My husband needs to be into a nursing facility but worried how this affects me financially?

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He has no 401, I have $400 in 401K, I am only 45. Our house is paid off. All cars are in my name. Can they go after my 401K. , he is currently receiving SS benefits & Medicare Part A, joint bank account $100K

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Clare, considering your age I think you'd be wise to seek help from an elder law attorney. There are safety nets in place for you to keep your home, but they were set up more for very elderly people. You are still young so you need expert help. My heart goes out to you for having to go through this at your age.

We'd love to hear how you are doing when you have time to check back.
Carol
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May I suggest you pick up a copy of my book, "How to Protect Your Family's Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets"? You need a good understanding of the very complex rules covering Medicaid for nursing home residents. For example, for married couples, how something is titled makes no difference, it will all be counted in determining eligibility. However, the at-home spouse can protect $119,220 of countable assets (home, car, personal property is all non-countable; retirement plan assets (401(k), etc.) may or may not be countable, depending your state's rule). Good luck!
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Sounds familiar to me..I live in North Carolina...States have differing rules.
You need competent advice from a WELL RECOMMENDED elder care lawyer. (some are not all that up-to-date, etc.) Cutting to the chase: We had well over a half million, house and multiple vehicles...Paid through the nose for private care in a nursing home for a long time. Sold off 401 Ks (half in late 08 and half in early 09 and paid enormous taxes on them. Hired a terrific elder care atty (Chairman of NC Bar Assn elder care section), paid $7000 to guide us through the maze of paperwork, apply for Medicaid, prepare more than 20 legal documents and so on... (We had 20+ trustees for CDs, investments, etc.) in 08 and 09 transferred all but $2000 of wife's assets into my name (no taxable consequences). Set up getting a Medicaid Compliant annuity for me enabling me to receive non taxable payments of $60K total over six month in exchange for $1000 commission (Dale Krause associates. You can google). I kept the maximum "countable assets" of $109,000 (including the second vehicle - only get to keep one in NC as non countable). (Max $109,000 is now about $120,000) Kept house at least until we are both passed away...Kept all of my own income: SocSec, company pension, two annuities, plus the six month payout of $60,000 mentioned above. When the smoke cleared I had about $170,000 after I had received the $60,000 in annuity payments, plus the car and house. Wife's Social Security income goes to the nursing home very month..Medicaid pays the rest.

Two terms are among the many things to know about applying for Medicaid:
spend down and snapshot of assets. I will not try to explain...An elder care atty can do that...Also your county social services can explain that....When talking to the county people, I suggest you do not disclose precise numbers...say something like "we have joint assets in excess of $240,000" (hint as to why:
the community spouse (that is you...still in the community) gets to keep half of countable assets up to about $120,000. You do not need to apply for Medicaid when you visit your county Social Services...Who you talk with is the luck of the draw..Some are very knowledgeable and some (in my case) know less.

If you give money away that will be counted for five years prior to the day your husband is awarded Medicaid. There is no avoiding this. The gubmint will find out anything done here...In other words, no Medicaid payment is made until you pay for private nursing home care in the amount of gifted money. caveats...States have differing rules...I am providing the foregoing facts as information as I know it, and not advice..

Grace + Peace,
Bob
PS...Spend down can include fixing up the house buying a nice car, buying furniture and so on....Remodeling etc...
PPS...if you sell vehicles to, say, relatives, you must do so at full appraised value, not at a big discount...
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Dear Clare, you need to get yoursel to a certified Eldercate attorney. It sounds as though you will need to apply for Medicaid for him. No idea about your funds being used for nh payment in your state. Please let us know how things are going!
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I'd like someone to explain to me why people post answers when they clearly are only hypothesizing and not experienced in the subject. There is a five year look back for Medicaid and, you can't get around the rule by taking names off assets before you apply! The poster has special circumstances due to their age and, she needs to consult an elder care lawyer BEFORE she ever contacts the Medicaid office.
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Be aware, depending upon your state regs, that spouses' assets are counted as one, when applying for Medicaid..If an account is in the name of one spouse or the other, it is "pooled" so to speak as "their joint asset" when applying for Medicaid. Ditto for house...Dower rights prevail...

Silver lining: We lost a bundle and then some in our spend down but now spend $700+ of my wife's SS (her only income) to pay for her share of nursing home and MEdicaid picks up all else....No one wants to lose their savings, but at $9500 a month for private care in rest homes here. giving up just SS and spending down to a reasonably generous amount is a bargain as I see it..

Grace + Peace,

Bob
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Dear Clare C, I am going through this right now with my husband who has frontal temporal dementia who will be 61 this yr. I have talked to an Eldercare attorney and got all the trust papers, living will, etc done pretty close after his diagnosis when he did understand what was going on yet. I talked to a Medicaid attorney too and along with the Eldercare attorney it was suggested that we get a divorce. That way the assets would be 50-50 or 60-40 in IL here. After doing much research, crying, talking to several attorneys, etc I have decided to keep him at home with the home care that he has now, and hopefully until the end with hospice. TO pay for it all I will have to get into his 401K, ROTH, etc. It will be better for him to be here I feel and cheaper VS going to a nursing home. IF we stay married they will use up his money and go after mine as well. If I get the divorce and go to medicaid when no money of his is left I will still have some money atleast. I am 62 and who can live on the little they allow (forgot but $160,000 or so in IL), a car and house. The 5yr rule is what I was told too on Medicaid. He has a caregiver when I am at work now. There is not a lot of protection for us younger spouses in this situation. I do not know if anything legal can be done to protect us younger spouses in the laws, like letting us keep more money. Now as he becomes bed bound, won't eat, etc I may change my mind on a nursing home but I am a RN so know what is ahead of me health wise. I have not found a financial planner who will tell me what to do with our money, to protect me, maybe they only can make suggestions. (Only wanting you to invest in what they have in their company) A trust will not protect your money either. God be with you.
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There are some things that I would do before putting him into a facility. Here are a few tricks up my sleeve that I personally would do:

What I would do in your case with the joint bank account is one of you can move to a separate bank account and put that person's money into the new account. I would do this here and now before he goes into a facility and they go after the joint account. You really wouldn't want them cleaning out that account and taking you to the cleaners.

If you work, you may start looking for a better paying job to make up for any lost income because his income will definitely go to the nursing home to help pay for his care.

If you don't work, get a job! This is going to be vital in keeping you in your home and food on the table.

As for the assets being in your name alone, I don't think you have anything to worry about there as long as they're not in his name or under joint ownership. As long as nothing is in his name, they can't go after what he doesn't own. However, what you may do is to sell what you don't need and use that money to support yourself only after he goes into a facility because you're going to need the money. If you currently have more than one car, you can only drive one at a time, you don't need a fleet if you'll be the only one left living there in the home. I don't know if the home is just in your name alone, but what you may want to do is check the deed to make sure to have only your name on the home. If this home is owned jointly, you may consider removing his name from it if he's going into a facility but I would do this sometime before he actually goes. In fact, I personally would have done this much earlier on if I saw he was eventually going to need a facility. As mentioned here, an eldercare lawyer will definitely be very helpful to you during this time. Most importantly though I would break up the joint bank account by removing either you or him and definitely move to a separate account with that person's money being separate from yours. Whoever moves to the new account takes their money with them so the nursing home can't go after all of the money and leave you high and dry with nothing. In other words, having a separate bank account means they can't take you to the cleaners because nursing homes in general are very greedy. Don't risk being taken to the cleaners, they don't care about you or your needs, they only care about money, and then I'll go after anything and everything they can get no matter who they hurt in the process or what they need to survive. Yes, nursing homes are scrupulous for leaving families broke in their time of need when they must put a loved one in a facility. Don't be a victim!
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I went to 2 elder lawyers and neither helped me! One made me cry and just barked things I must do. First he said, "Sell your husband's car." OK . Well I did.
I walked out crying and never went back.

The second law firm I used called me. They wanted to continue to help me. I had already given them $1000 for nothing! I said, " You will charge me more money. Right?" The answer was , "well, yes."

Good luck and get good referrals to lawyers. I thought I did that. Both lawyers I saw were very well known in this area. The second one "wrote the book" and taught elder law in this area. But he gave my case to someone who was not a lawyer! And did not follow up to see if things were going well. I was too disoriented to complain!

The second elder lawyer I could probably sue but I am not that kind of person. He had me use a person in his firm. After a year really nothing had been done. I know law things take time but... I found out later she "had family problems." So I got stuck.

eventually I found an excellent lawyer who spent 2 hours explaining things to me. But... since I plan on moving to a different state, she could not continue to help me. She had a big whiteboard and made diagrams so I could understand!

I still have not found a good lawyer ( NY near Buffalo, NY). I have not moved yet. But I do plan to move as soon as this CT condo is sold.

christine
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Your House and one Car will not count in choosing Medicaid You are allowed $120,000 in other assets. Your income should be safe. Consult an Elder Care Attorney to guide you through the process. You need to get you and your husband a Health Care Directive and other Documents.
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