Many states exempt the principal place of residence up to a certain amount. That amount varies between $500,000 and $750,000 depending upon your state of residence. Their is also a requirement in many states that you intend to return to the home. That does not necessarily mean that you actually have to return to the home but that you have the intent to do so. The rules regarding intent to return to the home and whether or not you actually have to return are highly state specific and you should consult an elder law attorney in your state.
Things like your clothes and household goods are generally exempt. Your jewelry would also generally be exempt unless it was an unusually valuable piece.
One car or truck of any value is exempt.
Income Producing Property
Some states, such as Illinois, have a provision that real property that is producing income is exempt. Note, however, that the income produced from the real property may be included among the income that must be spent on the institutionalized individual's cost of care.
Burial spaces and ceratin related items for the institutionalized individual are generally exempt. You may also be allowed to retain up to $1,500 in a designated burial fund. In addition, if you have a prepaid funeral contract that is irrevocable, that will generally be exempt as well. Many times as part of the "spend down" process to become eligible for assistance families will take care of their funeral arrangements.
Life insurance with a face value of $1,500 or less is exempt. If the face value exceeds $1,500 then the cash value of the policies is a countable asset.
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