As your parents age, their ability to take care of themselves will inevitably deteriorate over time. The changes may seem drastic, especially if you don’t see them often. How can you help them make their savings last and get the care they need where they want it – in their own home? A good plan with the help of an estate planning and elder law attorney can make all the difference.
Does this sound familiar?
There’s no place like home for the holidays. But now that the dishes are put away after the annual Thanksgiving feast, you begin to notice that Mom and Dad’s house is a little more chaotic than you remember.
You check in on them often by phone, but living several hours away from their home in Connecticut you don’t have much time for visits, except around the holidays.
Now, it’s pretty obvious that things are going downhill. Dad’s fine. Mom – the rock of the family – says she’s fine, too, but she has had a few falls recently and is having trouble getting things done around the house. Her personal care is noticeably lacking, a big change for someone who always took pride in their appearance. It’s clear to you that they could use some help, so you decide to speak up.
At first, they deny that anything is wrong and accuse you of exaggerating. When you push a little harder, they admit that things are getting more difficult and finally, they tearfully confess that their biggest fear is that Mom will end up in a nursing home. You would hate to see that happen, too. You’ve heard that there may be alternatives, and promise to do everything you can to help Mom stay home.
Fortunately, there is time to plan. Here’s their situation:
- They have some savings
- They paid off the mortgage on the family home years ago
You may be wondering if there are ways to both provide for Mom’s care – and eventually Dad’s – and protect their assets. The good news is there are solutions.
Some key things you should know
- The Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, a program that supports home and community-based services.
- Medicaid allows a healthy spouse, Dad in this case, to protect 50% of the couple’s joint assets, up to $117,240 in 2014.
- There are no restrictions on asset transfers from one spouse to another.
- Their home, which they own jointly, can be quitclaimed to Dad, or transferred to you or your siblings. This protects it from recovery from Mom’s estate, or if she needed to enter a nursing home.
Many of the regulations related to asset protection are complex, and your best bet is to consult with a Connecticut Elder Law Attorney as Medicaid rules vary by state. You don’t want to discover the hard way that you overlooked critical aspects of planning thereby jeopardizing your chances for Medicaid eligibility.
A new plan in the New Year can help to preserve your parents’ savings so they can get the care they need. It will also protect their quality of life and give you peace of mind. For the holidays – or any day – you can’t beat home sweet home.