Medi-Cal Asset Protection Options for Married Couple

If you are a MARRIED COUPLE, the steps necessary to protect your assets and your asset protection options are as follows (this is in addition to keeping your Exempt Assets see list provided):

  1. Create new or update your current Estate Planning documents (i.e., Trust, Power of Attorney for Finances, Power of Attorney for Real Property or other related documents) as necessary that allow your trustee/agent to protect your assets a) If you ever require long-term care assistance in the future, or b) If you require long-term care assistance immediately.

  2. If you are applying for Medi-Cal long-term care benefits at this time (or will be in the near future the next 2-3 months or so), prepare the necessary documents to properly transfer and protect your home and other personal assets as needed.

  3. If you have more than $2,000 in the name of the spouse applying for Medi-Cal benefits, in any form (i.e., bank accounts, financial investment accounts, annuities, mutual funds, stocks, life insurance etc., see asset schedule you submitted for details), you will need to transfer any amounts above $2,000 into the name of the well spouse (community spouse).

  4. If the current estate has more than $119,220 (to include the $2,000 allowed for the Medi-Cal applicant) in assets (not including the home or list of exempt assets), then you will need to protect the amount that exceeds $119,220 by one of the options listed below.

  5. If the income of the well spouse (community spouse) is below the minimum allowed for the at home spouse of $2,841, you may be eligible to request a administrative Fair Hearing or submit a petition to the proper Court of Law, and request that a judge allow you to increase the Community Spouse Resource Allowance of $119,220 as allowed for a couple in the year 2015, to include most if not all of your assets that exceed this amount of $119,220.

  6. Under some circumstances, if the minimum allowed monthly income of $2,980.50 for the at home spouse is not sufficient to meet the at home spouses’ monthly living needs, you may be able to file a petition with the Court, requesting that they allow you to increase the minimum monthly income to allow you to support yourself as needed (if available).

  7. Create a Medi-Cal asset protection Annuity, which will allow you to protect much of the principal of your estate and still qualify for Medi-Cal benefits.

  8. Spend-down your assets on Exempt Assets (see Exempt Assets list attached).

  9. You can make Gifts of money/assets to your beneficiaries as desired, however, this must be done properly so as not to interfere with your Medi-Cal benefits or create a penalty period (requiring you to wait a period of time before you may be considered eligible for Medi-Cal benefits) as a result of the gift.

  10. You can enter into a LIFETIME PERSONAL Care Agreement or contract, which allows you to give a certain amount of money to your current and future care providers and they will sign the agreement (contract) to continue to provide such care to you; or to see that such care is provided for you if you enter into a facility, for the remainder of your lifetime. This type of agreement (or contract) if properly designed, will not result in a “penalty” for any transfer of assets should you apply for Medi-Cal benefits in the future.

Note: The steps and options listed DO NOT include all possible asset protection strategies/options and IS NOT to be considered legal advice, and therefore I recommend you either contact our office or another knowledgeable Elder Law Attorney in your area before attempting to protect the assets of your estate as discussed above.

In addition, because the laws applying to Medi-Cal and Asset Protection do change from time to time, again I recommend you either contact our office or another knowledgeable Elder Law Attorney in your area before attempting to protect the assets of your estate as discussed above.

You may contact our office directly to assist you with this matter by calling (916) 536-1773 in Fair Oaks, CA, or, if you desire to retain legal and/or financial asset protection services within your local area, please contact our office so that we may assist you in locating a knowledgeable Elder Law Attorney in your area.