Asset Planning For Nursing Home Admissions
October 2, 2013

Harrisburg Asset Planning Lawyer Discusses Planning for Nursing Home Admissions


As most of us grow older and arrange care for our parents we often anticipate the need for long term care ourselves.  As such, it is important to know some basic concepts in paying for nursing care.

Nursing home care is expensive.  Currently in Pennsylvania, the cost of skilled nursing care ranges from approximately $7,000.00 to $11,000.00 per month.   Most nursing home admissions involve a stay of at least twenty-four (24) months, therefore, life savings can quickly be depleted with this type of continuing expense.

For this reason, it is important to consult an attorney to see what steps can be taken to maintain your assets or the assets of a loved one when nursing care is required.  Additionally, it may be prudent to investigate the purchase of long term care insurance before the need arises.  This post, however, generally addresses the funding of nursing care and the preservation of assets.

Paying for a Nursing Home

Most people understand that when they enter a nursing home they will be responsible to pay the monthly bills.  Generally, this is true, yet, what happens when the money begins to run out?  In most situations where only one spouse of the married couple is admitted to the nursing home, the spouse that remains in the home (“the community spouse”), has options to maintain a certain lifestyle and to retain certain assets.

For instance, the primary residence can be maintained by the “community spouse.” This asset then is not available for nursing home expenses.  The law may limit this exclusion, so it is important to consult with an attorney on the latest applicable rules.  Likewise, the community spouse can keep and maintain her own vehicle.  This is important, because our society greatly relies on personal automobiles for its transportation needs.  Again, consult an attorney on the specifics of these rules.

Other “liquid” assets can also be maintained, so that the community spouse is not left destitute.  These guidelines change on an annual basis, so it is important to consult an attorney to make sure that you make appropriate planning decisions.

Finally, certain transfers made by the nursing home patient and the community spouse are permissible under the law.  If assets were transferred to children more than five years before the parent is admitted into a nursing home, these transfers are protected from paying for the cost of nursing care.  Likewise, even on the eve of admissions, certain transfers are permitted to set up qualified Medicaid annuities.

Contact Us for Help

The concepts I have discussed can be very complicated and far beyond the scope of this post, so anyone contemplating admission to a nursing home for themselves or their loved ones should consult with a qualified attorney to discuss these and other related issues. Please feel free to contact our Harrisburg Asset Planning Attorneys at 717-724-9821 for more information.

Copyright DZMM, October 2, 2013.

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