Medicaid is a very complicated area of the law. There are legal ways to “spend down” your mother’s assets to apply for nursing home Medicaid. But be careful, because there are also many ways that could result in getting your mother disqualified for benefits.

In short, you may pay for goods and services for your mother’s benefit – for example, clothing, furnishings, a prepaid funeral (but it must be a specific type), entertainment, extra therapy, or professional services (geriatric care manager, CPA, attorney, etc.). If she has a home, you can do home improvements (roof, kitchen, bathroom). You can also purchase a car for her.

If that’s not enough to spend down all of her assets, there are other more sophisticated ways of planning, but these are complex strategies and are beyond the scope of this answer. Also, if she has a home, you must take steps to protect it so that the State doesn’t later make a claim against it (yes, this is possible).

To know for certain what is allowed, we can perform an assessment of your situation and let you know your specific options. Give us a call or email us.

Glenn Matecun is a partner with the law firm of Matecun, Thomas & Olson, PLC in Howell. He is an attorney focusing on estate planning, elder law and senior Veterans’ benefits, and answers readers’ questions on legal matters affecting individuals, their families and their businesses. Email questions to [email protected], or if your question is urgent, call (517) 548-7400. Visit us at The information in this column is not intended as legal advice.

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