My grandmother and I live in Danvers, MA. We are co-owners of a mutual fund account. She purchased it around March of 2005 and thought she had named me as co-owner, but truly named me as beneficiary. We caught the mistake and had my name added as joint owner about 2.5 years ago. She is currently in assisted living but may require nursing care in the future. She tells me to take the money (as my family is in financial need), but my father tells me to leave it because if she were to go into a nursing home under Medicaid, the state would come back for it. If I am co-owner, can I use that money without needing to pay it back should she go on Medicaid?
The down and dirty answer is that no, you should not be spending the money on yourself.
When an applicant applies for Medicaid, the applicant must report any gifts made within the past 5 years. Once the applicant is “otherwise eligible” for MassHealth, MassHealth imposes a disqualification period for the gift. For a single person, this means less than $2,000 of liquid assets. [Read more…]