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If you think your mother may not be able to wait that long before needing nursing home care, then a combination of an outright gift to her children and a purchase of a "Medicaid annuity" can protect roughly half of her assets. This technique can be done immediately, even if the parent is already in a nursing home.

A Medicaid annuity is a special type of annuity that is irrevocable, non-transferable, immediate, and fixed to equal monthly payments. With the right type of annuity, it is non-countable as an asset for Medicaid purposes, and the purchase is not considered a gift that might otherwise cause a disqualification period.

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See a financial consultant who deals in Annuities to see if this would apply in your case. Laws vary from state to state.

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