The Elrod Firm

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How does Medicaid treat Jointly-Owned Property?

Justin, My name is Karen and I am caregiver for my elderly mother. Several years ago, she added me to the deed on her home, she also added me as a joint owner on her bank accounts, in order for me to be able to more readily assist her. In the event my mother needs Long-Term Care assistance in the future and applies for Medicaid, how will these resources be treated? – Karen

Karen, when assessing an applicant’s financial eligibility for Medicaid, he or she must have limited resources, and any excess resources must be spent down before qualifying for assistance. Medicaid rules provide that for jointly-owned personal property, such as bank accounts, CDs, and brokerage accounts, the entire balance of such accounts are attributable to the applicant and subject to being spent down, unless it can proved that the other joint owner made a financial contribution to the account, in which case that portion of the account will be disregarded.

Medicaid rules provide that for jointly owned real estate, such as a home or farm land, the entire value of the property can, in certain circumstances, be disregarded as a non-countable resource, meaning it will not count against the applicant. To make things a little more complicated, in Arkansas, real property can be co-owned in multiple ways; it can titled as joint tenants with rights of survivorship or as tenants-in-common.   Only property titled as joint-tenants with rights of survivorship can potentially be completely protected. It is important to meet with an Elder Law Attorney to discuss the details of the facts of your unique situation because the laws are complex.   They can work with you in building a plan which best protects your family.

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