My mom has her home in a revocable trust. My dad is deceased. Her annual income is approximately $30,000 and she has some savings. She is worried that the state will "take her home" if she requires long-term care and exhausts her savings. What would happen? Can she be forced to sell the house or would liens be filed? My aunt who has no trust but a will and is low income, met with an elder care attorney who said he would "fix it" so she would not lose her home and offered to do the same for my mom for a substantial fee. She did not understand how he is able do this. Can you explain the process and how it relates to the trust? Thanks.
A: I can understand your mom's concerns and the promise that she would not lose her home is a tempting one, were it not for the "substantial fee" that it would cost her to have this promise fulfilled.
I am going to assume that the scenario your mother is concerned about is as you have stated, that is, she has exhausted her savings, is no longer able to stay in her home and requires long-term care in a nursing home. Medi-Cal does not provide benefits for long-term care in, for example, a residential care facility for the elderly. Your mom then applies for and qualifies for Medi-Cal coverage because she does not have sufficient funds to pay for the cost of her long-term care, and since her home is exempt she qualifies. What happens to her house? If she owns her house upon her death, whether or not it is in her revocable trust, Medi-Cal will recover against it what has been paid for her, but only after she dies.
An excellent resource that provides a good discussion of the rather complex area of Medi-Cal planning, eligibility and recovery can be found at www.canhr.org, which is the website for California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. There is a section titled "Medi-Cal for Long Term Care" which provides an overview of long-term care under the Medi-Cal program and a FAQ section on Medi-Cal Recovery.
As to whether the house is titled in your mom's revocable trust, or your aunt's in her name alone to be transferred by a will at her death, makes no difference for Medi-Cal recovery purposes.