Though there are many complexities to Medicaid planning, it’s important to understand this: Medicaid is there to help families like yours, and Medicaid planning is the best way of insuring that you receive the benefits to assure the protection of your hard-earned assets.
The first step in Medicaid planning is education. The more you know about how Medicaid works, the better you will be able to look out for the interests of your family. It is important to consult with a legal professional who can provide insight into your specific situation.
Things to remember:
It’s never too late. Medicaid planning can begin anytime, even if your loved one is already living in a skilled care facility. But the sooner you plan, the more options you will have to protect what’s important to you.
You can keep your home. If you’re married, and you or your spouse needs to go into a nursing home, your home is exempt from Medicaid’s calculation of what your contribution to the cost of care should be. If you are unmarried or widowed and you go into a nursing home, your house may be exempt if you follow certain procedures. But planning is key to preserving your home.
Don’t give away the store. Since major changes to laws in 2006, “gifting” away your assets creates unforeseen circumstances for years. Far from protecting yourself, you will be undermining your own security.
Mind those safe harbors. Congress has created a number of “safe harbor” provisions for protecting your assets. These exempt certain assets and allow transfers to children or siblings who meet certain eligibility requirements, as well as putting assets in certain kinds of trusts.
Carefully choose when you apply. Applying too early can mean a longer wait for Medicaid qualification than necessary, while applying too late can mean having to pay for months of care you may not have had to. Rule of thumb: Do not apply for Medicaid without a plan to ensure you qualify.
Get the right help. Medicaid planning is a complex matter. You need expert assistance to keep your assets safe. Be sure to find legal counsel who limits their practice to this area – someone with proven expertise in Medicaid law.
The best advice we can give you is this: Start planning now. No one knows what the future will bring. The sooner you start preparing for your golden years, the fewer surprises there are likely to be. And a little planning now can make a big difference for you and your loved ones later on.
Contact us today for a consultation. We are glad to help.