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I strongly suggest if you have a parent still living that they make you power of attorney over them, in case something happens to them where they might have to wind up in the nursing home. The state will otherwise take their home and property.
By Wendy from Enid, OK
We have recent experience with this. Pop came to live with us almost 6 years ago, right after selling his home. As it became more difficult to care for Pop here at home because of his multiple dementias, we starting looking into nursing home placement. We discovered that here in FL, if he had sold property in the past 5 years, all of the monies from that sale could be taken to pay for nursing home care. The intake staff member I spoke to at one of the nursing homes we investigated informed me of this practice, and told me that if Pop had already distributed the money to loved ones, those loved ones would be required to refund those monies for his care. We were in shock to say the least.
Because Pop had indeed disbursed his funds early to ensure that money went where he intended it at a time that he felt would do more good than after his death, we kept on caring for him in our home until he was well past the 5 year mark, to be certain that grandkids wouldn't have to return money that had been gifted to them for college tuition.
We are now in the process of getting Medicaid to fund his nursing home costs. A problem that we have run into is that Pop has two cash value life insurance policies and Medicaid policy is that these must be borrowed against down to a certain very low level and used for Pop's benefit prior to Medicaid benefits kicking in. Medicaid is entitled to up to $2500 dollars of the cash value of each policy if we can't manage to spend that money.
Thankfully, my husband has power of attorney for his dad, which enables him to request the cash value and use it to pre-pay funeral expenses and pay towards the accumulating debt for Pop's upkeep. Hospice is funding the nursing home care, and any monies that we can't use up on Pop's behalf can be donated to Hospice as an acceptable expense. We are also using the funds to covers medications for non-Hospice related conditions, such as his thyroid and blood pressure meds.
Something very important to know is that powers of attorney for parents MUST be completed PRIOR to any diagnosis of dementia. Once a person is diagnosed or receiving treatment for any form of dementia, that individual is no longer considered legally capable of assigning power of attorney to any other individual. In order for a family member to gain power of attorney once a parent has been diagnosed with dementia, it takes several thousand dollars in legal fees and several months, sometimes as long as a year, before that power of attorney is finally granted by a judge. We learned about this in a class about Alzheimer's conducted by one of our local hospitals.
Their home and property may still be taken, but with Power of Attorney, at least you can legally act on their behalf.
Spoken from experience, I'm sure. I'm thankful to still have both my parents in pretty good health when I'm up to 54 years old.
I would think an elderly person just needs a will....how can anything be taken away then or did you mean taken away by the nursing home to pay for it? I just I didn't totally understand the post.