In my area, memory care facilities start at 10K a month. I can no longer care for him on my own. I don't qualify for Medicaid and won't for a while. It seems my husband might live another 4 years which will wipe out my 401K and then I will need to go into my mortgage-free home that is worth about 500K. I know I will pay some large taxes if I take from my 401K and I already pay each year as it is. I am very healthy and expect to live for many more years and need money for myself. When my husband does pass I will get about 150K in life insurance. I visited an eldercare attorney and he was focused on when/if I need to go on Medicaid, but I am a long way away from that because of my assets. They won't last long if my husband lives for more then 5 years.

You didn’t get very good advice from the elder care attorney you consulted. There are legal ways to divide your assets to protect your financial future. I hope you’ll try again and get a referral for a better attorney. Have you considered downsizing to a smaller home for the time when it’s just you? Just a thought
Helpful Answer (20)
Reply to Daughterof1930

You should see an attorney.
I have known people to legally divorce to avoid ending up penniless.
You could also possibly legally separate.
In any case I would consider a division of assets so as to preserve your one half of your assets in the marriage for your own needs in future.
Your husband will then have his one half of the assets and he will enter care, spending them down until her has no assets and has to go on Medicaid.

This is quite honestly what I would consider. There is no reason that anyone even be told that this legal divorce has been done.
I had a CPA who had to divorce his wife who was comatose and in a vegetative state for many years before she died. He had two young children at the time of the accident that left his young wife in this condition. He had to have care hired for them. He could either give away all his assets to care homes or he could do as he did with a divorce and division of assets so as to care for his children.

Do see an attorney for your options. I see no way otherwise to preserve your combined marital assets other than about 100,000 which would take care of your future needs for about one year.

This is a time when you need expert advice, not the opinions of a bunch of folks on a Forum. I am so sorry this choice is now your to make. I wish you the best.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

Every state has community spouse protection unlike yrs ago. Your house and one car are totally protected. Your monies are split in half. Once his is spent. Then he alone qualifies for medicaid. In Nevada for this yr a spouse is allowed $155,000 in cash. If over that amount u have to spend down to $155,000. The house and one car are never touched regardless of worth. I'm going thru the same thing. Good luck.
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Reply to Cruiseforever
OliveBalla Jun 25, 2024
I am going through this as well and found your response especially comforting! Thank you for posting.
I agree you did not get good advice. You can split your marital assets. You maybe able to protect your 401K. From what I understand there is a form you can sign with Medicaid that says you will not support your husband. Once assets are split DH spends his split and when almost gone, you apply for Medicaid. Once on Medicaid, you remain in the home, have a car and enough of your monthly income to live on.

If that insurance policy was purchased by u or husband and has cash in value, Medicaid will require it to be cashed in. If its an employer policy it does not havevto be cashed in. There are some retirement funds that are protected. See an Elder Lawyer well versed in Medicaid.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I agree that you did not get the best advice from the Elder Care Attorney you saw.
And I also agree that seeing an Attorney is a good idea. There are many options there are Trusts you can look into, divorce is also an option.
Also look into other ways that might take the burden from you.

If he is a Veteran there may be some help there from programs that will provide some caregiving help as well as sending you supplies you need.
If he is a Veteran you can also get paid for caregiving.
Depending on other medical conditions where and when he served might make a BIG difference in benefits he may be eligible for. Contact your local Veterans Assistance Commission.

Check your local Senior Service Center or Area Agency on Aging and see if he qualifies for any programs they may have.

Also...because it is me responding..Check to see if he may qualify for Hospice. You would get a lot of help and all the supplies and equipment that you need.

You can also hire caregivers. this takes a great burden from you. You can go through an agency or hire privately. the 2 BEST caregivers I hired had recently gone through the CNA Certification course at the local Community College.
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Reply to Grandma1954

See if you can keep him at home with extra hired help. Call for hospice evaluation. Its much cheaper then a nursing home. They are not just for end of life. Hospice is paid by Medicare.

i have a hospice nurse 1x per wk to check vitals and she or other nurses are always on call…day or night. I have a CNA (cert. nurse asst) come 6x per wk for bathing and linen chg. I have hired 3 part time caregivers. One is 3 1/2 hrs per wk; one is 4 hrs per wk and the other is 3 hrs per wk. I do the rest of care for my husband with Alzheimer’s. currently I’m spending a little over $12k per yr on caregiving help. Much better than $10kper month! I do live in a rural area so you’d need to check,your prices but I bet you’d still do better with home care. Hospice social worker had word of mouth recommendations on independent caregivers, because the companies (Care@Home, Right@Home Visiting Angels etc) were a little more expensive.

Hospice supplied a hospital bed, all the diapers he needs and we even had a Hoyer lift and wheelchair, although we gave them back to hospice since my husband is totally bed ridden now and unable to even sit up in a wheelchair.

Hospice also provides a social worker and chaplain. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging (Google them). They will have hospice come and evaluate to see if your husband qualifies.

And if one or both of you served in the military, there are VA benefits available that you qualify for.

Remember you will need to do some the care yourself if you are able…hiring full time care would be just as costly as a nursing home. But with hospice paid for by Medicare it’s doable.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Donttestme

See if you can find another attorney preferably that has CELA certification. Go to Also you said"my house" If the title is only in your name then that is a game changer
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Reply to MACinCT

See a elder care lawyer! There are ways to save money for yourself and get care for him..
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Reply to Sadinroanokeva

As a senior care advisor, my first question is did you or your husband serve in the military? If so, look into the va aid and attendance. From the information you will most likely have too much in assets to qualify for any assistance. Depending on interest rates it maybe smart to take out a small home equity loan if the interest would be less then the early withdrawal fees from your 401k. I would need to know more about your financial situation in possibly cashing out some other investments such as stocks or bonds or having them transferred into a account that directly pays his monthly bill. This is something you would need to discuss with your accountant to see if there would be a penalty free way of paying for medical care. Good luck and best wishes.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Steve1213

Wow. You have done a lot of homework. That’s impressive. Unfortunately, the numbers are not in your favor. Glad to hear you consulted with an eldercare attorney, but I’d recommend to get a second or even third opinion from different eldercare attorneys. Make sure to look for certified eldercare attorneys. Not all eldercare attorneys are certified or well-versed in this area. It will be expensive but you will get answers from three sources. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Worriedspouse

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