can't pay for nursing home care costs - elderly women getting out of bed

What Happens to Your Assets if You Can’t Pay for Nursing Home Care Costs

A nursing home is a facility that offers a step up in care from an assisted living facility. Both are on the continuum of long-term care. However, in a nursing home, elderly or disabled residents are provided with accommodations and personal care services, as well as around-the-clock medical care. As Elder Care Lawyers in Gilbert, AZ, we are passionate about helping families get their estates in order so that long-term care needs can be adequately met. But what happens to your assets if you can’t pay for nursing home care costs? 

The High Cost of Long-Term Care

Studies show that 70% of Americans age 65 and older will need long-term care services and support at some point in their life. In Phoenix Arizona and surrounding areas, the annual cost of nursing home care during 2017 was $6,494 per month for a semi-private room and $8,389 per month for your own room. That’s $78,000 to $100,000 per year! 

Some may be under the assumption that Medicare will cover the costs of a nursing home, should you or your spouse need that care. But the unfortunate truth is, Medicare’s provision for costs is usually far from adequate. And without a proper long-term care plan in place, the lack of available services and the staggering price tag may leave you and your family with few alternatives. 

What Happens to Assets if You Fail to Plan? 

If you or a loved one can no longer cover the costs of a stay at a nursing home, it’s unlikely that a nursing home could come after your assets, at least not in your lifetime. However, under the policies of many nursing homes, they would be within their right to evict you. 

If you are under the threat of eviction due to the lack of financial resources, there is a federal law that entitles you to the right to file a hardship waiver with your state’s Department of Health and Human Services. In the waiver, you must document how the move would endanger your health or your access to shelter and food.

Protect Assets with an Estate Plan and a Long-Term Care Plan

The average estate plan is set up to protect your financial assets and delineate how your assets will be handled after your death, or in the event that you become incapacitated

In preparing a long-term care plan, you’ll legally establish ways to protect your financial assets, should you or a loved one need to enter a nursing home or some other type of long-term care facility. Your estate plan and a vital long-term care plan should always go hand in hand, if you want to keep your assets from being consumed by unexpected health care costs as you age. 

There are a variety of ways to protect assets such as a home, cars, stocks, 401Ks, etc. Here are some possible options we can discuss with you: a Medicaid spend-down of your assets, creation of an irrevocable trust(s), gifts, life estates, and more. 

Your Elder Care Attorneys in Gilbert

At Phelps LaClair we have elder care attorneys who are experienced in counseling clients on how to overcome the challenges of long-term care planning, so you and your family are ready when the time comes. If you are worried that you won’t be able to pay for future nursing home care costs, we’re here to help you! 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to long-term care planning, so we will explore all the options with you, whether it be planning with special types of Irrevocable Trusts that protect assets from long-term care costs, helping you qualify for Medicaid or Veterans benefits, long-term care insurance, or wealth replacement strategies. We’re ready to work with you to help protect your assets and your legacy. 


Image by rawpixel from Pixabay (7/12/2019)

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