Updating Your Will When Your Spouse Requires Long Term Care

//Updating Your Will When Your Spouse Requires Long Term Care

Updating Your Will When Your Spouse Requires Long Term Care

When it is determined that your spouse requires long term care, either at home or in a facility, it is important to have your Will updated to reflect your spouse’s health status. In the event of your death, the estate distributed to your spouse, in most cases, should reflect their change in health status. The main reason for this is that your spouse may not qualify for Medicaid after your estate is distributed to them. When it is determined that your spouse requires long term care, either at home or in a facility, it is important to have your Will updated to reflect your spouse’s health status. In the event of your death, the estate distributed to your spouse, in most cases, should reflect their change in health status. The main reason for this is that your spouse may not qualify for Medicaid after your estate is distributed to them.

Losing Medicaid Benefits

Many couples have Wills set up to leave everything to their spouse, should they survive. However, if your spouse is being provided long term care at the time of your passing, they may lose or be ineligible to receive Medicaid benefits. The levels of wealth for Medicaid are applied differently when looking at a widow(er) versus a married couple. Between your assets and death benefits from life insurance, your surviving spouse may be ineligible to apply for, or continue to receive, Medicaid benefits.

If what is collected from your death exceeds the limits of Medicaid’s resource allowance, your spouse and family will be required to pay out-of-pocket for long term care, rather than Medicaid covering the costs.

Protecting Those Benefits

In many cases, the best way to protect your spouse’s Medicaid benefits after your death is with an “Elective Share Will;” which is a Will that provides the spouse with the minimum inheritance required by law. The rest is to be given to additional heirs, or set into protected trusts for your spouse or others. This can protect their eligibility for Medicaid coverage, while providing them with financial security.

Elective Share laws are in place to protect a spouse from being disinherited without divorce. But when used in these types of situations, it helps give the surviving spouse financial stability while still providing an avenue to receive Medicaid benefits.

If a spouse waives his or her right to receive an Elective Share, the Department of Social Services will likely deny the surviving spouse’s application to receive Medicaid benefits because there was, in theory, assets available to pay for the costs of long term care. This creates a period of ineligibility that can become a serious financial burden for your family.

Update Your Will

If you or your spouse is transitioning toward receiving long term care, you should update your Wills to reflect this. It is an important step in protecting each other financially for the future.

For more than 40 years, our firm has been helping people like you with long term care and estate planning needs. We bring you the knowledge and resources to protect you and your family. Call 718.477.7700 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney at Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC. We proudly serve Staten Island, Brooklyn and the other boroughs of New York City.

By | 2017-11-01T14:28:42+00:00 November 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments