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My parent has dementia and no assets.
2 months 3 weeks ago #13 by Hope S
If your parents simply spent their money on themselves and haven't made any gifts in the past 5 years, everything may be just fine. However, if any of their assets (money, car, real estate etc.) were transferred into someone else's name or a significant amount of cash was removed from any of their accounts in the past 5 years, there may be issues in getting them qualified for Medicaid, the program that pays for long term care on an ongoing basis. (This is different than Medicare, which would only cover up to 100 days at most and only with a qualifying skilled nursing stay, for which dementia does not usually qualify.) Medicaid has a 5 year "lookback" period during which any gifts of a person's assets would be scrutinized and would likely cause a problem with them being eligible for Medicaid to cover their costs. Sometimes, even things that were never intended as gifts, can cause issues with eligibility for Medicaid as the Medicaid caseworker can perceive things differently than the family intended. Consulting with an elder law attorney in your state can let you know if your parent might have an issue with Medicaid eligibility and could help in addressing any potential issues. Medicaid eligibility is too important to be left to chance. Many elder law attorneys offer a Free initial consultation during which you would likely be able to determine if there are potential eligibility issues. In my experience, working in an elder law firm for almost 15 years, and working in long term care for nearly 14 years prior to that, your time would be well spent by speaking with an elder law attorney or one of his staff members.
2 months 2 weeks ago #14 by Michael Brumbaugh
In addition to Hope S.'s reply, if your parent still has the ability to understand and sign estate planning documents, even if the assets are gone, you should have an attorney prepare up to date powers of attorneys documents for finances and health care. These documents allow someone, among other things, to write checks, pay bills, sign contracts and make health care decisions. Without these crucial documents, your parent might need an expensive and time consuming guardianship. If you are not sure if your parent has the capacity to sign, the attorney can help with this decision as well.
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