As you get older, Medicaid planning becomes very important. Medicaid planning involves making a plan to ensure you can qualify for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care. Nursing homes can cost more than $100,000 a year, especially if a specialized home such as one catering to dementia payments is necessary. Without a plan in place, you could quickly spend down money it has taken you a lifetime to save.
You deserve to be able to leave a legacy for your loved ones when you have worked hard all of your life. Unsworth Law helps you with Medicaid planning so you can qualify for Medicaid to pay for your nursing home while leaving your nest egg in tact. Give us a call now so we can get started before it is too late to protect yourself.
Tips for Avoiding Mistakes in Medicaid Planning
Medicaid for the aged is administered through the Vermont Department for Children and Families. DCF explains that it is possible to qualify for Medicaid if you are age 65 or older, if you are blind, or if you are disabled and if you meet financial criteria.
The financial criteria requirement ensures that Medicaid is a needs-based program. Applicants must meet means-testing requirements and have income and assets below a certain level in order to be able to qualify for any type of Medicaid coverage, including coverage for nursing home care. Medicaid planning involves structuring the ownership of your assets in order to ensure that you can qualify for benefits when you need them.
There are strict rules designed to protect the integrity of the Medicaid system, so making mistakes in the Medicaid planning process could mean that you are unable to qualify for Medicaid benefits when it comes time to begin paying for a nursing home. You want to avoid errors that could cost you, so getting legal help with your Medicaid plan is the best choice. You can also be aware of these common mistakes that you should try to avoid:
- Waiting too long to start creating your plan. Medicaid planning needs to be done well before the time when you actually need Medicaid to start picking up the bills for a nursing home. If you have waited too long, you could have to spend significant amounts of your money before you are covered. This is because Medicaid has a five year lookback period. If you transferred assets (including to a trust) or sold or gave them away within five years of applying for benefits, you are going to have to wait for Medicaid nursing coverage. The time you have to wait is equal to the value of the assets you gave away or transferred divided by the average monthly nursing home cost in your area.
- Giving away money or assets or adding a child onto the deed of your home within five years of trying to qualify for Medicaid. All of these types of transactions can be considered gifts that can temporarily disqualify you from Medicaid for a period of time based on the value of the gift you have given away.
- Thinking it is too late to start planning. While early planning is key to saving all or most of your assets, it is never too late to try to develop a strategy to protect at least some of your nest egg. There are options, including transfers to caregiving children and protections for spouses, which can allow you to preserve some of your money even if you must go into a nursing home immediately.
- Using the wrong type of trust. Medicaid planning is going to involve making transfers of your assets into a trust. The sooner you do this, the sooner your assets are protected. However, not every type of trust is going to shield your assets from being counted when determining if you qualify for Medicaid. You need to ensure you get help creating a legally valid trust that will protect your money and property.
- Not transferring assets. Creating a trust is just the first step. You actually need to transfer ownership of your money and your property into the trust in order for it to be protected and not counted when determining eligibility for Medicaid benefits.
- Not getting legal help. Many people get advice from friends or neighbors and think they can create a Medicaid plan on their own. The fact is, the law is complicated in this area and you don’t want to take a risk of getting it wrong.
These are just a few of many mistakes that people may make when they try to get Medicaid to provide coverage for their nursing home care.
Getting Help from an Essex Junction Medicaid Planning Lawyer
Medicaid planning is too important to take a chance on as mistakes can cost you everything. Instead of trying to handle the creation of an effective plan on your own, you should get legal advice from attorneys who have focused their professional careers on helping seniors to plan for their future.
Unsworth Law is a legal practiced dedicated to elder law matters, including Medicaid planning issues. Give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online today so we can get started on creating a Medicaid plan for you.