Wife Liable for Husband’s Nursing Home Bill

Posted on: June 4th, 2011 by Lawrence A. Friedman

A recent New York Supreme Court case, Wayne Health Care Demay Living Center v. Blair (N.Y. Sup. Court # 68514/2009, April 20, 2011), illustrates the pitfalls of do it yourself Medicaid and long term care planning. Mrs. Blair admitted her husband to a nursing home but apparently didn’t properly handle his Medicaid application. Because Mr. Blair was denied Medicaid, Mrs. Blair was held liable to the nursing home under the doctrine of necessities. New Jersey courts also recognize this doctrine. The shame is that knowledgeable Medicaid planning could have avoided or substantially limited Mrs. Blair’s need to fund personally her husband’s nursing home costs. The doctrine of necessities is just one of many traps for the unwary in Medicaid planning. For instance, couples in second marriages often are surprised to learn that one spouse’s assets can be tapped for the other spouse’s long term care even when spouses always keep their finances separate and have a pre-nuptial agreement. We typically find Medicaid planning very valuable whether a single or married person needs long term care. For further information on long term care options and Medicaid planning visit the elder law tab at or contact FriedmanLaw at 908-704-1900.  The Wayne Health Care Demay Living Center v. Blair  decision is available at

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Homepage photo: Cows grazing at Meadowbrook Farm, Bernardsville, NJ by Siddharth Mallya. October 23, 2012.
Interior photo: Somerset hills pastoral scene by Lawrence Friedman.