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Medicaid (Property And Estate Transfers)

There are certain criteria's that have to be met involving time period restrictions on transfers of real estate and other assets in your estate that may either qualify, or disqualify, you if those criteria are either met, or not met.

Under the rules of Medicaid coverage, each state operates its own programs concerning coverage and time limitations on transfers of property, while Congress and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) make the defining regulations under which Medicaid operates.

As a result, the rules and regulations regarding property transfer timeframe's may be somewhat different in each state, thereby making it necessary for you to contact the Medicaid office in the state in which you live.

Congress has decreed that a penalty shall be imposed on people who transfer assets without getting fair market value in return. In other words, you can't give your property to your children or someone else and then move into a nursing home and expect to qualify for Medicaid.

Any property transferred by you or your spouse, whether it is sold, traded, given away, or conveyed in any manner within those timeframe's, especially property that is transferred for below market value, can make you ineligible for Medicaid services such as basic care, nursing facility care, or any home or community based services.

Certain resources can be transferred without incurring penalties such as assets transferred to your spouse, minor child, or a disabled child, which includes your home. You can transfer assets for reasons other than to qualify for Medicaid, and you can make a transfer for fair market value.

  • The look back period for disqualifying transfers made prior to February 8, 2006 is 36 months. Transfers made after that date is 60 months.
  • The look back period is 60 months if the transfer involves certain types of trusts.
  • There is a penalty period during which the person who transfers assets will be ineligible for Medicaid, which is determined by dividing the fair market value of the amount transferred by the amount that Medicaid determines to be the average pay cost of a nursing home stay in the state in which the application is in.

As with all issues involving possible legal ramifications, you should contact an attorney before attempting to sell, trade, give away, or convey title to real estate, trusts, and other assets that may make you ineligible for Medicaid and/or Medicare benefits.

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