In this Elder Law Minute video, Wes Coulson, Illinois and Missouri Elder Law attorney, discusses what happens to a married couples assets if the Medicaid recipient’s spouse dies first and offers ways to protect those assets through Medicaid-sensitive estate planning.
Will Everything Be Lost if the Medicaid Recipient’s Spouse Dies First?
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson from Dent-Coulson Elder Law with offices in Illinois and Missouri and serving the entire St. Louis metropolitan area and this is your Elder Law Minute. If you’ve heard our other videos you know that in the case of a married person who needs nursing home care, we can accomplish quite a bit by protecting assets through what’s known as the community spouse, the one who is not in the nursing home.
So, having made that the cornerstone of the planning it raises an important question and that is: Well, what would happen if that spouse would die first?
Let me tell you, it’s a more common problem than you might think. What we find is generally the caregiver spouse has done everything they possibly can, for as long as they can, to help take care of that other spouse at home before putting them into a nursing home and so they’re worn down physically, mentally and emotionally and unfortunately sometimes they wind up being the one who dies first. Well, here’s the thing, if they have normal estate planning and that is for a married couple – if I die first I leave it all to you and the other one, well yes if I die first I leave it all to you – that’s a disaster because it means that that spouse has left everything to a spouse who can only keep $2,000. Everything else, all the rest of the money, the house, everything winds up with the state and that’s really bad.
Married couples as they age, to avoid that problem, need a different kind of estate planning, something that we call Medicaid-sensitive estate planning. And basically that is, instead of leaving everything to each other, you’re leaving it for each other in a way that if the one who lives longer is in a nursing home, they’re not going to have to lose that to Medicaid. So, it’s more complex planning, but it can be an absolute lifesaver in terms of protecting your life savings. That’s the right kind of planning if you’re older and are married. Give us a call, we can help. Thanks.
For more information about planning for married couples, visit these articles:
- If You’re Married and Over 65, Your Wills are Probably Wrong
- Sweetheart Wills and Trusts: Are They the Best Option?
- What’s the Difference Between Estate Planning and Asset Preservation Planning?
“Your Trusted Advisor on the Elder Care Journey”
Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 or (314) 567-9292, or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.