For a married couple facing the possibility of one spouse having to go into a nursing home, the question that may be on their minds is:
Should we consider getting a divorce so that we can protect things through the spouse who won’t be going into the nursing home?
Not only could getting a divorce for the purpose of protecting assets backfire and cause a transfer penalty period that could delay eligibility … it also just isn’t necessary. There are many wonderful planning tools that we have at our disposal, from a planning perspective, to be able to protect assets and to get the spouse in the nursing home on Medicaid, even if they seem to have quite a bit more in assets than the Medicaid rules would suggest that they can keep.
In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, O’Fallon Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses another topic from the video series Married Couples and Medicaid and explains why getting a divorce when one spouse has to go into a nursing home is not a good idea.
Married Couples and Medicaid: Is Getting A Divorce A Good Idea?
Hi, I am Wes Coulson and this is your Elder Law Minute. This is another in our series on Married Couples and Medicaid. Today, let’s talk about something that people don’t want to talk about, but in a lot of cases their minds can’t help but think about, and that is:
If one spouse is going into a nursing home, should the couple consider getting a divorce so that they can protect things that way through the spouse who won’t be going in the nursing home?
The answer here is a pretty solid No.
For one thing, it really doesn’t work. Once a couple has divorced, they’re no longer a married couple and so the Medicaid rules look at that divorce settlement, ask if it was equitable considering all of the circumstances, and if it wasn’t, like if it’s … “I’m going into the nursing home I get nothing – you’re not going into the nursing home, you get all of it” … they’re going to treat that as a transfer of assets from the one ex-spouse to the other, and that’s going to cause a transfer penalty period delaying eligibility.
The second big thing there is that it’s just not necessary. If you come and see me, you will find that we have wonderful tools at our disposal, from a planning perspective, to be able to protect assets and to get the spouse in the nursing home on Medicaid. Even under circumstances in which, when they come in, they seem to have quite a bit more in assets than the Medicaid rules would suggest that they can keep.
So, don’t go in that bad direction. That’s a loser strategy. Come see us and we’ll help you with some winning strategies. Thanks.
For more information on planning for married couples, visit these articles:
- Married Couples and Medicaid: How Much Assets Can the Community Spouse Keep?
- Will Transferring Assets Between Spouses Cause A Medicaid Transfer Penalty?
- What’s the Difference Between Estate Planning and Asset Preservation Planning?
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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.