother where you would want her to be.
I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.
My suggestion would be to hire an elder law attorney soon. In Maryland, a joint brokerage account may be a protected or uncountable asset for Medicaid. You need to find out what the law is in MI. An elder law attorney will be able to answer your question. Do not rely on the advice of neighbors or the representative at the nursing home.
Just about all nursing homes in Maryland accept Medicaid. I feel it is a myth that the "good" nursing homes will not accept Medicaid; however, I do not live in MI and maybe it is different there.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline