Nursing Home Planning and Your Estate
Nursing home planning is essential for people who want to protect their hard-earned savings in every situation. Long term nursing home care may become necessary after an accident, illness or the death of a primary caregiver. Estate planning should be designed to prevent financial losses if you require expensive medical treatment.
Government programs for nursing care constantly change rules that determine your eligibility. Many of them are under strain and some states already make late payments to nursing homes. There are several options available that help you to preserve wealth and get the maximum benefits possible from Medicaid. Community-based services, nursing home care and assisted living are all possibilities that you can prepare for with solutions such as a revocable trust.
Protecting Your House
If you move into a nursing home, the state can make a claim against your home to recover money that has been spent on your care. This can happen to anyone who gets benefits from Medicaid. Since your home is likely to be the only substantial asset you have left when you die, you may want to leave it to your children.
In some states, your home may not be included under estate recovery if it values less than $552,000. If a dependent relative such as a spouse lives there, you can keep your home. If you decide to transfer your home to a relative, that can lead to a penalty period where you are ineligible to receive benefits. Meet with an elder law attorney to discuss ways to protect your home for your loved ones.
Income For Your Spouse
A healthy partner may be left with nothing if all your assets are used to cover nursing home costs. This situation can be avoided through “planned poverty”. The “impoverishment strategy” prevents all your assets from being used up, so your spouse can buy food, pay for their own medical costs and cover other expenses.
Transferring all assets to your spouse isn’t recommended since the finances of both partners are considered when determining Medicaid eligibility. Your partner can retain a burial reserve and property under certain conditions but a percentage of these will be considered as available for Medicaid purposes.
Senior Citizens Already In Nursing Homes
Seniors who are already receiving long term and who have not done any nursing home planning previously can still use methods of protecting their assets. You can keep enough of your assets to pay for up to sixty months of care. You could then transfer the balance to loved ones and apply for Medicaid after the waiting period, when your own savings run out.
Some parents chose to pay their children substantial sums for the Geriatric Care services that they would perform any way out of love. This option is not available to individuals who are in nursing homes so you should use this and other techniques with caution. Meticulous nursing home planning can safeguard your assets and guarantee a higher standard of healthcare. Consult with our compassionate legal advisors to prepare for this critical aspect of estate planning in accordance with the laws of your state.