Your home can carry a lot of sentimental value. It can be the place where you began your married life…where your children took their first steps…the dream home you worked so hard to achieve…a house that has been in your family for generations. It’s only natural to want to keep your home in your family even if you need to move into a nursing home or an assisted living facility.
Nursing home care is often paid for out-of-pocket by individuals. If this is the case, there is no problem with keeping your home while you are living away. The issue becomes muddled, however, when a person can no longer afford to pay for nursing home coverage without government assistance.
The question is: Can the state make you sell your home if you require Medicaid to help pay for the costs of the nursing home?
The short answer is No. Sort of. The state cannot force you to sell your home in these situations. But this is really not a cut-and-dried situation. The answer depends on a number of factors and will even change depending on the state in which you reside. Here are some of the circumstances that surround the issue of Medicaid and nursing home care in Colorado:
- If you are single and own a home, you can still apply for Medicaid to help pay for nursing home care without the state seizing your property to cover costs. However, the state will be able to put a lien against your home to cover the amount that Medicaid pays for the cost of your nursing home care over your lifetime. This is referred to as estate recovery. Depending on the lien amount, your family may have to sell the home to cover these costs unless you can come up with the money in other ways.
- If you transfer ownership of your home to family members 5 years or less before moving into nursing home care, your Medicaid coverage for nursing home care may be delayed.
These 2 circumstances may change (meaning there could be no Medicaid penalties if you transfer your home to another person) if:
- You have an adult child that has lived in the home for at least 2 years who cared for you so you did not have to move into a nursing home earlier
- You have a minor child or a disabled child living in the home
- You have a sibling who had ownership interest of your home longer than 5 years before you moved into nursing home care and that person has lived in the home for 1 year
- You transfer your home to your spouse
- The house is in an irrevocable trust
If you anticipate that moving into a nursing home is in your future and you want to protect your home, consult a Denver estate planning lawyer to make sure you fully understand what penalties may occur if you should transfer ownership to other family members in the wrong timeframe.
The Denver will and trust lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC, (formerly The Brown Law Firm, LLC) can help you create the right documents and make the right moves to protect your home – even if you are unable to reside there. To learn more, please contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online.