Divorce for Medicaid Isn’t Necessarily Your Best Option

Dear Mr. Premack: My wife and I own our home and have savings of about $360,000. She has long-term care insurance. I am 7 years older and cannot qualify for the insurance due to health troubles. Should I need long term care, I don’t want her to lose everything. I’ve read that if I were to make her the sole owner of all financial assets by getting a divorce, I could qualify for Medicaid, and she would have all the assets. Is a divorce our best bet? – PW

Divorce for Medicaid is a risky legal strategy. In Texas we have “no fault” divorce, but you must still represent to the court that the marriage “has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that… prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” Divorce in order to better support your wife certainly does not fit that definition.

Besides, Medicaid law provides an alternative called the “spousal protected resource allocation (SPRA)”. If you need nursing home care, then 1) your home is entirely protected for your spouse, and 2) at least $109,560 of your savings is protected for your spouse. The balance must be spent on your care or reallocated into protected categories, like a prepaid funeral plan, a new automobile, debt repayment or even college savings funds for your grandchildren. Depending on your monthly income, you may even be entitled to “expand” the SPRA to a higher amount.

Before you consider divorce, remember that long-term care is the rainy day for which you saved this money. Contact a qualified Elder Law attorney to investigate all your alternatives.

Paul Premack is a Certified Elder Law Attorney and a Five Star Wealth Manager (Texas Monthly Magazine 2009-2013) practicing estate planning and probate law in San Antonio.

Original Publication: San Antonio Express News, April 16, 2010

#ElderCare #SpousalProtectedResourceAllocation #Medicaid #Divorce #Marriage

DISCLAIMER: The fact that you read this website does not make you our client nor us your attorneys. The material and information on this website and associated blogs are provided for informational purposes and are not legal advice. This site does not create an attorney-client relationship between the attorney and the users of this site. Visitors to this site should consult a licensed attorney before taking any legal action. To review our Privacy Policy, click here.

Paul Premack has been a Board Member and has served as President of the Texas Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and is a Member of the Washington Chapter of NAELA. He is *Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation as accredited by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and the ABA. He is licensed to practice law in the States of Texas and Washington and handles Estate Planning and Probate in Texas and Washington, including and Bexar County and King County Probate, Wills, Living Trusts, Durable and Medical Powers of Attorney, and Elder Law. Premack writes the legal column for the San Antonio Express News which is syndicated in other Hearst Newspapers around the USA.

Phone: (210) 826-1122     All calls to our office go to Voicemail

© 2021 by The Premack Law Office, Paul Premack, Attorney.