Mark and Maura have been happily married for fifty-five years. Mark suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease and now needs a nurse to attend to his needs for most of the day. Maura has been caring for him at home, but it is becoming clear that she will no longer be able to continue such care. Mark and Maura have about $300K in cash and stocks.
Maura comes to see me for Medicaid Asset Protection. She heard from a neighbor that divorce is the
only way she could get Mark qualified for Medicaid. Fortunately, I explain to Maura that her
neighbor is wrong, and she is greatly relieved.
For many people, marriage involves more than just finances, and the idea
of divorcing a loving spouse of many years is unconscionable. The healthy spouse, as was the case with
Maura, may feel as if she is deserting her sick husband, and the couple will
have to deal with the public nature of the divorce proceedings.
In a divorce, there is also always the possibility that the judge will
not order a division of property in accordance with the parties' desires or
even in accordance with the parties' written agreement. A divorce may be worthwhile only if a judge
grants all of the assets to the healthy spouse.
Yet a judge may be unwilling to do so if he feels that the sick spouse
with high medical costs deserves more. The
judge may also view the parties' agreement as an act intended for Medicaid
eligibility only and may be unwilling to use court authority to help the
healthy spouse engage in Medicaid Asset Protection.
There is also the issue of incompetence.
Getting a divorce is much more complex when a guardian has to be
appointed by the court for the spouse who is no longer competent. Legally, it would be the guardian’s duty to
act in the best interest of his client only and he or she would not be as
worried about the best interests of the healthy spouse. If this is the case, it
could be difficult for the couple to obtain their desired financial outcome.
The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. helps couples like Mark and Maura
obtain Medicaid assistance without having to divorce or deplete their life
savings. With proper planning, a spouse
who is able to stay at home can retain all of the couple's assets and most or
all of the income while Medicaid takes care of the nursing home. We aim to ensure that the spouse who is
remaining at home is able to maintain his or her dignity and standard of
living. Read more about the services we offer
to help couples in similar situations.
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