How the nursing home spend-down program affects you and your family
Your federal government has mandated (as of june 30, 2006) that before you qualify for nursing home care, you must spend-down all of your assets. These restrictive new rules are designed to impoverish the healthy spouse. They have mandated a 5 year look-back, that means you better have done something to protect your assets 5 years before you become sick.
Without careful attention your accumulated wealth can disappear before your very eyes, because you were unlucky in your health. If either you or your spouse get sick, before you can ask for any government assistance, you must spend all of your accumulated wealth, leaving your healthy spouse without any resources to keep on living the lifestyle you and your spouse are normally accustomed to.
Good health, although very important and a blessing, cannot be relied upon as we all know no one can predict the future. But you can do something about this now to ensure that your wealth is limited to how much the government can expect from you.
There is a method to insulate your assets from the nursing home mandated spend-down. So what is this secret, you ask? Simple. It’s called an irrevocable trust.
So what is an irrevocable trust? An irrevocable trust can reposition your assets to allow you control and limit the amount that can be demanded of the nursing home spend-down mandate to reduce your hard-earned wealth. Assets that qualify for repositioning are your primary residence, your vacation spot, your cds, your stocks, bonds, and other investments.
By repositioning your assets (transferring your assets) to an irrevocable trust you legally no longer own the assets, therefore no one can demand or sue you for those assets. Even more important, if you no longer own your assets you dont qualify for the expensive probate process and you do not have to pay estate taxes.
Moreover, if you have a will, your will wont protect your assets from the nursing home spend-down, it will not avoid probate and it will not avoid taxes on your estate. So, in essence, an irrevocable trust is ideal in many instances.
A solid, personally developed and well-planned irrevocable trust by a team of competent professionals such as accountants, lawyers and financial planners can avoid these more than mere unpleasant events. It can literally save you and your family’s fortunes and life-savings.