Medicaid Applicant Denied for Uncompensated Transfer of Assets

Agnes LaPointe was denied Medicaid benefits because her disclaimer of her interest in inherited property is an uncompensated transfer of assets.

In the case of  LaPointe v. Rhode Island Dept. of Human Servs. a Rhode Island trial court ruled that a Medicaid applicant’s disclaimer of her interest in inherited property is an uncompensated transfer of assets, rendering the applicant not eligible for Medicaid.

(Related: Financial Elder Abuse)

Agnes LaPointe owned a home in a joint tenancy with her husband. After her husband died, Mrs. LaPointe disclaimed her inherited one-half interest in the house while also transferring her interest in the other half to her children, retaining a life estate. One year later, Mrs. LaPointe entered a nursing home and applied for Medicaid.

(Related: There are Limitations on Special Needs Trusts)

Because Mrs. LaPointe had engaged in an uncompensated transfer of assets, the state denied her Medicaid benefits. After conceding that she transferred her interest in the house, Mrs. LaPointe appealed, arguing that the inherited interest in the property never vested in her, eliminating her ability to have transferred it.

(Related: Crisis Planning Worksheet to Support Caregivers)

The Rhode Island Superior Court entered judgement for the state, on the grounds that Mrs. LaPointe’s disclaimer of her inherited interest in the house qualifies as an uncompensated transfer of assets. As a result, because Mrs. LaPointe was entitled to receive her inherited one-half interest in the house, but did not because of the disclaimer, the disclaimer became an uncompensated transfer.

For the full text of this decision, go to: http://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/SuperiorCourt/DecisionsOrders/decisions/11-1142.pdf

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