Elder Law: The planning you need to qualify for MassHealth


In previous columns I have explained how, whether you are single or married, you can always qualify for MassHealth, however, for each the planning is different.

If you’re married, plan ahead if you want to make sure that if one of you dies, your assets will be protected if the survivor needs to qualify. Executing a will stating that any assets will be held in trust for the survivor and transferring all assets to the first spouse to die the day before death, protects the assets if the survivor later needs to qualify for MassHealth.

If you’re single, the only way to protect assets is by giving them away and waiting five years. Any assets you keep will need to be spent down if you later need to qualify for MassHealth. You can transfer assets to an irrevocable trust, or give assets to your children outright, if you trust them. Structure things so that if necessary your trustee or children can pay the nursing home until the MassHealth five-year period has passed, to keep the remaining assets safe.

I will be discussing qualifying for MassHealth in more depth during this month’s elder law virtual seminar, which can be watched on Frank and Mary’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/elderlawfrankandmary, and your local cable station, MVTV, along with the “Frank and Mary on the Vineyard” cable TV show, where my co-host, Sandie Corr-Dolby and I address many common issues facing seniors and the resources available during the pandemic. If you have any questions, please contact me at 508-860-1470 or abergeron@mirickoconnell.com.

Arthur P. Bergeron is an elder law attorney in the trusts and estates group at Mirick O’Connell.