Warning: Medicaid Eligibility Planning Often Gets Overlooked When a Spouse Dies

In this post we address how important it is for families to deal not only with the Louisiana Succession when a married person dies, but also to deal with future Louisiana Long Term Care Medicaid Eligibility, and future Succession avoidance, all while dealing with the probate of the first spouse to die.

Often a married couple will experience something like this later in life: one spouse gets ill and is in and out of the hospital. Sometimes, the sick spouse must go to a nursing home or rehabilitation facility from the hospital. Medicare covers a limited number of days of rehabilitation services after staying in the hospital. But that Medicare coverage runs out quickly and then the patient must pay for their nursing home care out of their pocket, always at many thousands of dollars each month.

Then, after the sick spouse passes away, the surviving spouse often visits the law office to complete the Succession (other states besides Louisiana call it "probate").

Although this is a sensitive time, perhaps the conversation that may be just important is the conversation about how the surviving spouse can protect his or her home and savings in the event the surviving spouse needs nursing home care.

While both spouses were alive and well, the conversation about protecting assets often does not take place. The couple's plan is that when one spouse gets sick, the other spouse will hold down the household. But after one spouse dies, the surviving spouse realizes that they are alone with no one to take of them or their household if they get sick. So, Medicaid planning and protecting the assets can, and often does, take a top priority.

So, if you are a surviving spouse, and you don't think you can afford to spend $80,000 to $100,000 per year for your long term care, without it depleting your life savings, then make sure you have a conversation with an attorney who is well-versed in not only probate law, but property law, tax law, and Medicaid Eligibility regulations.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with Rabalais Estate Planning, LLC, through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship.

Paul Rabalais

Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney


Phone: (225) 329-2450