Ask the Expert


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Question: My spouse is sick and is starting to need a lot of care.  We can’t afford the cost of my spouse’s care forever, and I’m worried that one day soon we will run out of money. I’ve heard that I either need to become impoverished or divorce my spouse in order to get Medicaid to pay for care. Do we have any other options?

Answer: There are many options.  Unfortunately, there are very few professionals well-versed in what all the options are and which are best for your particular situation.  It’s important to make sure you find an advisor who knows the intricacies of how to maximize this benefit.

Depending on the extent of your assets and your monthly income, one plan may be preferable to another.  For example: if your sick spouse has a high monthly income and your income is much less, we can reallocate some of the higher income to you.  We can do the same thing with assets, moving them around to maximize what you can keep.  Some assets are exempt.  If you are taking your yearly required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRA, you may be able to keep that entire account in addition to the other funds Medicaid allows you to keep.  For some families, the well spouse is actually put in a better financial position because they are no longer paying any out of pocket care costs.

Getting divorced is rarely the best answer.  Families throughout South Carolina utilize the assistance of a Life Care Planning firm to help them develop the plan that is best for them to preserve income and assets for the well spouse as well as obtain the best option for care of the sick spouse.

If you are concerned that you don’t know all of your options or that you are spending down all of your savings and shouldn’t be, the life care planning team at LawyerLisa is available to consult with you on your particular situation.

Just remember, the longer you wait to have a long term care plan, the less money you are able to save.  For many people, their biggest mistake is waiting too long to implement a plan to protect their savings.

No one should attempt to navigate the Medicaid maze alone.  Get a team behind you that can support you and your family.

If you would like to learn more about emergency asset preservation techniques or pre-emergency Medicaid or benefits planning, visit our website at  If you are ready to schedule a meeting to see how much money you can protect, give us a call at 803.563.5163 or email