Thursday, October 25, 2012

For many years, jointly owned real estate was considered "unavailable" for Medicaid purposes. In other words, the family cottage owned jointly with Mom, Dad and daughter Susie was NOT a countable asset for Medicaid purposes because it was not available to be sold (mom and dad could not force Susie to sell, nor could Susie force mom and dad sell). That all changed in 2010, when, against the United States Constitution, Michigan decided to count jointly owned real estate as an "available" assets. In other words, Michigan DHS seems to imply that joint owner CAN IN FACT FORCE EACH TO SELL!

The logical, and most useful method of dealing with this new regulation is to obtain realtor and/or market based opinions that the joint real estate has "zero value." Imagine, for example, putting this ad in the Grand Rapids Press: "For Sale. Lovely cottage on Reeds Lake. Can only sell my 1/2 interest. Owned jointly with my daughter and wife. You must share everything with them. I will own nothing, and neither will you, when I die." How much is that real estate worth? It should not be difficult to obtain a realtor statement (or two) showing the real estate, in fact, is worth $0.00 for Medicaid purposes.

Keep in mind, we are not trying to persuade the DHS worker the asset is "exempt." Rather, that pursuant to DHS's own rules, the asset is worth $0.00.