We were recently referred to an individual whose aunt was living in a nursing home. The administrator of the nursing home told the nephew to contact our office to see if there would be anything that we could to assist. The aunt was a single individual who had lost a husband years ago. The aunt and her husband worked very hard during their lifetime, and at various times both of them had at least two jobs.
The aunt talked openly to her family about the fact that her nephew was everything that she had, and that she wanted to make sure that her nephew received something from her and her husband when they died. Unfortunately, the aunt, being alone, was not able to continue to live in her home alone and had to move into a nursing home. She has been living in a nursing home for over a year and was receiving excellent care. The administrator of the nursing home knew of the aunt’s wishes and told them to give us a call to see if there would be anything that we could do to help.
At the time that we became involved, the aunt was down to approximately $100,000 in assets and a house that was worth about $150,000. The nephew had heard that he would have to spend down the $100,000 in her assets and get his aunt qualified for Medicaid while keeping the house, because there is an exception in the law that says that as long as the aunt has an “intent to return home,” he would be able to get her qualified for Medicaid. What the nephew did not realize until our meeting was that if you exempt the home with the intent to return home, the State has a right to lien the property up to the amount of care that was provided. The nephew felt defeated when he learned that and was convinced that there would be nothing that we’d be able to do to help. He was wrong.
In Pennsylvania, even in a situation where an individual is single, we are able to protect half of the assets, but at least half of the assets have to be in cash to be able to do so. In this case, the overall value of the estate was $250,000, which means that we needed about $125,000 in cash. The nephew decided to put in $25,000 of his own money to give us $125,000 of cash that we needed. In return, we were able to deed the property to the nephew and preserve the home. The aunt has dementia, so the likelihood is that she will live for an extended period of time in the nursing home, as she is only in her early 80s. By the nephew putting in $25,000 of his own money, he was able to get a property in his name worth at least $150,000, and he is hopeful that if he is able to clean it up a little bit, he’ll be able to sell it for even more than that. The best part of this story is that the aunt is able to still live in a facility that is providing tremendous care for her, and she is also able to provide a legacy for her nephew, her home.
We are grateful to the nursing home administrator who thought of our firm and knew that we would be able to assist. We are very pleased that we were able to give the family the outcome that they were looking for and the ability to carry on both the aunt’s and uncle’s wishes, even though he is no longer with us.
If you want to talk about your unique family situation contact us today. You can click here or call us at 717-845-5390.
Jeffrey Bellomo, Esq.