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Term policy is owned by the patient. Whole life policy is owned by the community spouse. Upon death of the institutionalized spouse, the beneficiary of both policies is the CS.

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Houseplant - NH medicaid for an individual although with oodles of paperwork is pretty straightforward......they gotta be impoverished.

But for CS situations it's a lot more complex & really IMHO is not ever a DIY project that needs a good NAELA level atty to be able to provide options to maximize the CS situations that work for however Medicaid compliance is done in your state. Little things like having 2 cars -which most couples do - is a disqualifier for Medicaid....it's stuff like this that makes you loco with an application. Plus your focus is on the day to day care & interaction with your at- need spouse. You need good legal to work with you to maximize your situation. Good luck!
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I think my spouse needs to get GA Medicaid qualified. Medicaid questions the life policies, but no definitive answer. Both are relatively small policies but definitely above the limits. Initial application, denial, reapplication and probably appeal forces cs to use assets that are supposed to be protected. If life policies are eliminated the cs is essentially denied spousal protections that are within the asset limits. It's good to know a life estate is not an option in GA. 2 neighbors have the life estates arrangement. One family arrangement has been many years, the other less than 8 years. Are both families in for a big surprise?
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Georgia allows the CS (community spouse) $119,220 in assets and a monthly allowance of $2980. Most spouses can get by on that. Bear in mind that MERP will not attempt to move the CS out of their home. That home is hands off until the CS dies. Do NOT put the home in a "life estate" because Georgia no longer exempts life estates. They will go after assets even if they are not part of the probate process. This could affect the term policy owned by the patient, but not any policy owned by the CS. For example, my sister is on Medicaid/SSDI. She has life insurance, with a cash value around 3K, but my father put me as the owner and beneficiary, so it does not affect my sister's benefits.
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Life insurance is paid to whomever is denoted to be the beneficiary; could be their spouse, their grandkids or could be their estate. The owner of the policy can change the beneficary is they want to btw. Upon the owners death, beneficiary files for it with the insurance comany & will need to provide an original death certificate. Some companies - John Hancock - have an on-line portal to do these. Some companies will only do payout as a direct deposit to a bank account, so the beneficiary will need to provide a cancelled check from their bank account for the policy proceeds to go into.

Is your spouse on Medicaid? Or will be needing to apply for Medicaid in the future? If so, a whole life owned by Medicaid recipient will be an issue. Insurance that builds up a cash value (reserve) - which whole life ones do - will need to be cashed out with the $ used a part of their spend down. I don't know if the cash value of a whole owned by a CS is used in the asset limit allowed for a CS (about 114k in most states), thats an elder law question.
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