Divorce and Medicaid Planning Strategies

Transferring Assets and Minimizing Spend-Down for Well Spouse While Qualifying the Medicaid Spouse for Assistance

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Program Materials

This program focuses on the complex issues confronting family law attorneys when representing aging clients who are married for a second or third time, or aging married clients who face possible nursing home admission. Remarried couples ages 50 and older have a divorce rate 2.5 times higher than couples who are in their first marriage. For those age 65 or older, in a remarriage, the divorce rate is more than three times higher than for those in first marriages. As the baby boomer generation ages, family law attorneys will encounter with increasing frequency divorces involving retired people with children from prior marriages.


When family law and elder law collide, an attorney is faced with many ethical considerations and traps for the unwary. Frequently, clients and their respective children fear depletion of their or their parents’ assets. In that event, the healthy spouse will have to pay for the nursing home expense of the ill spouse and thus deplete the healthy spouse’s assets. As a result, family law, elder law, and estate planning attorneys must possess an understanding of not only divorce law, but also Medicaid regulations and trust considerations in order to navigate these complicated divorces.

Gifting assets to children will create a period of ineligibility before the spouse can qualify for Medicaid. Will division of assets pursuant to a Medicaid divorce also be considered a disqualifying transfer? In a Medicaid divorce, the parties transfer a disproportionate amount of marital assets to the healthy spouse, minimizing spend-down to maintain the healthy spouse’s quality of life, while obtaining Medicaid benefits for the spouse requiring long term care assistance. Will a family law judge approve a divorce with a substantially disproportionate division of assets? Is it ethical? Is a post-nuptial agreement an alternative? Are irrevocable trusts a planning opportunity? What are the other options?

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses the complexities of Medicaid divorce and trust considerations.



  1. The impact of grey divorce on the law practice
  2. Data counsel must understand
    1. Baby Boomer Statistics
    2. Divorce Rate Statistics
    3. Graying Divorce Statistics
  3. Medicaid Program Overview and impact on grey divorces
    1. Countable vs. Non-Countable Asset
    2. Transfer Rules and Penalties
    3. Calculation of Transfer Penalties
    4. Permissible Transfers
    5. Saving the House
    6. Benefits/Disadvantages of Life Estates
    7. Rental Property
    8. Irrevocable Income Only Trusts
    9. DRA Compliant Medicaid Annuity Options
    10. DRA Compliant Medicaid Annuity – Single Person
    11. Personal Care Contracts
    12. Shifting Income to the Healthy Spouse
    13. Long-Term Care Insurance Opportunities
    14. Ethical Considerations
    15. Post-Nuptial Agreements


The panel will discuss these and other important issues:

  • Who is your client?
  • How can you determine your client's competency - and if not, does a GAL need to be appointed?
  • Does your state's law permit a power of attorney sign a divorce agreement?
  • Does the state have standing to intervene in a divorce if one spouse is in a nursing home?
  • Will a Judge approve a Medicaid divorce?
  • Should we save the marital assets for the children or pay for their step-parents care?


Robert A. (Bob) Jutras, Esq.
Robert A. (Bob) Jutras, Esq.

Sheehan, Schiavoni, Jutras and Magliocchetti

Mr. Jutras focuses his practice on divorce and family law, estate planning, elder and Medicaid planning, probate...  |  Read More

Joshua S. England
Joshua S. England

Of Counsel
Sheehan Schiavoni Jutras and Magliocchetti

Mr. England specializes in sophisticated trust and estate planning, elder and Medicaid planning, probate...  |  Read More

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