Protecting Your Home When Planning for Long-Term Care
If at some point you need to enter a nursing home, you likely will not need to sell your house to qualify for Medicaid benefits to cover the costs of your long-term care. However, it is possible that the state will file a claim against your house after you pass away in an effort to recoup some or all of the money Medicaid spent to pay for the nursing home. Because of this, you should meet with an estate planning attorney before the need for nursing home care arises.
In states that have implemented the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, including Florida, houses with equity below $552,000 are not counted against owners when it comes to qualifying for Medicaid. However, if a spouse or another dependent continues to live in the house, you may keep it no matter what — without any equity limit imposed.
Transferring the property to someone else
As part of the planning process, some people decide to transfer ownership of their home to a child or another family member. This action can provide a number of benefits, although there may be a Medicaid penalty period involved — meaning you will not qualify for benefits until a certain time period has expired. You may, however, transfer a home without this penalty to your spouse, a child under the age of 21 (or one who has a disability) or a trust that has a disabled person under the age of 65 as its sole beneficiary.
If you do not transfer your home to another party, Medicaid may place a lien on the property for the amount spent on your long-term care. This lien would have to be satisfied before you could complete a sale of the house.
Making sure you don’t lose your home due to long-term care costs can be complicated, but it is possible through proper planning. To learn more, work with an experienced Florida elder law attorney at the Charles Law Offices.