How to Be Eligible for Nursing Home Assistance if You Have Assets

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Contrary to what you might think, a senior nursing home can be an active and healthy environment where senior citizens can thrive. If you’re a senior citizen or are caring for a senior citizen, you might have questions about senior eligibility for nursing home assistance. Unfortunately, rumors and fallacies often prevent seniors from getting the most accurate information possible when it comes to senior eligibility for nursing home assistance. One of the most common false rumors spread about nursing homes is about protecting senior assets - the property and wealth that a senior citizen has amassed over his or her life.


The fact of the matter is that seniors are allowed to maintain many of their assets while still being eligible for senior nursing home assistance. In determining how much asset wealth a senior has, both single seniors and couples alike are generally allowed certain property exemptions that are not considered part of the senior’s asset wealth. Some examples of exemptions include a vehicle, personal effects, home furnishings, prepaid end of life services, interests in land that expire on death, and property relating to business or trade essential to self-support.


There are, however, limits. Some exempted assets don’t count against the senior’s asset wealth but only up to a certain amount, with anything exceeding the preapproved limit counted as part of asset wealth. Fortunately, a legal tactic exists for anyone who wants to maintain senior eligibility for nursing home assistance while also maintaining their wealth - and that tactic is the trust.


Trusts are fiduciary agreements that allow a third party “trustee” to hold and maintain assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. The senior has several trust options available, but it’s important to understand the benefits and limitations that each type of trust may carry. One type of trust is a testamentary trust, which is created in the will of a decedent to protect the assets for the surviving spouse. Control of the trust and financial control of assets rests completely with the appointed trustee, which reduces the risk that the surviving spouse will mismanage the funds or fall victim to a financial scam. Another type of trust is an irrevocable trust, which specifically protects seniors from the need to dispose of assets in order to qualify for nursing home care. The irrevocable trust provides income for the senior or the senior’s spouse, and even protects certain assets from seizure by debt collectors.


The testamentary trust and irrevocable trust are two popular trust options, but every case is different, which is why it’s so important for seniors to get the help of a professional trained and experienced in trusts and protecting senior assets.


One common concern among senior citizens considering moving their property into a trust is that they won’t be able to enjoy it. This is hardly the case. A car might be in a trust for a senior citizen, but the senior citizen can still drive the car. A home might be in a trust, but the senior can still live in the home. Putting property in a trust doesn’t take the property away, it simply transfers the right to make decisions about the disposition of the asset. Unless there’s justifiable financial gain for the trust - and therefore the senior beneficiary - a trust is not likely to start selling personal property.

Thank you for visiting Advise & Protect Senior Care Consultants and joining in our discussion on Eligible for Nursing Home .  Should you have the need for senior legal assistance, please know that we pride ourselves in keeping a database of the most qualified, experienced and compassionate service providers for senior real estate, moving, senior care managers, etc.  Meanwhile, please remember that we offer many services FREE of charge so, should you have any questions, we encourage you to give us a call at 646-820-9202 and speak with one of our Senior Care Consultants. They will be able to answer any questions you might have to begin the process of providing whatever assistance you might need.