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El Paso Thrive After 60

Medicaid Can’t Steal Your Home If You Plan Ahead

Jul 01, 2022 08:55AM ● By Stephanie Townsend Allala, Elder Law Attorney

If you need home health or nursing home care, you know the costs are out of reach for most Americans. That’s why Congress created a program that allows working class, middle class Americans to get the care they need, without going bankrupt.

Most El Pasoans could qualify for the type of Medicaid that covers home health and nursing home care. You can own a house, a car, a funeral policy (and sometimes much more) and still get Medicaid. You do not have to be poverty-stricken to get Medicaid for the elderly and infirm.

However, when you apply for this benefit, you learn the state will try to recoup its costs after you die through the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. It allows the state to try to take your home after you die. This news is devastating for an elderly person.  Many refuse services, and suffer untold miseries. Some tell me they considered drastic measures, like suicide, as the only way out of this tragic dilemma.

What the state caseworkers can’t tell you is that the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program is absolutely avoidable. All it takes is a little planning. You may need legal help to save your home, but you can save your home.

Here’s how it works: the state can only try to take homes that pass through a formal probate process. 

Probate is the legal process by which we remove the name of a deceased person from a title or a deed. The state has decided that homes that go through probate are subject to recovery. However, all assets that pass outside of probate, through beneficiary designation, are untouchable by the state. 

We use Lady Bird Deeds and Transfer on Death Deeds to create beneficiary designations on your home. At the time of death, the home passes immediately to your beneficiaries without the need for probate. 

Stephanie Townsend Allala is an Elder Law Attorney and Director on the Board of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys-Texas. If you know someone who needs care, call today for your free consultation at 915-533-0007, or visit her web site at