Jewish World Review May 23, 2001 / 1 Sivan, 5761
Medicaid took my mother's home
DEAR BRUCE: My mother left her home to my six siblings and me when she passed away two years ago. It was worth about $85,000 and needed repair. We all decided that we would chip in for repairs. Then we sold it for $165,000. We were told we had to put the house through probate. We are not certain why the real estate professionals we were using did not inform us that this was necessary. Now the Department of Human Services has made a claim against the estate for repayment of Medicaid services that our mom received. This will eat up the entire estate. Can you help? -- R.W., Fresno, Calif.
DEAR R.W.: I wish I could help you, but this is a situation in which a real estate agent was used for legal information instead of an attorney. Had an attorney been apprized of the fact that your mom was on Medicaid, you could have determined the numbers necessary to settle that account. Because the claims exceeded the value of the house, it would have been sold or turned over to the state for sale. I sympathize but I have little else to offer.
DEAR BRUCE: I agree with you about not being able to afford a car if it can't be paid off in three years, but what about an RV? We are looking at a $50,000 RV. We can justify this if we finance it for five to seven years. Does this make sense to you? -- T.P., via e-mail
DEAR T.P.: Assuming that the RV is worth $50,000, I have no problem with a five- or six-year loan. In most cases, the price of a car is considerably less than this. For a car price in the same range, income must be substantial. Having an RV is akin to a second home. Happy travels!
DEAR BRUCE: My brother-in-law is in financial trouble, again. He has no concept of how to handle money and spends more than he can afford to on things he really doesn't need. He called us the other night desperate for $2,500. If he doesn't get this money, he will lose his home. If I give him this money, I will never see it again, and I have no guarantee that he won't use this money on something other than what he needs it for. I have tried to explain to my wife that there is no help for him and that there is no point to keep throwing money at him. She says that this is her brother and that we have to help. -- R.C., Toledo, Ohio
DEAR R.C.: I'm on your side. There is just no way to help people like him. If he lived in the same neighborhood, was working, and he was willing to turn over his paycheck to you, that would be a totally different matter. As long as he is not acting responsibly, there is no reason for you to continue to support this
Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).
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