Furrow, et. al., Health Law, pp. 576.
Mary Montgomery is 78 years old and recently widowed. For 50 years
she and her husband Bill farmed together on the 320 acre farm they
inherited from her parents. The farm was homesteaded by her grandparents
in 1882 and has been in the family ever since. For the past 15 years,
Mary's oldest son, Owen, has done most of the farming, and she and her
husband intended to leave the farm to Owen when they passed away. Making
a living on the farm was never easy, but over the years Mary and Bill
managed to pay off mortgages they had put on the farm. Mary received
$30,000 in life insurance at Bill's death which she has saved. Mary now
lives on this sum and on her Social Security. Mary has been bothered by
arthritis for several years and her condition has recently worsened. She
is finding herself more and more forgetful, and although she jokes about
this, she is worried that her mind may be going altogether. Owen's wife,
Jane, comes by several times a week to straighten up Mary's house and to
make sure that she eats well.
Mary has come to you because she is concerned about her future.
Although she has no immediately life-threatening medical problems, she
knows that her health is deteriorating and that sooner or later she will
have to go into a nursing home. She recently went down to Park Acres
Home (which is run by her church) and talked to the administrator. She
was surprised to learn that skilled care in the home costs $2400 a
month. She had always assumed that Medicare would cover any nursing home
care she might need, and was shocked to discover that it would only
cover at most 100 days, and perhaps none at all. The administrator told
her that may of the patients in the home were on Medicaid, but that to
become eligible for Medicaid she would have to sell the farm and
liquidate the sum she would receive, plus her savings, because in her
state Medicaid covers only persons with less than $1900 in savings.
Mary wants to know whether there is some way she can pass the farm
and her savings on to Owen and Jane and make herself eligible for
Medicaid. She knows Owen cannot afford to buy it from her, and is
heart-broken at the thought of it being sold out of the family.
Moreover, after all of the work Owen and Jane have done on the farm for
her, they deserve it.