In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson discusses the best approach to making sure you don’t end up in a Medicaid disaster if the caregiver spouse dies first.
Hi! I’m Wes Coulson from Coulson Elder Law, proudly serving clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond. I’d like to welcome you to our Elder Law and Estate Planning Minute. We do these to help educate people, give them some little tips, and especially to let them know the questions they need to ask, things that they’ve maybe not thought of. Our thought on that is that we can help you best if you realize the things that you need help and that we can help you with. So I hope you enjoy. Thanks!
The burden of caring for an elderly loved one often extracts a terrible toll on the caregiver; physically, mentally, and emotionally. In a lot of cases, we see that by the time it’s finally decided that there’s no option other than nursing home care, the caregiver spouse is often quite spent. So, as you know from other videos, there’s a lot that we can do to get the spouse in a nursing home and on Medicaid right away by protecting assets through the other spouse, what’s known as the community spouse.
But, that raises an important question, and that is, well what happens if that spouse dies first? Well, let me tell you the answer, is if they have traditional wills, or living trusts, in which the first spouse who dies leaves everything to the other spouse. It’s going to be a Medicaid disaster, because it’s going to mean that everything will now be owned by someone who can only have a very limited amount of assets. Happily, there is a fix for that, which we call Medicaid sensitive estate planning.
Basically, what it involves is, instead of leaving things to that spouse in the nursing home, you leave it for them through a trust that basically tells the person who’s in charge, usually one of the adult children, I want you to use this money to benefit your parent, give them the best possible life that they can have, consistent with their circumstances. But, you can’t use it to pay for things that Medicaid would pay for; the nursing home bill, medical care. If it’s set up that way, it won’t cause that spouse in the nursing home to lose eligibility when the first one dies, and that estate will make its way safely down to family members when the second spouse dies.
That’s something you probably didn’t know about, it’s something you really do need to about, and it’s something that we can definitely help with.
Also looking for information about Medicaid and Asset Preservation? Visit these articles:
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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.