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How can we keep assets?

When determining a loved one’s eligibility for Medicaid, people want to know: How can we keep assets?  There are a few ways to increase the amount of assets an applicant can keep.  The Medicaid laws that apply to a single person are very different than the Medicaid laws that apply to a married person; however, there are some laws that apply to both single and married persons.  Regardless of marital status, you can generally become Medicaid eligible and keep the following assets:


  • Your home
  • One vehicle
  • Personal belongings
  • Prepaid irrevocable funeral contract
  • Life insurance with a combined face value of $1,500, and
  • $2,000 in cash assets


The above assets are known as exempt assets.  Your other assets have to be “spent down” before you can become Medicaid eligible. McAvoy & Murphy Law Firm can craft a spend down plan that maximizes how much you can keep by converting non-exempt assets into exempt assets.  For example, do you have a prepaid irrevocable funeral contract?  If not, we generally recommend that you purchase one.  As another example, it is exempt to improve your home.  Accordingly, we generally recommend that you make certain purchases to increase the value of your home.

As a general note, Medicaid pre-planning should commence when it is reasonably foreseeable an individual may need placement in a nursing home.  In these situations, McAvoy & Murphy can generally protect 100 percent of a married couple’s assets and 50 percent of a single individual's assets.  If an individual is already in a nursing home, it is even more vital to talk to an attorney. 


Crisis planning can mean the difference between tens of thousands of dollars in assets.

Please do not rush to fill out a Medicaid application.  Nursing homes may actively call and ask that you let their “in-house expert” handle your application to take advantage of the spend-down to receive extra income spent on overpriced “medical expenses.”


In many cases, Medicaid eligibility can be obtained retroactively for up to 3 months.  In fact, you may be making an avoidable mistake by applying too soon.  It is extremely important to plan before the Medicaid application.  When it is necessary, we can help develop a comprehensive plan to meet Medicaid's spend-down requirements and protect your assets.

Pre-Medicaid and Medicaid Crisis Planning (Title XIX Eligibility)

Estate Planning in Waukesha