Though nobody likes to think about it, there is a chance that you will eventually need to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility. None of us can predict what will happen as we get older. While you might be fortunate enough to live independently for the rest of your life, conditions like dementia, stroke, or a broken hip can require you to rely on professional care long-term.

Paying to live in a long-term care facility is very expensive. Medicaid can help, but unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a need-based program. If your income and assets are above a certain level, you cannot qualify. But rather than impoverishing yourself just so you can afford nursing home care someday, Virginia allows you to do Medicaid planning as part of your estate plan.

The strict financial limits you must meet to qualify for Medicaid

The threshold for qualifying for Medicaid is very low in Virginia. For 2020, a married couple applying for assistance with nursing home costs cannot have more than $4,000 worth of assets in their names. A married person or married person applying for themselves alone cannot exceed $2,000 in assets. (Someone whose spouse is applying for Medicaid, but is not themselves applying, can have up to $128,640 in assets.) Also, state Medicaid officials impose income limits ranging from $2,000 to $4,698 for the applicant.

There are many options to help

This is where Medicaid planning comes in. Instead of having to give away all your assets, you can qualify for Medicaid nursing home assistance while still enjoying the property you worked hard to earn over the years. One option that works for many people is to put your assets into an irrevocable trust. By naming a trustee that you have confidence in, you will ensure that your assets will be well taken care of.

Finding the right fit for your situation

There are several other options, sometimes including transferring ownership to your spouse or other loved one. To find out what method of Medicaid planning is right for you, consider contacting an attorney who works in this legal area.