Nursing Home Medicaid for Married Couples – Estate Planning

Most of our married clients come to our office with existing estate planning documents. They have Wills, Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives for Health Care that name the spouse as a beneficiary or responsible party. When a couple is dealing with the unfortunate situation of having one spouse in the nursing home and one at home, these documents have to be updated. The nursing home spouse must be removed from all possible roles as beneficiary or agent; and a replacement must be named. It is unlikely that a nursing home resident can fulfill the role of financial or health care agent-a new agent must be named. Since inheriting any assets (even those from the well spouse) could jeopardize the nursing home resident’s public benefits (e.g., Medicaid), new beneficiaries should be named, too. In addition to the will, beneficiary designations on IRAs, life insurance, annuities and the like must be updated to ensure the nursing home spouse will not inherit any assets from the well spouse. For a full review of your estate plan, please call our office to set up an initial consultation with our attorneys at (404) 843-0121.

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