It is common for people to want to make gifts and transfers to various charities. These gifts could consist of stock, cash, life insurance, etc. As people become older, they sometimes find that they don’t need as much financial wealth to live on, and they are willing to make gifts to charities.
When this happens, consideration must first be given to the potential need for Medicaid down the road, as it requires a look back period of up to 5-years in order to qualify. This means that any gift that was made within the last 5-years may be looked at by Medicaid with a question of whether it was made as part of a lifetime giving plan or if this was a single gift intended to spend down assets to qualify for Medicaid.
In many jurisdictions, the gifting of funds to charity may be regarded as disqualifying transfers, but if there have been significant gifts over years, the Medicaid authority should review the gift and determine that it is not intended as a spend down strategy, but rather was given as part of a deliberate lifetime giving strategy, even through incapacity.
In many cases, as long as the person making the gift is not pending placement in a long-term facility, the gift will probably not be challenged. When in doubt, however; a request can be made of the physician attending the donor that at the time of the prior gifts to determine that the donor was competent, of sound mind, and not disabled to the extent that they may have required institutionalized care in the near future.
Hyman G. Darling, Esq.
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