Protecting Your Assets from Nursing Home Costs

Did you know that almost 70 percent of seniors will need long-term care assistance at some point in his or her life? Illnesses, disabilities, or a severe cognitive impairment, like dementia, often keeps people from living independently. Because of this, many seniors need help with basic self-care tasks.

The government program that pays for nursing home care is called Medicaid. This federal and state medical program is for those who meet certain asset and income levels. By employing certain strategies to structure your assets, you may be able to qualify for Medicaid nursing home benefits.  

We like to tell our clients that we are about avoiding “crisis planning.”  In other words, our clients are prepared for long term care / nursing home cost prior to the illness that requires costly care.  Educated and prepared, our clients avoid the common, costly mistakes that other families incur when making decisions in crisis.

  1. How can I protect my assets from the high cost of nursing home care?

This depends on your marital status, whether you are already in a nursing home, and if you anticipate a lengthy stay in the nursing home. Both single individuals and married couples can own some property and still be eligible for Medicaid.  We discuss options under the current rules of eligibility for Medicaid and how we can prepare for changes in the law down the road.

  1.  How can I protect my house?

Currently, a Medicaid applicant can retain a principal residence, which is exempt property. After the Medicaid recipient’s death, however, the house is eligible for sale to reimburse Medicaid unless there is a surviving spouse living at the home. However, there are certain planning strategies available to protect the family home. 

  1. Should I hire an attorney to help me?

Absolutely. With advanced planning, many people have been able to protect their home and investments from expensive nursing home costs. These strategies for protecting your assets from nursing home costs are best handled by an elder law lawyer. Since certain planning options may be better for your family than others, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable elder law attorney to figure out the best option for you and your family.