What to do if my mother is 85, in a nursing home, on Medicaid and her only income is social security but she just inherited $38,000 from a friend?

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What to do if my mother is 85, in a nursing home, on Medicaid and her only income is social security but she just inherited $38,000 from a friend?

She has no use for the money. She has 8 children who she would like to split the money evenly among. Can she do this? Does the money just have to be repaid to Medicaid? I haven’t cashed the check yet, so what should I do? I am her executor.

Asked on October 15, 2013 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Ok so Mom is alive so you are not the executor of her estate yet.  Are you her Power of Attorney? Then you can act on her behalf.  But do so very carefully.  Since the inheritance is fresh money available for your Mother's food, shelter, and clothing, her receipt of the funds counts as income to her in the month she received it and causes loss of her Medicaid eligibility for that month. Also, if retained in her name, these funds would be counted as a resource for subsequent months, thus causing Medicaid ineligibility until all the money is spent.  Medicaid rules allow spousal transfers of funds (to a spouse) but I am assuming your Father is passed.  Unfortunately the funds will probably have to go for her care. 



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