Because November is Long-term Care Awareness Month, for the past few weeks we’ve been talking about Medicaid planning. Those of us who work with Medicaid planning and elder care services know what Medicaid planning can and cannot do for a person, but do you?
The purpose of Medicaid planning is to preserve your assets and set up your affairs in such a way that “the State” will pay the majority of the nursing home care costs, if or when the time comes. With good Medicaid planning, you should need only to contribute your income toward nursing home care costs. With Medicaid planning, you should not need to sell assets in order to pay for your long term care. If you have a spouse, with Medicaid planning you may be able to preserve income for your spouse rather than paying it to the nursing home in certain circumstances.
When married couples consider Medicaid planning, their “best case scenario” is usually to retain the benefits of all of their assets and still have Medicaid pay for nursing home care when the time comes. In order to accomplish this, all planning and funding should be completed five (5) or more years prior to one of the individuals needing full-time nursing home care. If a person has less than five (5) years before an anticipated nursing home admission, other options exist to preserve assets, but those options are more limited and vary, based on circumstances.
A single person also can utilize Medicaid planning, although the percentage of assets preserved may vary, again depending on the circumstances.
Elder law generally, and Medicaid planning specifically, is a complex body of law and an area that sees frequent rule revisions. The application process can be a paperwork nightmare, so having an experienced professional to guide you through the system is advisable. You are not required to use an attorney as you plan for possible nursing home admissions. However, most nursing home and social services professionals are not trained to provide sophisticated Medicaid planning advice, which can protect the greatest amount of your assets. And, not just any attorney is qualified to advise you on your long-term care options. Look for an attorney specifically trained in Elder law and Medicaid planning issues to provide you with a plan of action preserving the greatest amount of your assets, as allowed by law.
For more information on Medicaid Planning, contact Davis & McCann, P. A., Dodge City, KS. We are members of Wealth Counsel, a national consortium of Estate Planning Attorneys and focus our practice on providing clients with the best legal advice on estate planning, Medicaid and Long-term Care Planning, Family Business/Small Business Succession Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, Real Estate Transactions, and related matters.
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