Hazel Green, AL asked in Elder Law for Alabama

Q: If me and my siblings use some of mom's money and then she's goes to nursing home will we have to pay money back?

I'm power of attorney had to move money into my name due to grandson stealing.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jack T. Carney
Jack T. Carney
  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: If your mother needs to qualify for Medicaid (assuming she does not have the resources to pay for nursing home care), then you would need to repay the funds if she needs to qualify for Medicaid. It’s all related to the Medicaid “transfer penalty.”

The penalty basically works as follows: Medicaid will look at every transfer in the prior 5 years and regardless of the reason, will assess a penalty based on the amount transferred to another person. The penalty is a period of ineligibility for Medicaid. The rationale is that the money taken from her could have been used for her care and therefore Medicaid will not pay for services during this period. An attorney or the nursing home may be able to further help you with these regulations and how they affect your mother’s situation.

Further, repaying the money may just be the right thing to do. As a fiduciary, you may also have an obligation to try to retrieve these funds, in addition to returning funds you placed in your own name.

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