“My dad went into a nursing home and mom is at home – is there anything we can do to protect my mom?”
If your father has gone into a nursing home unexpectedly, say for instance he’s 85 and has just had great health and then had a rapid decline. Your mother is living at home and you’re very concerned about your mother because you’re worried about her financial health because it’s going to cost $10,000 a month or more to pay for nursing home care. Many people say, “Well, I didn’t do something 5 years ago” or “My parents should have done something 5 years ago and they didn’t and now we’re in a terrible situation.”
As it turns out, for a spouse, you don’t have to do things 5 years ago or 2 years ago, things can be done right now, assuming you’ve got the legal authority to do that. So, for instance, all of the assets that are in the father’s name could be transferred to the mother, without restriction, and then the mother would have access to those funds to take whatever steps are permissible under the Medicaid rules.
There are many things that are permissible. Paying off a mortgage is permissible. Pre-paying for funerals, both funerals, is permissible. Using the funds to purchase a new car, repair the home, pre-pay real estate taxes, all of these are permissible for a spouse to do.
The spouse could also take excess funds and convert them into a stream of income by purchasing an immediate annuity. Therefore, instead of having $300,000 that must be spent on nursing home care, that $300,000 could be turned into a stream of income for the wife at home.