In order to qualify for Medicaid assistance if you end up needing nursing home care, you need to be completely impoverished. That means you need to spend down to your last $2000 in assets before Medicaid will help pay for your care (note: your spouse can keep a bit more if you’re married and they’re not also needing care, and there are special rules for your home).
It makes sense to evaluate options for protecting at least a portion of what you’ve worked hard for. An attorney who does what we call “Medicaid Planning” can walk you through your options, as well as the pros and cons. We are frequently able to help clients keep at least something in the family, but it typically requires giving up control over your assets to another family member. An irrevocable trust is a common tool for this kind of planning, if you have someone you trust to take over for you and you’re willing to give up control now.
In addition, if you served our country during a wartime period, you may be eligible for some special VA benefits (a category of benefits generally referred to as Aid & Attendance) should you end up needing care that exceeds your monthly income. Similar to Medicaid, these benefits are only for those who have a very limited amount of money and other assets, so planning can be helpful in making use of this hard-earned pension.
To learn more about Medicaid benefits and how to qualify, call our office for a Personal Consultation or join us at one of our upcoming Estate Planning Workshops where we discuss the general principles.