Will Medicaid take my home if I need nursing home care?

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Q. If I need to go into a nursing home, will they take my home? My son has been on the deed to my home since the 1980s and he lives with me. Is he safe to remain in the home?
— Planning ahead

A. We’re glad that you’re planning ahead.

No one wants to be surprised with what could happen if they need nursing home care.

If you go into a nursing home and require Medicaid to pay your long term care costs, Medicaid may put a lien on your home, said Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Peapack Private Wealth Management in New Providence.

This means that if you sell the property or pass away, Medicaid has the right to claim some or all of the proceeds to reimburse itself for the costs of your care, she said.

“However, if your son has been on the home’s deed since 1980, it may be considered a transfer of assets that occurred more than five years ago, which is outside the look-back period under Medicaid rules,” McKnight said. “This means that your son’s ownership of the house may not be subject to Medicaid’s estate recovery program.”

It is important to note that laws and regulations can vary by state and individual circumstances, she said, so it may be helpful to consult an elder law attorney to discuss your specific situation and options.

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This story was originally published on May 11, 2023.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.