Answers To Your Estate Planning Letters
Note: Not Legal Advice!
Can I have sole legal claim over my father’s home? I will have to move to Oklahoma. I will be responsible for paying mortgage, bills, and other living expenses. Along with caring for his medical needs. My two siblings will not be helping. The significant sacrifices have hurt me financially.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Everyone helps at Christmastime! But that was last week. What about the rest of the year? Your father is blessed to have you. Many people do not have anyone willing to step up. But you must protect yourself to protect Dad.
Basic Rule: Everyone can leave anything to anyone. It is Dad’s stuff. Dad decides who gets it. But. It gets tricky when the favored beneficiary also helps the giver.
Dad changes his plan to increase benefits to you. Here is what happens next:
Case #1: You are just one of the kids. The other kids can complain all day long. It is up to them to prove that you used “undue influence” on Dad. And that is almost impossible. You win!
Case #2: Dad has special trust and confidence in you. Dad depends on you emotionally, medically, and financially. Dad gave you power of attorney. Dad made you his trustee.
Things are different. You are Dad’s “fiduciary.” Dad is dependent on you. Then dies. The other kids complain. Now the “burden of proof” shifts to you! You must prove that you did not use “undue influence on Dad. And that is almost impossible. You lose!
Your friendly neighborhood elder law attorney has seen this movie before. Frequently. To avoid the hassle after Dad dies, prepare now. Several techniques are commonly used to protect Dad’s wishes. And you! We can help you determine the best strategy.
But please. Get this fixed now! Family strife hurts everyone. Save your family. Save your sanity. Save your inheritance.
Do I have to watch my mother’s spending before entering a nursing home? My mother is 95 and living in her home. She withdrawals $2000.00 cash every month for her groceries, eating out, clothing, house cleaning, lawn work etc. She has done this for at least the past 10 years. My question is, if she goes into a care home, will the home consider these withdrawals of money a concern, and prevent her from entering home?
Old Habits Die Hard
Today we have COVID. In the 1930’s it was the Great Depression. Cataclysmic events change the survivors. Like your mother. Depression Era folks never trusted banks again. Cash is king!
Your mother’s cash habit is very common. Social Security checks used to be mailed. Many retirees would immediately cash the check. And go walking around with the cash money. Nowadays, Social Security is Direct Deposit. No paper checks in the mail.
Undaunted, folks like your mother go to the bank and withdraw the cash, just like before. This can be a problem.
Prove You Did Not Give It Away!
Nursing home expenses break most middle-class folks. When broke, Medicaid may pay. But not if you gave your money away. When your mother applies for Medicaid, she must prove that she spent her money correctly. For the last five (5) years.
How can mother prove she did not give her money away? No receipts. No cancelled checks. No paper trails. If mother’s caseworker is a stickler, mother can be in trouble.
Nursing homes want to get paid. Mother has no money. Medicaid will not pay. Now what? Now the nursing home sues mother. Mother has no money. But mother has a house! Not for long…
Solution! Save The Homestead
Record mother’s spending now. Collect receipts. Write checks. Set up Direct Pay for utilities. Develop a track record. When the time comes, you can demonstrate that $2000 a month is mother’s routine spending. Your friendly neighborhood elder law attorney can help.
Applying for benefits does not mean Nursing Home Poverty or silly Spend Down. Learn how to preserve your loved one’s lifesavings, business, cottage, life insurance. Thousands of middle-class families have learned and use these techniques. Why not yours?
Got Questions? Get Answers!