Are you concerned that you will need nursing home care in your later years? Are you worried about how you will pay for that care? If so, you’re in good company. For Many Americans, long-term care is a major issue – and an expensive challenge.
At The Law Offices of Victor H. Falvey, our elder law attorneys work with clients in El Paso and across West Texas on strategies to protect their family, their finances and their health through strategic long-term care decision making and Medicaid planning.
What You Need to Know About Medicaid Planning
Medicaid can be used to pay for long-term care in a nursing home or other care facility. However, there are restrictions and rules that govern its use. Medicaid sets limits on the amount of assets a person can own and the amount of income a person can receive and still remain eligible for Medicaid assistance. If you have more assets or earn more money, you will be required to “spend down” those assets.
Meeting the spend-down requirement can be problematic in two ways:
- You will have less money to pay for other expenses you will incur in daily living and for medical services you may need while in a nursing home
- Your spouse and family will have less money available for daily living expenses that they incur living outside the nursing home. A healthy spouse can find it quite difficult to get by.
There are ways to plan for nursing home care to ensure you can access Medicaid and other types of benefits. Medicaid asset protection planning is one of the legal services our lawyers provide. Call 915-229-6964 to schedule an appointment.
Medicaid Planning Techniques
There are ways in which you can qualify for Medicaid funding for long-term care without spending down your asses, but instead converting your assets from those that count against you to those that are uncounted. Before you take any action to transfer or convert your assets, though, be sure to consult a lawyer who is knowledgeable about Medicaid spend-down. If you make an error, you could lose your eligibility altogether.
Restructuring your assets: In order to prevent people who don’t need financial help from the government from shifting their costs onto taxpayers, the government has instituted a “look back” period. That means, when you apply for Medicaid, the government will review your assets and income back for a set number of years. At this time the look back period is 5 years so actions you took more than 5 years before you entered a nursing home will not cause you to lose Medicaid eligibility. Actions you might take include gifting assets to a family member or investing in certain kinds of trusts (like Special Needs Trusts or Miller Trusts).
How do you know when you’ll enter the nursing home? You won’t know and if you take an action to shelter some of your assets and then enter a nursing home a year or two down the road, you will not be eligible for support for a certain number of months. (Our attorneys can explain the formula to you when you visit our office.)
Call an El Paso Attorney to Protect Your Assets
Medicaid planning is one of the most complex areas of estate planning, and yet it is vitally important for so many elderly people and their family members. Don’t put off this valuable form of planning until it’s too late. Make an appointment to learn what you can do to protect your assets and your family. Contact our El Paso law office or call 915-229-6964 to schedule your initial consultation.