Estate Lawyer: What Happens to Your Assets if Your Spouse Needs Long-Term Care?


Estate Lawyer: What Happens to Your Assets if Your Spouse Needs Long-Term Care?

Do you know what could happen to your assets if your spouse needs long-term care? There are a lot of misconceptions out there about Medicaid asset and income requirements, so it is important to know what they are. Getting any one of the requirements wrong can lead to a denial of Medicaid benefits. One of the more common misconceptions I see as an estate lawyer, is about spousal income limits when a spouse enters a nursing home.  Medicaid eligibility rules differ for applicants and their spouses, which complicates the issue further. The good news is that the healthy spouse does not have to give up all of their property, income, or assets if their spouse is entering a nursing home.

Respite for the Healthy Spouse

In fact, the healthy spouse may be entitled to a portion of their spouse’s income if they have a need for financial support. This extra income is determined by the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA), and governed by the annual inflation rate. Please speak with an estate lawyer who is experienced in Medicaid planning, to determine how much of your spouse’s income you may keep.

What is CSRA?

Spouses may also keep a certain amount of their jointly held assets. In 2022, it is one-half of the joint assets up to about $138,00. This amount, known as the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA), is also determined annually by the rate of inflation. The healthy spouse may also keep their own vehicle.

One of the biggest exemptions available to the spouse of a Medicaid recipient, is the home. The home is not a countable asset by Medicaid, provided that the healthy spouse continues to live in the home.  The other spouse would likely be in a long-term care facility, covered by Medicaid. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, so please speak with an experienced elder law attorney.

We Can Help You

If your spouse is entering a nursing home, or if either you or your spouse are applying for Medicaid coverage for long-term care issues, please contact us. For more information about Medicaid planning, please give us a call to set up a consultation.