Can we legally move any of my elderly terminally ill father’s money, before he has to start paying out of pocket for 24/7 care?

My dad never did a will, and never wanted to talk about it when brought up, but he wanted his money to go to his children. My brother’s name is on his accounts, so can any of that money be gifted to us, before the nursing home takes it all, and he’s flat broke within a few months, then has to file for Medicare?

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

You would be applying for Medicaid, not Medicare.  Medicare is an insurance program by through Social Security.  It only covers hospital stays and some rehab.  It does not cover long term care in the nursing home.

There are very few ways to gift cash without incurring a penalty period for Medicaid. Medicaid has a 5 year look back. It doesn’t matter if your brother’s name is on the account if your brother didn’t contribute to the account. If one of his kids is disabled, he can transfer money to the disabled child or in trust for the disabled child. Note that a lot of terminally ill patients, go into hospice rather than the nursing home.

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Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

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The estate administration and estate planning attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for estate planning, probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

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