Happy New Year! The year 2022 was a tumultuous year with the economy, war and scams on seniors. The new year gives us all a fresh start with optimism for our future. It also gives us a chance to set a resolution to get our affairs in order. There are some very positive steps you can take to protect your family home and assets if you or your loved one needs long-term care in a nursing home.
EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT THE LAW.
Learn how you can legally transfer assets to protect yourself and your family. One example to protect assets is to consider a Quit Claim Deed, which transfers title of the house to the adult children. If the house is transferred to a child, a Life Use Agreement will protect parents from a child who might have financial or marital problems down the road. There are legal and tax ramifications to be considered. It is best to consult with an elder law attorney about these issues.
KNOW THAT YOUR HOME IS EXEMPT.
If you are a married couple, your home is an exempt asset as long as one spouse is living in the home. If a single person, widow or widower can return home from the nursing home, the home could retain its exempt status. In some cases, the state can force the sale of a single person’s home. So, the sooner you seek the advice of an elder law attorney, the greater the chance is to protect your home from the long reach of the state.
Many seniors think about transferring their home to their children and end up doing nothing. That is fine if you know the advantages and disadvantages of transferring your property. Everyone’s life and circumstances are different, so you need specific answers to your specific case.
LEARN HOW TO LEGALLY PAY YOUR FAMILY FOR CARE.
If you have a child who is caring for you or your spouse, a Care Contract may be an appropriate vehicle to protect assets by paying for that care and compensating your child for the loving care he/she provides.
GET EXPERT LEGAL ADVICE FROM AN ELDER LAW ATTORNEY.
If your loved one is already in a nursing home, it’s not too late to protect your assets. In many cases, families are eligible for Medicaid benefits without having to spend a dime. Medicaid rules do provide that seniors can be disqualified for giving away assets in some circumstances. The state will look at who the asset is transferred to, when it was transferred, and the type of asset being transferred. In many cases, asset transfers are not penalized; however, it is vital that transfers are made timely and in the correct manner. Due to the complicated nature of Medicaid rules, it is wise to seek the advice of a qualified elder law attorney.
From the Kilbourne & Tully, P.C. family, we wish you and your family a very positive and healthy New Year for 2023.