In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson discusses if a prenuptial agreement will protect a spouse’s assets when applying for Medicaid.
One of the questions that we are getting more frequently is:
What happens if we have a married couple and one needs one nursing home care, and that couple has a prenuptial agreement?
You see them occasionally in first marriage situations. They’re more typical in second or subsequent marriage situations, especially later when people have gotten married later in life, have their own property and have their own children they want to provide for. So the question is, if one of those spouses applies for Medicaid, is the state going to honor that prenuptial agreement and not come after the assets of the spouse that doesn’t need nursing home care.
The answer to that question unfortunately, is no.
The state looks at that, and legally they are correct, as an agreement between the parties that speaks to the rights as between them and beneficiaries of their estate, but the state wasn’t a party to that agreement so the state is going to treat you the same as they would any other married couple, and that is they’re going to not say, “this spouse had these assets, this spouse had these assets.” They’re going to say as a couple, this is how much they had and we’re going to apply the rules accordingly.
But, let me tell you the moral of that story. The moral is that in order to preserve your intentions, you really do need to see an elder law attorney, because there are things we can do with the right planning that’s going to get you to or a lot closer to the result that you would want to see in that situation than would be the case if you just rely on the prenuptial agreement and figure that you’ll be ok.
So again, if you have that situation, in fact for any married couple where one needs nursing home care, please give us a call because your financial outcome is going to be a lot better with planning than it would have been without.
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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 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.