Happily Married or Something Else? Part 1
Through the years we have had many clients who have been happily married for the second or third time. When it comes time to address a long term care crisis, however, navigating the long term care system and determining how to get the best care for the ill spouse while not impoverishing the healthy spouse can be challenging.
As I have written about in the past, the Medicaid rules for married couples differ from those that apply to a single applicant. When I am asked whether, from a Medicaid asset protection perspective, it is better to be married or stay single, my answer is “it depends on the particular circumstances of each case”. There are scenarios where it would be financially beneficial to be married. With a different fact pattern a better outcome might be achieved if the applicant was single.
Additionally, the answer for each spouse may be different. In other words, it may better for one spouse under the Medicaid rules to be married but not so for the other spouse. That’s why when we talk to clients considering a marriage later in life, we discuss how it can impact long term care but we never can say it is “good or bad”.
We have, however, come across instances where the circumstances of the marriage call into question whether there has been undue influence bordering on abuse, typically for financial gain. In my 25+ years I have had a number of calls to our office which I would consider to fall into this category.
If financial abuse by a new spouse occurs how does this impact a Medicaid application? Can Medicaid even be approved if that spouse is uncooperative with the Medicaid process and requirements? We’ll get into all that next week.