Elder Law Group Blog

Protecting Assets When Your Spouse Needs Long-Term Care

Jun 1, 2017 | News, Planning

The monthly cost of Long-Term Care is enormous and can quickly deplete family resources. However, there are Estate Planning strategies that can help you protect your assets while allowing your spouse to receive public assistance benefits to pay for the cost of his or her Long-Term Care.
Medicaid is a public assistance benefit that pays for the cost of Long-Term Care, including the cost of living in a skilled nursing facility (nursing home), an assisted living facility, an adult family home, or Long-Term Care in a person’s home. To qualify for Medicaid, a recipient must meet certain financial eligibility standards.
Protecting Assets When Your Spouse Needs Long-Term Care
The Medicaid resource (asset) limit is often a concern for married couples when one spouse needs to qualify for Medicaid and the other spouse will continue to live at home. In Washington State, Medicaid resource eligibility is based on the total amount of resources that both you and your spouse own.
Exempt Resources
Not all resources are counted toward resource eligibility. Exempt resources include your house, personal and household items, one vehicle, burial plots, and burial funds of $1,500 or life insurance with a face value of $1,500 or less.
This means you get to keep your house (and all other assets on the above list) and your spouse can still be eligible for Medicaid Long-Term Care benefits.
Non-Exempt Resources
Resources that are non-exempt are counted toward resource eligibility. Non-exempt resources include cash, bank account funds, and investments. As a general rule, married couples cannot have more than $56,726 in non-exempt resources (community spousal resource allowance of $54,726 plus $2,000 for the Medicaid applicant spouse).
Medicaid Asset Preservation Strategies™
If you have more than the allowable amount of non-exempt resources, there are ways to protect those assets while still obtaining Medicaid Long-Term Care benefits. A solid plan utilizing our Smart Spend-DownTM procedures can help you avoid unnecessarily depleting your assets.
Non-exempt funds may be spent on exempt resources, such as a home or vehicle. Also, non-exempts funds can be transferred to a special kind of Medicaid friendly Annuity. The right annuity can preserve funds for the well spouse, while allowing the other spouse to be eligible for Medicaid Long-Term Care benefits without spending down those excess assets.
Other appropriate spend down items include the purchase of personal property items, the cost of repairs to the applicant’s home, and payments for professional services, such as lawyer fees and accountant fees.
At Elder Law Group PLLC, through the implementation of Medicaid Asset Preservation Strategies TM (MAPSTM) we help our clients protect assets, obtain Medicaid benefits, and create necessary Estate Planning documents. We provide Estate Planning to protect you and your assets from Long-Term Care costs.
As skilled asset protection lawyers, we will give you legal advice on the best options available to meet your objectives and protect the assets you have accrued over a lifetime. We invite you to learn more about our team here, and read what our clients have to say about us here.
Contact us or call (509) 468-0551 (Spokane office), or (509) 579-0206 (Tri-Cities office), for personal, compassionate guidance on Long-Term Care, asset protection, and Estate Planning.

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