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How can a person protect their assets from being taken when going into a nursing home?

Rapid City, SD |

My land is in my name and my niece's, subject to estate. I have my beneficiaries listed on my accounts or liquid assets. Will these be taken if I go into a nursing home? I am unmarried with no children.

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Attorney answers 2


"Countable assets" for long-term care planning purposes is quite different from taxable assets for estate/inheritance taxes. Generally speaking, and it varies state to state, you have to disclose all assets and those transferred within 5 years of making an application for Medicaid. If the assets disclosed amount to (about) less than $2,000 (and no transfers within the last 5 years, under current law) then you may qualify for Medicaid. If transfers were made more recently or too much is owned then you cannot qualify or you suffer a penalty period.

The best way to protect assets from nursing care is to have a pool of money to use for care including long-term care insurance and spendable assets. It is best then to have another class of assets that you identify and protect by making purposeful transfers to individuals or trusts far enough ahead of time as to "save" those assets if you have a long (more than 5 year) stay in a long term care facility.

This area of the law is very difficult and complex. You must have the assistance of an experienced estate/elder law attorney to plan properly and even then there are really no guarantees. Much of the success is based on advance planning and accounting for your own health conditions. Mistakes in this area can be easy to make and result in all types of unforeseen consequences, including tax consequences for your beneficiaries.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:


I agree with attorney Zellinger. You definitely need to sit down with an experienced Elder Law attorney. The Avvo search tool may be of help.

The following link will save you a lot of time when preparing the initial consultation.

Douglass Lodmell is the nations #1 Asset Protection attorney and has clients in all 50 states, protecting over $4 Billion in client assets. Answers given by him in this forum do not establish an attorney-client relation. He advises to seek a specialized attorney in the area of your interest for legal representation.