If my mother, a widow in her 80s, sets up an irrevocable trust to protect her house, then needs nursing home care, how long after the trust is set up would it be before she is eligible for Medicaid. Also if she is in a nursing home, who pays for the upkeep of the house and the property taxes?”
Answer: Medicaid will look back for 5 years, but that does not mean she is ineligible for five years. The ineligibilty or penalty period is determined by dividing the amount transferred, which would be the assessed value of the house, by the average monthly rate of a nursing home in your region. The trust is the owner of the home and would be responsible for the bills, so when the trust is set up, make sure it has funds, either in cash or in stocks/bonds, that can be quickly converted to cash.
Sonya Mittelman, Attorney at Law
Bronx, NY 10461