All attorneys will agree with me that if there’s one thing we wish our clients would do it would be to talk to us before they act. It’s much better for the client, and less expensive in the long run, to have your attorney review that lease or contract before you sign it than to be surprised later.
We find this to be painfully true at times for our Medi-Cal planning clients. Many times, when we meet with a new client for the first time we discover that they have been paying for care, whether in-home, assisted living or nursing home, with that I will call the “wrong” assets. By this I mean assets that do not make them ineligible for Medi-Cal.
When planning for Medi-Cal eligibility, certain assets are considered exempt – we are allowed to own these assets and still qualify for Medi-Cal. Your home is an exempt asset. For that reason, using a home equity line of credit or a reverse mortgage to pay for nursing home care is usually not a good idea. The same is true for IRAs. We are allowed to own our IRAs and still qualify for nursing home expense assistance from Medi-Cal.
The best thing you can do when it starts to look like you or your spouse will need to start paying for assistance is make an appointment with an attorney who specializes in Medi-Cal planning and come up with a plan.