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Elder Law FAQs

Will my spouse be able to continue living in our home if I seek long-term care through Medicaid?

If you are married, your spouse can continue to reside in your family residence in Largo, FL, assuming there are no potential issues involving your homestead.  While Medicaid long-term care benefits for an assisted living facility or nursing home require the applicant to have less than $2,000 in assets and $2,250 in income (2018), your homestead and a single vehicle are “exempt.”

The situation might differ if you are single and must enter a nursing home. Although you will be able to keep your homestead if your home is paid off, the situation becomes problematic if you have an outstanding mortgage.  Unless you have someone who can make these payments, you might not have the ability to pay the mortgage because your income will be used to pay the nursing home, which often leaves nothing left for a house payment, insurance, and property taxes.

Although you might consider renting the property to cover these house expenses, this conversion of the homestead to an income producing property might make the home subject to a Medicaid lien when you pass away if the property goes through probate.  As an income producing property, other creditors also can seek liens against the property even if the property does not go through probate.

How much of my income can I keep if my spouse is in an assisted living facility or nursing home in Florida through Medicaid?

If you are the spouse that is not receiving long-term care through Medicaid, you are entitled to keep all your income.  The healthy spouse also can divert $2,030 per month (2018) from his or her marital partner’s income for a total amounted diverted of $3,020.50 per month.

Why should I designate a health care surrogate?

A health care surrogate designation (referred to as a power of attorney for healthcare in other states) empowers the person you choose to make decisions regarding medical treatment or end-of-life wishes if you become incapacitated. This designation ensures that a person that you trust will step into your shoes in terms of making decisions about medical treatment and advocating for you when you cannot do so.

Important: If your health care surrogate designation was executed prior to 2015, you should consider having the document updated. Prior to 2015, a doctor had to determine that you were incapacitated for the designation to take effect.  Under thesubsequentlaw, the document becomes effective when executed, so no doctor determination of incapacity will not be required.