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Estate Planning Head You are allowed to keep up to $2,000.00 in countable assets. There are specific classes of property that are exempt from the $2000.00 threshold detailed below that are considered “Non-Countable Assets”. You can "spend down" assets that would otherwise be countable by purchasing non-countable assets, paying bills, or paying down debts on non-countable assets. Assets that are owned as joint tenants with rights of survivorship are generally not countable. Further if you cannot sell an asset because of a hardship are not countable as long as you comply with Medicaid rules in attempting to sell the asset. Some assets placed in an irrevocable trust, such as a special needs trust, may be excluded, but trust principal that could be used for you benefit can be included as a countable asset and trust income has to be used to pay for nursing home care. Assets in an irrevocable trust, in some instances, may be excluded. However, the portion of the principal of the trust from which payment can be made to or for your benefit is considered a countable asset. Furthermore, payments of trust income must be used to pay for your care.

Look Back Period

The Deficit Reduction Act changed the look-back period from 3 to 5 years on asset transfers for less than equal value and a penalty will be applied which will prevent the person from receiving Medicaid long-term care benefits until that penalty period expires.

Requirements to Qualify for Medicaid
  1. You reside in a Medicaid qualified nursing home under a doctor's order.
  2. Your medical and nursing home expenses exceed your income.
  3. Your countable assets do not exceed $2,000.
Medicaid Non-Countable Assets
  • A Michigan home or a life estate in a Michigan home
  • Personal belongings and household goods, including clothing and jewelry
  • One (1) car.
  • Certain annuities
  • Up to $2,000.00 in a prepaid irrevocable funeral contract
  • Up to $1,500 designated as a burial fund to cover funeral costs.
  • Burial spaces costs and related items for you and your immediate family
  • Life insurance, if the total face value of all policies for the same insured is $1,500 or less, and certain types of term insurance.
  • The value of income-producing real property if the annual income after expenses yields a six percent return.
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