Avoiding Asset Spend Down

By Attorney Rick Law, managing partner at the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law. Providing estate planning, wills trusts, probate, guardianship, and elder law services to the western Chicago suburb of Aurora in Kane County, Illinois.

Let’s say a couple has a house that is valued at approximately $300,000 and two vehicles.  One spouse needs nursing home care and applies for Medicaid assistance. In Illinois, if one spouse stays at home (the “community” spouse), the home is considered “exempt”.  The community spouse can have one vehicle of any value and the institutionalized spouse can have a vehicle as long as the value is not more than $4,500 (unless it is a special vehicle for transportation due to medical needs—i.e., a wheelchair van). So, in this instance, their house and cars are exempt.

In addition to the house and the cars, let’s say they have a joint annuity of $100,000, a couple of CDs of $20,000 each, a brokerage account of $50,000, and a checking and savings account of about $15,000 total.

In Illinois, the community spouse can keep $109,560 and the institutionalized spouse can have a maximum amount of assets of $2,000, for a total of $111,560. Anything over the $111,560, regardless of the type of asset (even IRAs), must be spent down on care before the in prior to qualifying for Medicaid for the institutionalized spouse.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.


Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

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