Elder Law

Nursing Home Planning

If a loved has entered the nursing home, or is about to enter the nursing home, some assets may be protected from being lost.

In 2009 and 2014, Wisconsin implemented dramatic and sweeping changes to the law in regard to Medicaid and Estate Recovery. These new laws are significantly more complex than the prior law, but opportunities to protect yourself and your assets in the event of a nursing home stay still exist. With proper long-term care planning, there is no problem strictly complying with the law. Full disclosure of all transfers, gifts, and divestments can be done with peace of mind. There are many variables to consider when approaching this area of planning. Slight nuances in these variables may require the use of a number of different planning strategies. The best approach is to have your care paid by long-term care insurance. The sooner you investigate what is offered, the more options you will have and the less it will cost you in the end. The biggest mistake most people make is to wait until they are too old or too ill to qualify. Clients often come to us with the following questions:

  • If I give my house to my children, will it be protected from the nursing home?
  • If I give away assets, do I have to wait 5 years until I can go into a nursing home?
  • If my spouse goes to the nursing home, will I have to spend all of our money?
  • Will my revocable living trust protect my assets from nursing home costs?
  • What will happen to our house if both of us had to go into the nursing home?
  • Can the nursing home kick me out if I run out of money?
  • Is it illegal to give my assets away to qualify for Medicaid?
  • What options do I have to protect and control my assets?
  • Should I give everything to my children?

Consistently we have counseled clients on how to save significant portions of their estate in strict accordance with the law. While some feel uncomfortable giving away their assets to qualify for government assistance, many others wish to legally conserve their assets so they will not run out of money for their own care and, if possible, have something left to leave their family. For this latter group of people, a carefully designed plan will allow them to protect what they have worked so hard for all their life.

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