Q: My wife may need to go into a nursing home and apply for Medicaid in a little more than five years. She has $930 a month in Social Security and no other income. She does have term life insurance policies of $180,000. I have a pension of $3,500 a month, income through work of $100,000 a year, and $350,000 in term life insurance. Questions: 1) What will happen to her life insurance? 2) Will I have to spend down my pension or work income to make my wife eligible for Medicaid? 4) Will my life insurance be in any jeopardy? I plan to eventually talk to an Eldercare Lawyer.


A: Neither of your life insurance policies or your income should be a problem. The life insurance policies have no cash value since they are term policies. You may want to transfer ownership into your name. In addition, you will not need to apply your income to your wife’s cost of care once she receives Medicaid coverage. Just her income would go to the facility. And, yes, it’s important that you consult with a local elder law attorney who can advise you on the best planning strategies and local application of the rules.