What assets are exempt for Medicaid in North Carolina? Certified Elder Law Attorney Dennis Toman explains the difference between countable and noncountable assets for North Carolina Medicaid.
When somebody applies for Medicaid, Medicaid is going to determine what they have in countable assets, and countable assets are going to be everything except for the exempt assets.
For Medicaid, the exempt assets are basically the family residence, if you intend to return home, or if the healthy spouse is still living there. One car can be an exempt asset, prepaid funeral expenses can be an exempt asset as well. About $10,000 of life insurance is exempt with some exceptions, but generally that would be exempt. And then also household furniture and furnishings would be exempt as well.
Pretty much anything else can be countable. That would include bank accounts, IRAs, other pieces of real estate, stocks and bonds; it doesn’t really matter whose name the bank account is in, it might be in just a parents name, it could be the husband and wife’s name, it could even have the child’s name on it. Those would all be accountable assets.
One thing I want to make a point about though is that even though an asset is exempt, it’s not necessarily protected. For example, the house that a person intends to return home to can be exempt for purposes of Medicaid eligibility. But if we’re dealing with a single person in a nursing home who owns a house, is on Medicaid, if they die, then the house is not protected. Medicaid can come back in and take that house through Medicaid estate recovery.
It’s important to understand that as you consider your Medicaid planning and whether to apply for Medicaid, that you understand not just what is exempt, but also what is protected and how do you go about protecting those assets against Medicaid estate recovery.