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MAJOR MISTAKES IN NURSING HOME/MEDICAID PLANNING

By Carolyn E. Hartle, Esquire, May 10 2018 05:59PM

When a spouse enters a nursing home, Medicaid will count the married couple’s assets to determine the amount of assets “the community spouse,” who is the spouse living in the community, can retain and have the spouse in the nursing home qualify for Medicaid. The spouse in the nursing home is known as the “institutionalized spouse.” Any and all assets that both or either spouse owns are used in making this determination.

So, if the community spouse transfers all of the assets, such as the investment accounts, bank accounts, and stocks, into his/her name alone, this accomplishes absolutely nothing and they will still count as assets for purposes of the institutionalized spouse qualifying for Medicaid.

In addition, if the community spouse adds a child’s name onto his/her bank accounts, investments, savings bonds, or other liquid assets, this accomplishes absolutely nothing, and they will still count as assets for purposes of the institutionalized spouse qualifying for Medicaid. According to Medicaid’s regulations, bank accounts, savings bonds, investment accounts, and other liquid assets owned by one spouse and another individual, who is not other’s spouse, is deemed to be owned by the Medicaid applicant or his/her spouse, unless the other account owner can prove that he/she deposited his/her own funds into that account. If the other account owner can prove he/she deposited funds into the joint account, then the amount he/she contributed is not considered an asset of the couple for purposes of the spouse qualifying for Medicaid.

These two mistakes can cost the married couple thousands of dollars. When protecting your assets, you cannot afford these costly mistakes or bad advice. In order to avoid these mistakes and others when engaging in nursing home/Medicaid planning, please consult an experienced Elder Law Attorney, who can advise you how to protect your assets and help you navigate the Medicaid Application process.