Mom’s bank account is dwindling and because of changes in her health, you can see that an assisted living or skilled nursing facility is in her future.  How in the world is she going to afford it?

Can she qualify for Medicaid?

There are dozens of factors that come into play, including her medical needs, her assets, her income and any transfers or gifts she made recently.   In most cases, she can have only $2,000 in assets.  Everything counts except her house and one vehicle so consider her life insurance policies, annuities, antiques, other real estate, etc.  In some situations, she can transfer assets to an irrevocable trust but it is very important that she first talk to an elder law attorney to ensure it is the right approach for her.

Once she qualifies for Medicaid, what happens next?

Not all assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing facilities accept Medicaid as a form of payment.  As a result, she might have to move out of one facility and to another one, which can be very difficult for our senior clients.  Before you start a Medicaid application, confirm that the facility in which she will live accepts Medicaid for payment.

Mom transferred her house to my nephew. That’s not a problem, right?

That depends.  If she sold the house to him for fair market value and can prove that, it won’t be a problem.  If she gave it to him or if he bought it for less than it was worth and that transaction occurred in the last 5 years, Medicaid will consider that to be a gift which will make her ineligible for at least a few months.  Consult with our firm to determine whether a penalty will apply and whether the transfer can be corrected.  We can help you determine the best course of action.


How much will it cost?

Our firm’s fees will depend largely on what’s involved.  For example, if the estate has a great deal of debt to pay or negotiate, or if heirs argue over assets they wish to have, our time involved will increase but in most cases, our representation for an estate will be less than $2,000.  All fees and expenses can be paid from the estate’s funds with court approval.

How can Garrity & Gossage help?
Our attorneys handle Medicaid applications frequently and are very familiar with the process and requirements.  Before we apply, we will review all of the financial transactions to determine whether there might be a glitch in the process and help you determine how to overcome it, if possible.  We will work with the Department of Social Services as the application is being considered to ensure they have everything they need, and we can help with the estate recovery process after someone passes away.