10. How can I protect my house if I have to go to a nursing home?

To protect your house or other assets in the event that you have to go to a nursing home, you need to plan well in advance of any potential need so that you can qualify for benefits from MassHealth (the state implementation of the federal Medicaid program) without first having to sell all of your assets and spend the proceeds on your care.

Long-term care in a nursing home is not covered by regular health insurance or Medicare.  You will qualify for MassHealth (which pays for institutional care only, not home care) only when your assets are almost entirely depleted, and MassHealth will assert a claim against your home and (later) your estate for reimbursement of the benefits it pays out on your behalf.  But a plan that is made well before any long-term care need arises may allow you to qualify for MassHealth benefits while still being able to pass some assets to your children and grandchildren.  For example, by transferring your assets (such as your home) to a properly-drafted trust, then waiting at least five years before applying for MassHealth benefits, the value of those assets will be insulated from MassHealth’s consideration for both the initial eligibility determination and a later reimbursement claim.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT AN ESTATE PLAN?

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“Steve is fabulous with his knowledge and awareness. He answered my questions, was very thorough, and followed through on everything he said he would follow through on. A lot of my case dealt with another state and he admitted that he would have to get familiar with the out-of-state guidelines for my situation and was willing to do so. It was so wonderful to work with someone who really knew what they were doing.”

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Sandy S. - Estate Settlement Client