Will I Lose My Home If I Go Into a Nursing Home?

As an elder law attorney, I am often asked, “Will I lose my home if I go into a nursing home?”

The fear is not unfounded by any means. The cost of nursing home care continues to rise, with a private room costing $92,376 a year in 2019 and projected to cost $134,869 a year by 2028 according to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey. The good news is that Medicaid is available to help cover a stay in a nursing home – without forfeiting your home. 

The reason is a bedrock legal principle that has been around as long as medicaid: TYPE of asset determines protection, and your home is the TYPE of asset that is protected if you go into a nursing home. This legal principle applies to many other types of assets, as well. This legal principle applies if you are single or married and remains true for the rest of your life as long  you do not change TITLE where you give up ownership. Unfortunately, many people not realizing their home is the TYPE of asset that is protected, take the unnecessary step of transferring ownership of their home to their children or grandchildren or transfer ownership to an Irrevocable Trust. Often these unnecessary steps are taken at the advice of an attorney.  

Unfortunately, Medicaid will not help pay for your care in a nursing home (called the look-back penalty ) if you have transferred your home or any assets to your children or grandchildren or to an irrevocable trust within a certain time-period, currently five years – soon to become ten years. This “penalty” means that you have to “spend down” your home and other assets before Medicaid pays for your nursing home costs, when you were eligible for Medicaid to begin with and did not have to make the transfer. Not only that, but changing title to your home where you or your spouse gives up ownership creates a ticking tax and asset protection time bomb for you and your family.   

As an elder law and estate planning attorney with over 31 years of professional and personal experience, I can help you navigate your unique situation and make the arrangements that are right for you. Coordinating with our elder law and estate planning office on these matters means that you will not only know what will happen to your assets – including your home – if you get sick before you die, but you will know what will happen to your assets when you die … 

That’s peace of mind. 

 Call us toll free at 866-253-6994 to learn more about how we can help you.

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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