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Addressing Long-Term Care Issues For Married Couples

If one spouse has to enter a nursing home, the healthy spouse is allowed to keep certain assets that are deemed exempt. The nursing home spouse gets to keep a nominal amount of assets. The balance of the marital estate would have to be spent down on the ill spouse’s nursing home costs. Some of the money can be spent down on

  • prepaying funeral expenses of both spouses
  • purchasing a car or house (if they don’t already own one)
  • making improvements to an existing home
  • paying off debt such as mortgage and credit cards

But what does one do with the rest of the assets? Pay the nursing home? No. A Medicaid Qualifying Annuity converts the excess assets that would otherwise have to be spent on paying the nursing home into income for the healthy spouse. The healthy spouse’s income is not countable when determining the nursing home spouse’s eligibility for medical assistance. However the annuity must meet certain criteria in order to allow for Medicaid eligibility.

Howie Law Office prepares Medicaid/Mass Health applications. We attend meetings with the Department of Health and Human Services and handle the process from start to finish.

The information provided herein is for general purposes only and does not to purport to give specific advice on individual matters. If you want individual advice, contact Mary Howie, an Elder Law and Estate Planning attorney practicing in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Attorney Howie also holds a master’s degree in business administration and finance. Call her at 603-893-8008.