I was working with a Louisiana family recently. They had seen another family member lose about $500,000 to private-pay long term care nursing home costs. The family member had dementia and was not even aware of who the family members were or that the last bit of life savings was being consumed by nursing home care.
The couple wanted to ensure that what they had was protected. They owned a paid-for home. an IRA worth about $250,000, and some bank savings and stock. While they realized that they could not be forced to sell the home to pay for their nursing home costs, but that Medicaid would enforce its estate recovery rights to force the sale of the home when they died to reimburse the state for their nursing home costs.
So we set up a legal program to protect their home and life savings from nursing home costs. They were surprised how simple and easy it was to protect what they had. One of the keys to protecting what they had was the perfect timing of when they set all of this up. The key is to set this up while you are still relatively healthy. The planning doesn't work if you wait until you are on the doorstep of the nursing home.
They were also pleased to know that the way their legal program was set up ensure them and their children that there will be no probate (also known as "Succession" in Louisiana) when they die. The way things will be established, their children will have immediate access after they both pass away.