Medicaid Minute: Joint Accounts – Half Mine & Half Yours?

September 16, 2020

My name is Attorney Jessica Merkel and this is Ruder Ware’s Medicaid Minute.  This week, we’re here to talk about joint accounts in relation to Wisconsin’s Medicaid rules.  A client was telling me about how she’s been a joint owner on her mom’s bank accounts for about the past eight years.  Her mom was recently admitted into the nursing home and was interested in getting on Wisconsin Medicaid.  Her question to me was, when her mom applies will the joint account be considered half hers and half her mother’s?  I explained to her that when her mom applies for Wisconsin Medicaid all of the money in the account will be considered her mother’s.  Unless they can show that she deposited some of her own personal funds into the account.  And that that money still remains in there.  Often, children are placed on their parent’s accounts as joint owners for one reason – convenience.  It’s much easier for the parents and the children, if the children are able to help manage the accounts, access the funds – help out.  It’s rare that children actually place money in those funds.  So this helps us to explain why Wisconsin Medicaid presumes that the money in the account is 100% the individual’s who is applying for care.  Unless we’re able to show otherwise.  Ultimately, through our various planning techniques we were able to help our client and her mother so that her mother could qualify for Wisconsin Medicaid.  If you have any questions regarding Wisconsin Medicaid, or any other elder law questions, please feel free to give us a call.  We’re here to help.

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