The Importance of Medicaid Planning

If you are thinking about your “golden years” and you are worried about ending up in a nursing home and how you will pay for it, it is time to begin Medicaid planning. We can help you create a strategy to protect your assets and to reduce the financial strain of nursing home care. Let us help you obtain the peace of mind knowing that your medical needs are going to be met without depleting your entire estate.

There are a variety of ways people pay for long-term care, including private funds, insurance, veteran’s benefits, Medicaid and Medicare. Individuals can benefit from being qualified for Medicaid because it pays all the expenses associated with qualified nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities. However, to qualify for Medicaid, you must meet strict requirements, including diminishing most of your financial assets. Because Medicaid pays less than private care, the quality of care may differ for you as an individual. You should carefully consider whether Medicaid eligibility is critical for your estate.

With careful planning, we can legally restructure your assets so you are eligible for Medicaid benefits. Some of the strategies we use include:

  • Gifting assets and money to loved ones (be careful of this. Done improperly, you could deplete your assets and be ineligible for Medicaid!)
  • Transferring property to an irrevocable trust
  • Creating a special needs trust for the benefit of a child with disabilities
  • Establishing a testamentary trust to provide for your surviving spouse
  • Buying annuities
  • Decreasing your wealth by paying your mortgage loan, repairing your home, buying a vehicle and prepaying funeral expenses

The most effective means for protecting your assets is to begin your Medicaid planning as soon as possible. Being proactive allows you to not only ensure you qualify for benefits, but also helps you protect your property and your loved ones. If you plan early, you can avoid Medicaid’s look-back period. It is legal to transfer property in order to qualify for Medicaid, but you want to accomplish this at least five years prior to applying for the benefits. Otherwise, you could incur costly penalties and jeopardize your eligibility.

The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.