In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson discusses the Medicaid rules and how they apply to joint bank accounts. Having your child’s name on your bank account can cause problems when applying for Medicaid. Medicaid considers joint bank accounts to only belong to Medicaid applicant. Even if the adult child withdraws money from the account in the five years before their parent applies for Medicaid, it is still treated as a gift transfer by the applicant.
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Elder Law Minute. One of the Medicaid rules that people most often get confused about, and make mistakes on, is the one that relates to joint bank accounts. People think that if somebody’s names say an adult child was added to an account more than five years ago, it’s safe for that other joint tenant to take out their half of the account. That’s not right. Joint bank accounts are considered as belonging only to the person who applies for Medicaid, and any withdrawal of funds from that account within five years prior to application will be treated as a gift transfer by the applicant. That’s something that can get you into real trouble if you don’t understand that rule. So, I guess the word of caution here is be very, very careful in dealing with joint accounts, and I guess the other lesson is that there are a lot of rules here that if you’re not familiar with them, can jump up to bite you. It’s really wisest to get the help of a qualified elder law attorney. Thanks.