Medical Assistance for People Who Are Age 65 or Older and People Who Are Blind or Have a Disability

2.3.3.2.4.1.1 Shared Ownership

A person may be the sole owner of real or personal property or may share ownership with one or more people. Ownership of an asset is determined in order to count the proper amount toward the person’s asset limit.

This section explains how to count shared interests in personal property. See Medical Assistance for People Who Are Age 65 or Older and People Who Are Blind or Have a Disability (MA-ABD) Real Property for information on how to count shared interests in real property.

Availability of Shared Ownership Assets

A jointly owned asset is unavailable when all of the following criteria are met:

  • the permission of a joint owner is required to sell or dispose of the asset;

  • the joint owner is not a member of the household or a financially responsible relative whose assets are deemed to the person; and

  • the joint owner refuses to allow the sale or disposal of the asset.

These rules do not apply to jointly owned bank accounts.

Jointly Owned Bank Accounts

A jointly owned bank account may still be available even when another joint owner refuses access if it was titled jointly with the intent of allowing both parties full access. The following factors are used to determine if the jointly owned bank account is available:

  • How the account is titled, and laws governing the type of account

  • What agreements, if any, were signed when the account was opened or the second owner’s name was added to the account

  • Who contributed to the account

  • Who has had access to the account

  • Who has received income and/or 1099 tax forms from the account

  • Who gets the proceeds if the account is closed

Other Jointly Owned Assets

These general provisions are followed when evaluating joint ownership:

Uniform Gift to Minors Act/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act

The full value of assets established under the Uniform Gift to Minors Act/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UGMA/UTMA) is excluded.

An adult designated to receive, maintain and manage custodial property on behalf of a minor beneficiary is not the owner of UGMA/UTMA assets because he or she cannot legally use any of the funds for his or her support and maintenance.  

Payable on Death Beneficiaries

Payable on Death (POD) beneficiaries do not have an ownership interest in an asset.

Other Assets

For all other assets, each owner is considered to own an equal share unless the person documents a greater or lesser share of ownership.

  • Accounts

    • The following rules are applied to bank accounts, including checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, savings certificates, and other time deposit accounts which are jointly held:

      • If the joint owners are people eligible for MA, even if not in the household, ownership of equal shares is presumed.

      • If the joint owner is a responsible relative, whose assets are deemed available, ownership of equal shares is presumed.

      • If joint owners do not meet the above two criteria, then the entire balance/value for each adult is counted.

  • Bonds

    • The value of the jointly owned bond is divided among all named owners listed on the bond.

Legal Citations

Minnesota Statutes, section 256b.056, subdivision 1a