After a brief holiday break, we are back to the 8 Nights of Medicaid Planning. Last time, we talked about quality of care. Today’s topic is family financial responsibility for long term care and final expenses. There is a common belief out there that if an individual cannot pay for their long term care, that their family will have to foot the bill. This is a common reason that individuals who this that they will need long term care want to spend their own money. This cannot be farther from the truth. First off, children are NEVER legally obligated to pay for their parent’s care. The only time that a child would be on the hook for parental care is if they entered into some sort of contract with the facility. Spouses can be responsible for long term care expenses. So often one spouse will see all of their retirement and life savings be funneled away to pay for a nursing home for their spouse. However, this doesn’t have to happen. The Medicaid requirements are far more generous with a married couple, why, because the government has an interest in not having someone lose their spouses life savings. There are many tools that are available to be able to take advantage of Medicaid benefits for your spouse and still get to keep your life savings. Please contact one of our Elder Law attorneys today to discuss these Medicaid Planning tools and strategies.
On a related note, once you or your loved on passes away, be it your parent or spouse, you are NEVER obligated to pay their outstanding debts. Hospitals and nursing homes will often cite an Ohio law that says that basically says that spouses are responsible for each others marital debt, and pressure the living spouse or family to pay the debt. This law ONLY applies when the spouse or parent is STILL LIVING. Please do not let a creditor take advantage of you. The only “person” who is obligated to pay outstanding debts of a deceased person, in Ohio, is the deceased person’s probate estate. With proper Estate and Medicaid Planning. NO ONE in Ohio should have a probate estate. Call us today to put together an estate plan so that their is no probate estate, saving you money in debts and legal fees down the road. However, the big exception to this is Medicaid Recovery. Medicaid can touch both non-probate and probate assets. With proper planning, we can prevent this from happening. Next time, we are going to talk about what happens to your house when you apply for Medicaid.