Should my elderly parent, in a nursing home, sell her house?

One of the most common questions surrounding estate planning for the elderly is what to do with their home and other assets after one or both have entered a nursing home. The children of elderly parents are constantly asking estate planning attorneys in Massachusetts if their parent’s home and assets are protected when the parent or parents enter a nursing home and how their assets will affect their ability to qualify for Medicaid.

These questions are very important when older/elderly individuals review or begin the estate planning process, particularly when it pertains to Medicaid.  For the purposes of Medicaid eligibility, the primary home of a parent in a nursing home will not count as an asset under the following circumstances: the parent might return to the house to live; he or she has a spouse who is not living in a nursing home (community spouse); if the home is occupied by a child who is under 21 or handicapped; or if a child has resided in the home for at least two years and provided care for the parent which has allowed the parent to remain in the home.

As for other assets such as investment accounts, IRA’s, bank accounts, etc., in order to qualify for Medicaid, the “countable assets” such as those just listed, must be under $2,000.00.  This can be accomplished by converting the assets to exempt assets by way of sale or transfer.

Applying and qualifying for Medicaid can be a lengthy and stressful process.  An elder law attorney or estate planning lawyer experienced with the application and appeal process will be able to guide you through the maze of state and federal regulations associated with the process.

The full article can be seen here.