As with any subject, there tends to be common misconceptions. One subject that tends to have a ton of misconceptions is the topic of nursing homes and your assets.
Knowing the truth about the following misconceptions regarding nursing homes and your assets will help you and your family plan better for an elder care situation.
Misconception #1: “If I Put My Assets in the Joint Names with my Children, the Assets Will Be Exempt For Nursing Home Purposes”
The truth is, you are considered the owner of any assets that you add your children’s names to and this includes assets that were put in joint names years ago. Certain creations of joint assets will disqualify you from receiving Medi-Cal benefits for a period time.
Misconception #2: “ I Can Give Away $14,000 Per Person Per Year Without Any Penalty”
The truth: This amount is a Federal gift taxation limitation. It has nothing to do with Medi-Cal eligibility as the rules for Medi-Cal gifting are entirely different. All gifts that are divestments (no matter the amount) will create a penalty.
Misconception #3: “I Was Told My Only Choice Was to Spend Down My Estate”
The truth: It is almost unnecessary to spend down. There is an advanced way to plan to protect your assets and that is through proper Medi-Cal planning that an experienced estate planning attorney can discuss with you.
Misconception #4: “If I Am In A Nursing Home Already, It is Too Late to Protect My Assets”
The truth: You can ALWAYS protect your assets, no matter how long you have been in a nursing home. We have assisted lots of clients in getting qualified for Medi-Cal, who were actually in a nursing home, privately paying. If you or your spouse are in a nursing home and the other spouse lives at home, you can usually protect almost all of the assets for the stay at home spouse. You will need to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in order to protect your assets for Medi-Cal qualification.