Who Can and Cannot Participate in the Nursing Home Planning Process?


Planning for your future care protects you and your family. Moving into a nursing home can be an emotional process, as well as raise several legal issues. The laws and rules applicable to nursing home planning are complex and they change frequently. In order to ensure that your nursing home plan complies with current laws regarding Medicaid and protects your assets and meets your goals, you need an experienced nursing home planning attorney.

Whether you involve your children in your nursing home planning process will depend on your unique situation. In some situations, you may need to discuss your plans with your children in order to ensure that any transfers you intend to make as part of the nursing home process will not have negative consequences for your children. You also want to ensure that any transfer you make will not be subject to a child’s divorce or bankruptcy action. Further, you want to make sure that if you make a gift to a child and then they die that the gifted item will not pass through that child’s estate. A nursing home planning attorney with extensive experience with Medicaid planning is often the best choice for developing a strategy that meets all of your needs and goals.

Before you bring your children or others into the nursing home planning process, you should meet with your attorney to discuss options and goals. Once you understand your options, you may then want to include your children or others in the process. There is not a right or wrong answer concerning whether to include children or others in the nursing home planning process — it depends on you and your family. Most folks do include their children in the process, but some do it differently than others, and a few senior citizens prefer to keep their family as much removed from the process as possible. However, if you do not include your loved ones in the process, you should make sure they know your wishes in the event that you become incapacitated and you are unable to voice your wishes.

Steps in the Nursing Home Planning Process

The nursing home planning process may be slightly different depending on your situation and your needs. Planning for your future care is one of the most important steps you can take; therefore, you should seek the advice and counsel of experienced estate planning attorneys. As part of the nursing home planning process, our attorneys will guide you and provide support in each of the following steps.

Research Nursing Home Options

Because Medicaid and private long-term care insurance may only pay for care in certain facilities, you should research your options as you create your nursing home plan. Some nursing homes have separate facilities for residents who only require minimal assistance in addition to full-care facilities. If you think you may want to live in a nursing home with various levels of care, you need to research the cost and determine whether Medicaid and/or insurance will pay for each level of care.

Income and Asset Review

In order to qualify for Medicaid, you must meet certain financial requirements. Medicaid planning is complex due to the complicated rules regarding transfers and gifts. You need to provide your attorney with all of your income and asset information so that the attorney can analyze your financial situation to recommend a nursing home plan that is in your best interest.

Consider All Options

You have several options for paying for your nursing home care. You need to discuss these options with your attorney to determine the best option or combination of options for you. Some nursing homes only accept certain forms of payment; therefore, you must consider this too.

Discuss Your Plans with Family Members

If you have not included your children or other family members in the nursing home planning process, you need to have a candid discussion regarding your plans. These types of discussions are difficult; however, addressing the issues now will avoid problems in the future.

Nursing Home Planning Attorneys

The Elder Law attorneys of Lovett & Lovett want to assist you in planning for your future care. Contact our office to schedule a consultation.