Nobody wants to think about the possibility that illness, injury or other circumstances could trigger the need for nursing home care. As a result, most people don’t plan for it until the need arises. This wait and see approach can have devastating consequences for the person who needs to enter a nursing home, as well as for their spouse and other family members.
Assets can be preserved with proper legal planning, but planning is significantly more successful if it’s initiated well before nursing home care is needed. If you don’t plan ahead, you can’t simply move all of your assets into a protective vehicle at the last minute without causing problems. If you need to enter a nursing home, the Medicaid look back period will lead to a penalty for transfers of assets that occurred anytime within five years before you file your Medicaid application.
If you take no action, Medicaid will require you to spend down your assets, until your total resources (savings accounts, checking accounts, stocks and bonds, real estate, life insurance with cash value, and most other financial assets) are reduced to less than $15,150. At that point you will be eligible for Medicaid, but there won’t be much cause to celebrate, because you’ll have almost nothing left.
It doesn’t have to be that way, even if you are trapped by the look back. Elder Law strategies can usually protect a significant portion of your assets.
When you or a loved one begins to need care of any kind, engaging a qualified and experienced Elder Law attorney as soon as possible can be crucial. Lamson & Cutner can define and help you implement the legal strategies that are appropriate in your specific situation: to find out more, click Find Your Situation. You’ll maximize your financial stability, and save all or at least some of your assets.
To learn about some of the strategies that Lamson & Cutner can use to protect your savings and property, go to Our Services, or read our special report: 25 Strategies to Prevent Financial Ruin from Long-Term Health Care Costs.