Confused about Medicaid? You’re not alone! The complexity surrounding this constantly changing area of the law can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Our law firm provides understandable and timely information about Medicaid planning, eligibility, and the issues pertaining to elder law. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping families legally protect their assets from the high cost of long-term care by helping them plan for and qualify for Medicaid benefits.
What is Elder Law?
Elder Law involves planning for the complex issues facing the elderly and disabled individuals and their families.
The cost of nursing home care can wipe away a family’s nest egg planned for surviving family members. The primary alternative to privately paying the nursing home is Medicaid.
Medicaid Planning Myths
There is a mistaken belief that nothing can be done to protect assets from nursing home costs, especially if you are in or about to enter a nursing home. With proper planning, it isn’t necessary to wait 5 years after gifting assets to become eligible for Medicaid.
Medicaid Asset Protection Strategies
Although the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 increased restrictions that affected the use of some techniques, other asset protection strategies remain viable. Some of these techniques may include setting up an Irrevocable Living Trust, making gifts to family members, paying for certain Medicaid expenses, utilizing Medicaid compliant promissory notes or annuities, and custodial care agreements to name a few.
Draconian Medicaid Transfer Rules Enacted
On February 8, 2006 the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 became law. Among other provisions it placed severe restrictions on the ability of the elderly to transfer assets before qualifying for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care.
The law extended Medicaid’s “lookback” period for all asset transfers made on or after February 8, 2006 from three to five years and changed the start of the penalty period for gifted assets from the date of transfer to the date when the individual transferring the assets enters a nursing home and would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid coverage.
In other words, the penalty period does not begin until you are a nursing home resident and you are “out of funds”. That is why Medicaid crisis planning is such an important tool in an Elder Lawyer’s arsenal.
The Bottom Line
If you have considered protecting some assets for your loved ones in case you later require long-term care, you should act now.