Ask Thomas Mitchell: If I Go Into a Nursing Home, Can The Nursing Home Take My House?



I’m Tom Mitchell, a partner with Waller & Mitchell, and I do elder law here.  One of the things that I do is planning for individuals who might have to go into a nursing home and need to ensure that their assets are not completely dissipated.  I frequently am asked, “Is the nursing home going to take my house when I go?”  And the answer is no. 

First, under Florida law there is a provision called the Florida Homestead Provision.  And that’s not the homestead that you have on your real estate taxes, but this is a provision of the Florida Constitution that says your house, the house that you reside in before you went into the nursing home, is your homestead and is exempt from forced sale by your creditors.  Which means that the nursing home cannot force you to sell it in order to pay the bills.  And after your death, if it’s willed to your heirs, your blood relatives, or children for example, it continues to have that exemption from creditors’ claims. 

So whether you’re married or single, you can have the house.  If you’re single, you can only have $2,000.00 in the bank.  That’s all you can have, and all the rest of your assets have to be dissipated, spent on the nursing home in order to pay for your care.  Now, there are some other planning opportunities that I can do for you if you need to have that done, so give me a call if that’s the situation. 

But in a married situation, the spouse who’s staying at home gets to keep additional liquid assets so that they are not impoverished.  Currently the liquid asset amount is about $115,000.00 of liquid assets.  That’s stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and cash in the bank.  This does not include the house or car and does not include the usual household effects: the toaster, blender or the big screen TV. 

So in a nutshell, the nursing home is not going to take your house.  If you have any questions, please call me at Waller & Mitchell.  We’re located at 5332 Main Street in New Port Richey.  My telephone number is 727-847-2288.  Thanks.