In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 5, 2006 / 12 Elul, 5766

Make sure your house is in order — it can happen to you!

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: I am 67 and in good health, but my husband, age 70, suffers from what has been diagnosed as Lewy body's dementia. After several years at home, his condition worsened to the point that I was no longer able to take care of him and, much to my regret, had to place him in a nursing facility.

Unfortunately, my husband of 42-plus years never signed a power of attorney for me because he never believed he would get sick. He continued to deny his illness even after his diagnosis, and is not capable of signing one now. He doesn't even recognize our three children and me. We got by on our Social Security incomes and his pension, dipping into savings and his IRA now and again to make ends meet. But there is not enough money to pay for his care in a nursing home. We have relatively few assets, and those we do have — our home on a few acres of family land, a bank account and a few certificates of deposit — are owned jointly by my husband and me. I have no IRA, but he does.

I went to a lawyer, who suggested that the first thing to do was to put all joint accounts in my name immediately, since I could do this without a power of attorney. This was not a problem because my name was on the accounts; however, because the real estate — including our home — is titled jointly, the lawyer told me that we would have to get court approval to have my husband's interest in the home and acreage transferred to me. In this way, according to the lawyer, my husband's IRA would be used to pay for his care until he could qualify for Medicaid benefits, and I should then have enough income and assets to last me if I took a reverse mortgage on the home.

We went to court and the lawyer was shocked when the judge told him that he would not approve the transfer because 1) it was a crime to do so, 2) it was not in my husband's best interest to allow any transfer, and 3) the transfer would prevent "estate recovery" against the house when my husband died and would cost the state too much money. I don't understand why I should be made to suffer first by losing my husband and second by watching everything go up in smoke.

A: It is disturbing to see that either the judge was ill-informed about major issues facing older Americans today or your lawyer did not make a suitable showing of what the judge needed to get over the hurdle. One would logically assume that with an ever-growing older population, judges who deal frequently with elderly people would be more informed about and understand the unique needs of older Americans and the laws affecting them. Because of the risk of oversimplifying the complex questions you ask, we preface our response with the suggestion that matters such as this be placed in the hands of experienced attorneys who practice in this area.

That said, while the laws of each state may differ, dealing with the property of incapacitated individuals in a situation like yours requires at least a basic understanding of Medicaid regulations. Under the so-called Deficit Reduction Act that was signed into law this past February, a principal residence is not considered a countable resource for Medicaid purposes so long as the equity is less than $500,000. Some states don't count the residence if the Medicaid applicant intends to return home, while others require proof of the odds of returning home. However, in all states, so long as the Medicaid applicant's spouse or a qualifying dependent relative lives there, the residence doesn't count.

In addition, a transfer of assets by one spouse to another is exempt from penalty, and when it comes to the principal residence, the Medicaid applicant is free to transfer his/her interest in the residence to his/her spouse without transfer penalty.

Lastly, in its infinite wisdom, Congress in 1996 made it a crime to transfer assets to qualify for Medicaid, repealed this law the next year - making such transfers legal — and simultaneously passed yet another law making it a crime to advise a person to make a legal transfer. While the last version of this law technically is still out there, we know of no enforcement. Confused? So are they. And so is the judge who heard your case and believes allowing this transfer is a crime.

Bottom Line: There is absolutely no benefit to your husband — an institutionalized spouse — keeping title to the house since he can neither afford to pay the taxes and upkeep nor make any use of the home. Consequently, it would appear that it is in his best interest that a transfer be permitted to assist in your support and to shift the burden of the upkeep to you. Unfortunately, the myths about Medicaid will continue to cause many problems for our elderly population.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.


© 2006, Jan Warner