Protecting financial assets when facing nursing home care need

Many people have medical issues that result in the constant need for monitoring and treatment, possibly leading to nursing home confinement. The primary problem that most individuals face is one of insurance and funding of that care, which is a very expensive proposition in all situations. When someone needs care and there is no one in the family who can provide it, then a nursing home might be the best option. Government insurance does cover the service to some degree, but the coverage is a qualified benefit provided by Medicaid that many patients are not eligible to receive without some rearrangement of family assets.

Qualifying for Medicaid insurance

Nursing home care funding is not a function of the Medicare insurance program but instead is paid through Medicaid. Eligibility is means tested, and the threshold for exemption due to personal assets is very low. Individuals cannot own more than $2,000 in financial assets with qualifying married couples having a limit of $3,000. Exemptions are allowed for one primary vehicle, one primary real estate holding that must be a primary residence and certain life insurance allowances.

Legal remedies to qualify

What this predicament means for most people is a restructuring of their finances. With assistance from an experienced guardianship attorney, some individuals establish an irrevocable trust and transfer personal wealth into the trust under a trustee. In lieu of establishing a trust of any type, the assets can also be assigned to the estate trustee in terms of ownership or guardianship, which then puts the primary trust maker in the clear with the Social Security Administration regarding asset levels for Medicaid eligibility.

Another important aspect regarding this type of estate restructuring is that it can apply to dependent children as well as aging adults who also may need nursing home care. Family financial details should be carefully handled with any asset or estate shift, so it may be beneficial to consult an attorney who has your family’s best interests as a focus. A legal professional may help develop a good plan for protecting assets and family members at the same time.

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Law Office of Sharon C. Stodghill
952 Echo Lane, Suite 330
Houston, TX 77024

Phone: 713-464-6412
Fax: 713-827-7483
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