Medicaid and Paying For Long Term Care
Every adult needs an estate plan. Absolutely every senior over 65, and preferably those over 50, need an Estate Plan with an effective MediCAID plan. Why? It is very simple: If you don’t plan at all and you end up needing long term care, you will likely spend everything you have saved over a lifetime in a very short time to provide for that long term care. As a result you will not be able to pass assets on to your posterity. This is simply something most seniors find hard to swallow. After all, they have worked hard for what they have and certainly don’t want it to go to the government or strangers.
…”but won’t MediCARE pay for my long term care in a nursing home?”
Most Seniors qualify for MediCARE. However, most people are unaware that MediCARE does NOT pay for Nursing Home Care (other than the first 100 days in very limited circumstances–usually no more than 20 days.) Therefore those in need of long term care will more than likely have to cross the MediCAID bridge at some point.
My goal is to assist Seniors by planning in advance and making all the necessary financial planning decisions, asset allocation and distribution decisions well in advance of any potential disability or crisis. If at all possible, I want my clients to avoid Crisis situations where no planning was made, and then unexpectedly– a fall, a heart attack, a stroke, the death of a more well spouse–and you find yourself no longer able to live alone and in need of more comprehensive long term care. Yet you have too much income or too many assets. You are now in a crisis and need to reallocate assets and income quickly and legally so as not to avoid disqualification for MediCAID. The more in advance one can plan, the more options available and the less expensive the planning will be. Failure to plan in advance, depletes not only the Senior’s limited assets, but also the assets of close family members as well.
MediCAID is need based — meaning the person can only have certain limited assets to qualify. There are certain exemptions like one’s home if it is located in Georgia and certain other assets which MediCAID may not consider when ruling on the application. Certain gifting or giving away of assets prior to entering the long term care facility may be acceptable, but many others are not. Understanding the MediCAID, financial, penalty and tax repercussions is vital to preventing costly mistakes. Some actions may actually be viewed as MediCAID fraud if proper planning is not directed by a competent elder law attorney. Realizing that unique special needs trusts can be established to make sure certain assets are available to the senior and any surviving spouse in the future is an important part of the Elder law attorney’s job. Understanding the very complicated lien provisions imposed by the Georgia Dept. of Community Health for paying back long term care expenses (called Estate Recovery) after death is a very complicated and complex process requiring the extraordinary skills of a qualified Elder Law attorney.
There is a specific period, called the “look back period”, during which any assets transferred to any third party will either disqualify eligibility for MediCAID or incur a transfer penalty. As an experienced Elder law attorney, working with you through these complicated formulas and processes, and helping you find and qualify for one of the exemptions, are among the unique services we provide to our clients at Lambert Elder Care Law. Clients are cautioned against simply accepting MediCAID’s determination of not qualifying or non applicability of certain exemptions as the case workers often DO get it Wrong.
If you are over 50 and needing to plan your estate, don’t forget the importance of MediCAID planning. Please contact us today at 229-292-8989 to find out if MediCAID planning is proper for inclusion in your estate plan.