Medicaid and inheritances can both be subject to mistakes and these can be expensive. When a person is drawing Medicaid benefits and inherits money or property, that inheritance jeopardizes the benefits. The inheritance must be handled carefully to minimize expensive penalties. What â€œcarefulâ€ means, though, can be misunderstood without the necessary expertise.
The Right Steps for Handling Inheritance
The first and best idea is to call experienced elder law attorneys like us. (An even better idea is to call us well before any inheritance becomes a â€œproblem.â€ The sooner you call us, the more money we can likely protect for you.)
An Ohio attorney was recently suspended partly because he mishandled this Medicaid-inheritance issue. The mistaken advice was that to protect the benefits, the person who stood to inherit should â€œdisclaimâ€ or â€œrenounceâ€ the inheritance â€“ in other words, give it away to someone else.
Medicaid Rules and Inheritance Context
That advice would have been OK in the tax context. It was not OK in the Medicaid context. The Medicaid rules count inheritances regardless of whether the recipient keeps them or passes them on to someone else. The bad result, in such cases, is that the person receiving Medicaid would be charged just as if he or she had taken the money, even if he or she gave it away, and the personâ€™s benefits would be docked accordingly. This can be a very expensive misstep.
The better result would be to consult us immediately. We can advise you on the necessary techniques to split the inheritance between the recipient and somebody else, like a child. If the right strategies are used, Medicaid would count the inheritance to an extent, but not as much as it would have if the recipient had simply given away the whole sum.
An even better result would be if the person leaving the inheritance had consulted us first. We know how to structure that personâ€™s financial arrangements, to protect the people to whom the person wants to leave his or her legacy.
Elder law is a law unto itself. We know that complicated area of the law well and we have helped many people successfully meet the challenges it poses. If you need legal help we are happy to help.Â ContactÂ our Louisville, KY office by calling (502) 631-1488.