Long Term Care

So what is “Medicaid Planning” and how does it affect us, our parents and grandparents?  As I have always said, being in a Medicaid nursing home should not be our estate planning goal.  Hopefully our first goal is to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible and lessen our chances of being infirmed, or in the event we do become disabled, to have a strong long term health care insurance (LTHCI) policy where we have the resources to have someone take care of us in our own home.  However, many of us do not have that luxury.  Maybe we are uninsurable for an LTHCI policy, maybe we can’t afford one, or the most common scenario I see – the incapacitated person is about to make application to the Medicaid nursing home facility because they have already gone through the majority of their resources.

Before qualifying for Medicaid one must practically be a pauper.  If the applicant is single, her assets cannot exceed $2,000, but there are some “exempt” assets such as your home and your car.  And there are many legitimate ways to “spend down” what may be left of a person’s assets on things they will need before they enter the nursing home.  In many cases, planning after one applies for Medicaid eligibility is too late.  Many of the planning opportunities need to be done at least a few months ahead of time, but most need to be done years ahead of time.  Since February of 2006, the Medicaid “look back” period has been lengthened to 60 months, or five years ahead of time!

One of the best things to do for a person contemplating applying for Medicaid nursing home benefits is to schedule them (and their spouse/children/caretaker) a Medicaid Planning consultation with an attorney that has expertise in this particular area.  The attorney can explain the pros and cons of the myriad of Medicaid planning opportunities as well as warn you about possible obstacles in the process.  Time and again clients will come to me saying that their “family attorney” just told them to give away everything to the children and then apply for Medicaid.  Most of the time, that advice is laced with problems, from not filing the proper gift-tax returns (and paying gift tax!), to almost guaranteeing that the applicant may not receive benefits for 5 years, or more!   All planning must have been done properly from the beginning.  A comprehensive Medicaid consultation can leave you feeling confident that your choices were legally the best planning opportunities available and can guide you more easily through the Medicaid application maze.

 
 

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Services Include:

- Revocable Living Trusts 
- Wills and Living Wills
- Powers of Attorney
- Successions 
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- Gift Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts 
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- Credit Shelter Trusts
- Family Limited Partnerships/LLC
 
 
 

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