Does a Louisiana Revocable Living Trust Protect Assets from Nursing Home Expenses?

I was working with a couple from Opelousas today. The wife's father just died last month after a stay at a nursing home in Louisiana. The wife's parents had to spend all of their money on her nursing home expenses, including their checking account, savings account, their annuities, IRAs, and savings bonds. The wife's mother, who still lives in the home, realizes that when she dies, Medicaid's Estate Recovery Program will force the sale of the home to reimburse Medicaid for what they spent on the wife's father's nursing home expenses after the couple had spent all of their own money.

The couple that I was working with set up a revocable living trust about seven years ago. The trust now owned their home, their rental property, and their hefty checking and savings accounts. The couple does not want to ever reside in a nursing home, but they want to be prepared if they need long term care. They don't want what is happening to her parents to happen to them.

They asked me the question, "Paul, while I know that our assets that in our Revocable Living Trust avoid probate when we die, are these assets also protected in case we have to go in a nursing home?"

My answer was, "Not a chance," All assets in a revocable living trust must be spent if the person who set up the trust enters a nursing home. So, after about an hour of some rather in-depth discussion and education, they asked me to help them set up a new kind of trust - one that would give them protection if they go into a nursing home at least five years from now. We'll be performing all of the legal services to set up their new trust, and transfer assets out of their revocable living trust, and ultimately into their new trust which gives them the nursing home poverty protection they are looking for.

Congratulations to them for taking the simple but pro-active steps to protect what they worked for from long term care expenses.