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Treatment of Joint Property by MOHealthNet

MO HealthNet Vendor Qualification and Joint Ownership of Real Estate:

When property is owned by two or more persons, other than husband and wife, or by a divorced couple, it is most often called ‘tenancy in common’. Each person owns an equal share in the property unless otherwise specified in the deed or in the will, if the property was acquired by inheritance. This means that each of three persons sharing ‘tenancy in common’ in a piece of property owns one-third of the property. Each of the owners can sell or otherwise dispose of his share in the property without consent of the others, and his share at death will be inherited by his heirs. Such an arrangement is indicated in the deed or will by the words ‘tenancy in common’ or ‘share and share alike’ or statement that the property is held jointly or that the owners have ‘joint property’.

Occasionally, property owned by two or more persons (other than husband or wife) is held in ‘joint tenancy’, that is, the property cannot be inherited by the heirs of the one who dies first but remains the property of the survivor. As long as both or all joint owners are living, the equity of each owner is the same as for a ‘tenancy in common’. Refer to the policy governing Distribution of Estate of Deceased Person and Availability of Inheritance. Missouri Department of Social Services Income Maintenance Manual.

Joint Bank Accounts:

Consider the total amount on deposit in a joint bank account, of which the applicant or participant is one of the owners, as available unless there is verification the money placed in the account or a definite portion of it belongs to the other joint owner(s). If the applicant/participant is married and living with spouse, consider the total amount on deposit, whether owned individually or jointly with the spouse, as available to the applicant/participant.

When both or all of the owners of a joint bank account, who are not married to each other, are applying for or receiving assistance, each is considered as owning their proportionate share of the account.

Once it is verified a joint bank account exists of which the applicant/participant is one of the owners, the total amount on deposit is not considered as a resource if the applicant/participant states he or she has not deposited any portion of the money in the account and past circumstances and/or bank records indicate this is reasonable. Only the portion of the joint account determined to belong to the applicant/participant is counted as a resource.

Some factors to consider in accepting the applicant/participant’s statement are employment, health, or assistance history which indicates the applicant/participant had little or no opportunity to acquire such assets. Missouri Department of Social Services Income Maintenance Manual.

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