Any elder law attorney will tell you the most common concern among hoosier families is whether the nursing home or the state of Indiana will take their home or farm if they need long-term care in the future. The concern is often, “If I don’t gift my property to my children while I am healthy, all will be lost if I need help.” The complicated Medicaid system, various predatory companies and rampant misinformation (even within well-meaning communities) can make separating fact from fiction in the elder law realm difficult.
Generally speaking, nursing homes do not want to take anyones house. It’s simply a business that needs to be paid on a monthly basis. Medicaid is the agency responsible for paying for the majority of individuals needing long-term care in a facility. Speaking with an elder law attorney can help families determine if any of the numerous Medicaid protections apply to them. For instance, if there is a spouse or adult child living in the home, there are often ways to protect the full value of the home for the family. Exceptions can also apply if there are minor children or disabled individuals within the family.
For farm families, the phrase “Medicaid Estate Recovery” should be part of any planning discussion. In Indiana, individuals can own a farm and still qualify for Medicaid as the net income goes to help pay for their care. However, after death, the state of Indiana has the right to collect the amount paid by the state for that individual’s long-term care, via a lien on the farm. Medicaid estate recovery for an individual needing to be in a facility for two full years can easily surpass $100,000 if no planning is done. It is very important for farm families to fully investigate how long-term care issues can impact the continued success of their operations.
Whether the family is seeking to protect a hoosier homestead farm or a brand new condo, the best option is to speak to a qualified elder law attorney in your area.