WAG 07-02-02: Jointly Held Assets

PM 07-02-02

A jointly held asset is an asset owned by more than one person.

If the client cannot reduce or transfer the asset without the consent of the joint owner and the joint owner refuses to give such consent, the asset is not accessible.

Jointly Held Personal Property

When a client has an available nonexempt joint asset, explain to them that the entire asset is used when determining their eligibility.

Example: Ms. A has a joint bank account with her sister. The account balance is $1,000. The entire bank account of $1,000 is used when determining Ms. A's eligibility.

If the client claims that all or part of the asset does not belong to them, request proof:

  • of the amount of the client's interest or ownership in the asset, and
  • that the other owner's verified interest is transferred from the joint asset, or
  • that the client's access to the other owner's portion of the asset is restricted.

Verification sources include, but are not limited to, bank documents, trust documents, signature cards, divorce papers, or court orders.

Example 1: Mr. B has a joint savings account with his daughter. The account balance is $8,000. He provides proof that when the account was opened, he deposited $5,000 in the account and his daughter deposited $3,000. His daughter provides proof that her $3,000 share was transferred from the joint account. The remaining $5,000 in the joint account is an available asset for Mr. B.

Example 2: Mr. C has a joint savings account with his mother. The account balance is $4,500. He provides proof that the account was originally opened by his mother. Mr. C's name was only placed on the account in case something happened to her. Mr. C provides proof from the bank that he no longer has access to the account. The account is now payable to Mr. C only upon the death of his mother. The savings account is not an available asset for Mr. C and does not affect his eligibility.

Jointly Held Real Property

When the client has an interest in jointly held real property, explain to them that their proportionate share is used when determining eligibility.

Example: Ms. D owns a house jointly with her sister. Count 1/2 interest as belonging to the client when determining eligibility.

Do not count the client's proportionate share of the equity value if the property is exempt or not accessible.

Example: Mr. E owns non-homestead farm land with his brother. His brother refuses to place the property for sale and the property may not be sold without his consent. Treat the property as not accessible. Do not count the client's proportionate share of the property when determining eligibility.

A transfer of the client's and/or spouse's interest in jointly held real property is subject to the asset transfer policy.

Example: Ms. F resides in a nursing home. She owns non-homestead property jointly with her son. Ms. F transfers her 1/2 interest to her daughter. When deciding if the transfer is allowable, use 1/2 equity value of the property as the amount transferred.