I have a client who spent the entire year of 2020 in a nursing home which took a huge chunk of his IRA to pay for his care. He then passed away on Jan 8,2021. I'm doing his return for his daughter. Is the only way to recoup those expenses by claiming all of his money that went to his nursing home care on Schedule A as a medical deduction?
Only if the monies were used for that purpose. The nursing home should be able to provide a breakdown.
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You can include in medical expenses the cost of medical care in a nursing home, home for the aged, or similar institution, for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents. This includes the cost of meals and lodging in the home if a principal reason for being there is to get medical care.
You can also include in medical expenses amounts paid for qualified long-term care services. For a discussion of what that means, see IRS Pub 502 (page 11, 2020 edition).