Can The State Take My House?


When your spouse is hospitalized, your world turns upside down. Then comes the transfer to a rehab or skilled nursing facility, and the Medicare days start to dwindle. Suddenly, you’re met with the reality that your spouse may not be discharged home.

Now come the questions: “Who pays?” “What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?” “What is a spend-down?” “What will happen to me?”

Many of you may have heard horror stories from friends, family members and online about being forced to sell your home to pay the nursing home. Now’s the time to seek out a trustworthy source.

The process of qualifying for medical assistance, or Medicaid, and how to plan in advance of a crisis starts with admission to a nursing home.

Upon admission into a nursing home, a determination is made regarding the patient’s level of care. If the patient meets a nursing home level of care, then the next step is to determine financial eligibility.

The non-institutionalized spouse has certain rights and protections. We call him or her the community spouse. A community spouse living in the home can keep a certain amount of assets, all of her income and, most importantly, the house cannot be subject to a Medicaid lien.

Some people are represented in a Medicaid spend-down, where the joint assets of the married couple are utilized to pay off debt or a mortgage, upgrade the home, purchase a prepaid funeral plan and more. The community spouse could also set up a Medicaid-qualified annuity to create an income stream. Giving the community spouse peace of mind under these circumstances can make all the difference.

In the event of a diagnosis or change in care level, explore your options for protecting your home and other assets. There is a five-year look back for transfer of assets to qualify for Medicaid from the date of admission into a nursing home. Don’t wait to become the next horror story your friends and family hear. Plan with irrevocable trusts, deeds and other asset protection strategies now.

Prepare for a nursing home admission and protect your home. For more information, visit


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