If you live in Arkansas and you have read the articles on our website about executing a Lady Bird Deed in Texas to protect the family home from the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP), you might be wondering if there is a similar option in Arkansas. You will be happy to hear that there is Elderly Woman Opening Her Doorsomething called a beneficiary deed in Arkansas that accomplishes the same goal. You will also be happy to know that Ross & Shoalmire’s attorneys are licensed in Arkansas as well as Texas, and we can help you with all of your estate planning needs, including a beneficiary deed.

Paying for a Nursing Home With Medicaid

If you are worried about how you will pay for a nursing home if you or your spouse needs it one day, you are not alone. Most seniors do not have the savings and income to pay the $5,000 per month on average that most Arkansas nursing homes cost. However, if you meet certain asset and income limits, you could qualify for Medicaid to pay for your nursing home. Sometimes, qualifying for Medicaid means planning well in advance. While your house is not counted among your assets when you apply for Medicaid, it could be seized by MERP after your death to pay back some of the money that went towards your care. For many seniors, their house is their most valuable asset and one they hope to leave to their children. Fortunately, you can protect your house from MERP with a beneficiary deed.

How Does a Beneficiary Deed Help?

MERP—and other creditors, for that matter—can claim any assets in your estate after your passing. The beauty of a beneficiary deed is that it places your house in a “life estate,” meaning it is only part of your estate while you are alive. Immediately upon your death, it becomes the property of the beneficiary or beneficiaries you have named, so creditors no longer have a claim on it. As an added bonus, the house does not have to go through probate before the beneficiary can become the rightful owner. In order to take full advantage of the power of a beneficiary deed, you should have it drafted by an Estate Planning attorney rather than by downloading free forms from the internet.

Are There Disadvantages to a Beneficiary Deed?

Beneficiary deeds are not for everyone. If you have more than one child and you would like them each to get an equal inheritance, a beneficiary deed can complicate things. While it is possible to name all of your children as co-beneficiaries of the deed and thus equal owners of the house upon your death, you will be leaving them with the task of selling the house and splitting the proceeds. Even siblings with good relationships can find this arrangement challenging, and siblings who are estranged could wind up in litigation that squanders the inheritance you had hoped to leave them.

An Arkansas Estate and Medicaid Planning Attorney Can Find the Right Solution for You

Is a beneficiary deed the answer for you? It all depends on your unique situation. Because inheritance, tax, and probate laws are all state-specific, it’s important that you meet with an Estate Planning attorney who is licensed in Arkansas to help you find the best way to pay for a nursing home, protect your family home, and leave something of value to your heirs. At Ross & Shoalmire, we offer Estate and Medicaid planning services that include all of the vital documents you should have, Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Asset Protection Trusts, and, if it’s the right call for you, a beneficiary deed to protect your house. 

Fill out the form on this page or call our toll-free number to contact us today. We can take care of a lot of the essentials over the phone, and then we can meet you at our office in Magnolia, Arkansas. If you are concerned about paying for a nursing home and protecting your home, the sooner you talk to us, the better. We look forward to hearing from you!