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FAQs #25

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Q25. My 89-year-old Uncle recently started living with me. (He'd been hospitalized with depression). I didn't want to put him in a nursing home; and both he and I, as well as the hospital's Social Worker, felt he couldn't live alone anymore. At the hospital, he gave me power-of-attorney.

To try to safeguard at least some of his assets, should he ever need long-term care (and also perhaps to have Medicaid pay for the personal assistant care he's now paying for privately), I tried talking to him about putting his money now in my name. (I am his beneficiary in his Will.) I've been to a Medicaid-planning seminar, and have an appointment with the consultant soon.

The conversation with my Uncle was a disaster. We both got angry. And also, it went around in circles, as he was just being defensive. He's a sweet guy and loves me, but he's a real tight-wad, and also very suspicious.

To me, it would be tragic if ALL of his assets were used to pay for long-term care, when at least some of it could be saved. I feel frustrated and angry. His stubborn refusal, and lack of understanding of the situation also makes me feel like having him live elsewhere, not in my home — although I would be actively involved. (I may want him to move even if he decides to transfer his assets to me...which becomes another problem.)

I am totally trustworthy and responsible, and would use his money on his care (not for myself). Do you have any suggestions ??????

A25. Elizabeth Kelly, Elder Law Attorney:

Dear HELP!

If you have an appointment with a "consultant" (hopefully knowledgeable) it is probably best to use that person for direct advice. Much of Medicaid law is federal but states frequently have some differences and certainly have differences in interpreting the same federal rules.

If he has a home he may want to invest in some improvements to it. This is permissible under the Medicaid rules and may not be as threatening to him as transferring assets outright to you. Hopefully, the seminar presenters and the consultant know the Medicaid rules about transferring assets and the penalties associated with same.


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