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Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group
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Will the Nursing Home Take My House?

Clients often wonder what will happen when and if they must go to a long-term skilled nursing facility. Fears may range from practical financial concerns, such as whether their retirement will be sufficient to cover the expense or whether they will become a financial burden on their children to more unspeakable fears like mistreatment or the potential loss of personal autonomy. One of the biggest concerns is often, “Will the nursing home take my house?” The short answer is no. A nursing home does not take houses. However, there are circumstances where selling the house may be the only way to get the funds to pay for the care that is needed. Fortunately, however, there are local elder law attorneys in Florida who know how to keep this from happening.

How People Pay For Nursing Home Care

When older adults are admitted to nursing homes, they and their families typically scramble to fill out application forms, consent forms, and maybe create powers of attorney at the nursing home. There is often a flurry of paperwork and plenty of staff members explaining rights and financial responsibilities. The financial representative or admissions team generally will have the new resident declare whether he or she intends to use public aid (i.e. Medicaid) or pay with personal funds (i.e. private pay). If paying with personal funds, the resident should expect a hefty monthly bill. Few Americans wish to spend their children’s inheritance on a nursing home bill. So, many times an application will be made for Medicaid. In order to qualify, however, one must meet a means test that requires the person to have less than $2,000 in total assets for a single person and $3,000 for married couples.

Your Home Is An Asset

Since a person must have less than $2,000 to qualify, owning a home with any equity above that amount will generally disqualify most people from receiving Medicaid. If the person lacks liquid funds, like savings or retirement accounts, sufficient to cover the bill, then selling the house might be the only way to pay the bill. So, in a sense, the cost of a nursing home may make you lose the house, but it does not directly take it.

How To Keep Your Home When Admitted To A Nursing Home

Like everything in life, advance planning is better than reacting to a crisis when it occurs. It is always best to begin planning for potential nursing home placement long before it is needed. If you suspect that a nursing home may be in your future or in a parent’s future, you should visit an elder law attorney who can begin preparing your estate plan so as to avoid losing valuable assets and retirement funds. Married couples have terrific options. If one spouse is in the facility while the other remains in the home, the spouse in the nursing home may transfer a substantial amount of money and assets to the spouse who is still living in the community, and generally there are ways to protect the home as well. Nevertheless, early consultation with a Florida elder law attorney at the Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group is your best option for keeping your home, despite nursing home placement.

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