When a sudden need for nursing home care occurs, couples are often faced with a dizzying array of things they have to do, rapidly mounting costs and fear. Options are limited and the first thought is to sell the family home and use the proceeds to pay the nursing home. Instead, the couple or the spouse who is not disabled needs to sit down with an elder law attorney to find out what can be done.
In its recent article, “Seniors have more options than selling their home,” The Boston Globe says that an experienced elder law attorney can be the key to protecting your family’s health and financial well-being. This includes such assets as the family home. An elder law attorney can show the senior couple that they have options—in most cases, they don’t have to sell their home to pay for emergency long-term care.
A couple’s money is often tied up in a home, so to fund long-term care, they sell it. When they sell it to qualify for Medicaid, which will cover the cost of long-term care, they exhaust the proceeds of the sale—in addition to the rest of their money. This leaves the healthy spouse—who can still live independently—with little in the way of financial security, which can potentially compromise that individual’s health as well.
For example, think of a couple in their late 80s with one spouse needing nursing home care immediately. They own a home and have about $210,000 in the bank. With the right planning in place, an elder law attorney can help the wife stay in the family home and preserve most of the remaining assets to keep her comfortable, while helping the husband receive Medicaid benefits.
Before taking any action, speak with an elder law attorney and explore the options that best meet your family’s needs. It’s critical to plan ahead. An elder law attorney can help you plan now for the future to ensure your wishes on housing and health care can be satisfied.
Planning in advance of a health crisis will make it more likely that the couple’s wishes will be defined and fulfilled. Proactive planning means that the family will have far more choices than if they wait until a health crisis occurs. Speak with an elder law attorney to explore options for your future.
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Reference: Boston Globe (August 19, 2016) “Seniors have more options than selling their home”