If your spouse becomes ill and must enter a nursing facility it isn’t necessary to sell your home, though it is important to understand that there will still be some major concerns at some point. In many cases when someone enters a nursing home they will need help from Medicaid to pay for that cost, even if they thought that they could pay for the care on their own.
When someone is not prepared for the need of long-term care, they will likely have to cover these costs out of their own pocket and continue to do so until their assets are depleted. At that time they can qualify for Medicaid assistance. This is often referred to as a Medicaid spend down. It is critically important to realize that there are estate-planning options that can prevent a full Medicaid spend down being necessary.
If you wait until you need to do a Medicaid spend down before you seek the advise of an estate planning attorney, you could miss out on many opportunities to get many of your assets exempt, and reduce the cost of a nursing home stay.
As far as having to sell your home in order to get help with the cost of long term care, this isn’t necessary because your primary residence is usually considered to be exempt for the purpose of Medicaid eligibility. Other real estate will not be exempt, such as a vacation home or recreation property.
Many people also fear the estate recovery rule that comes with Medicaid. After the death of someone being covered by Medicaid, the cost may be recovered through the sale of the person’s home. If the healthy spouse is still residing in the home, it will be exempt from recovery by the state.
If the healthy spouse does become ill and is not living in the home, or they need assistance from Medicaid, the home will then be subject to Medicaid recovery for reimbursement. This is why it is extremely important that you seek the help of an estate-planning attorney to find ways to protect your assets, including your home, before this becomes an issue.
Attorney at Law
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