When you get serious about planning ahead for the eventualities of aging you may learn about some things that you never considered. One of these is the fact that Medicare won’t pay for long-term care. As a result, Medicaid is relied upon by most seniors who reside in nursing homes. Because of this, Medicaid recovery in Indianapolis IN is an important consideration.
Medicaid will assist with long-term care costs if you can stay within the low upper asset limit of $1,500. Doing this is often going to involve divesting yourself of assets well in advance of applying for Medicaid.
When you are engaged in Medicaid planning you don’t have to worry about the value of your house right away, because its value, up to a minimum of $536,000 in equity in 2013, does not count.
However, there is such a thing as Medicaid recovery in Indianapolis IN. The Medicaid recovery unit will seek reimbursement for monies spent on your care from the assets that comprise your estate.
Traditionally, Medicaid recovery would only target probate assets. Assets that you retained sole personal possession of at the time of your death would be probate assets.
Because of the fact that you can qualify for Medicaid while retaining home ownership, if you don’t take the appropriate steps, you could die while still in personal possession of your home. Under these circumstances, the Medicaid recovery people would seek to attach the home.
Joint Tenancy & Medicaid Recovery in Indianapolis IN
As mentioned above, Medicaid recovery traditionally involved seeking reimbursement through the attachment of probate assets. When you add a joint tenant or co-owner to your property, this individual assumes ownership of your share of the property after your passing outside of probate.
This raises a logical question: will joint tenancy prevent Medicaid recovery efforts targeting your home?
Until 1993 the answer was yes, because of the fact that the transfer of property held in joint tenancy was not subject to probate. However, during that year the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA ‘93) was enacted.
This law gave the states the ability to seek Medicaid recovery from certain non-probate property, including property held in joint tenancy.
However, this does not mean that property held in joint tenancy will automatically be subject to Medicaid recovery at all times and under all circumstances. While states have the legal right to aggressively pursue this property, each state takes a different approach.
In some states, property held in joint tenancy will wind up passing to the surviving joint tenant or tenants without being subject to Medicaid recovery efforts.
The best way to understand Indiana’s approach to this scenario would be to discuss everything in detail with a licensed elder law attorney. Should you be interested in doing so, contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.