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  • Writer's pictureKathy L. McNair, Esq.

Protect Your Vacation Home from Medicaid

If you need long term care, will you need to sell your vacation home to pay for it? In Massachusetts, in most cases Medicaid (also called “MassHealth)”, does not consider the primary residence as a countable asset when applying for benefits to help pay for nursing home care or to help with care at home. However, if you own a second home, Medicaid will consider the value of your second home when determining whether you qualify and unless you take further action it will likely make it impossible for you to receive Medicaid benefits.

Medicaid is a government program that provides healthcare coverage for individuals with limited financial resources. Note: In 2023, in Massachusetts, a single person must have $2,000 or less to qualify, and a married couple must have $148,260 or less in countable assets.

If you are able to plan five years in advance of needing care, you have the best chance of protecting your vacation home. An Irrevocable Income Only Trust is often the best way to protect your vacation home, as long as you and/or your spouse do not need nursing home care for the next five years. By transferring ownership to the trust, you no longer personally own the property, which can help shield it from Medicaid. However, once the property is in the trust, you may lose control over it.

If you are in a situation, where you are not able to plan five years in advance of needing nursing home care, you may still have options to protect your vacation home. One option may be to argue that the vacation home is your primary residence. You would need to be able to prove this. If the house is not in Massachusetts, then it may be a very difficult argument to win. Another option may be to rent out your vacation home to generate income and have it treated as income producing property. A third option, may be to have a family member purchase the vacation home for “fair market value”.

If you own a vacation home and you and/or your spouse need nursing home care now or you wish to plan in advance to make sure that your vacation home is protected, it is important that you consult with an elder law attorney to get the right advice. If you live in Massachusetts, we are ready to help devise a plan to protect your assets, while taking into consideration all of the implications, including income tax implications of doing so.

Planning now will help you protect your vacation home and ensure that you receive the care and support if and when you need it.

If you want to protect your assets from the high cost of nursing home care by engaging in Medicaid Planning, we can help. To find out more, please call us at 617-489-5900 or use this link to schedule a free consultation:,

We are caring Boston Elder Law attorneys, serving all of Massachusetts, and ready to help you with Medicaid and MassHealth Planning, Estate Planning, Guardianship, Conservatorship, Probate, and Special Needs Planning.

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