Kissimmee Medicaid Planning Attorney
Medicaid provides crucial support for many elderly clients who need to move into a nursing home or who require care at home or in an assisted living facility. Medicaid is a government program that is probably best known for providing health insurance to low-income Americans. However, countless elderly clients rely on Medicaid to defray the cost of their care later in life.
If you are worried about the costs of care in your golden years, realize that you are not alone. However, Medicaid is a means-tested program. Consequently, our clients need to plan on how to protect their assets but also qualify for Medicaid at the same time. Our Kissimmee Medicaid planning attorneys can help.
The Financial Test for Medicaid
You cannot have unlimited assets and qualify for Medicaid. Instead, the state limits the amount of countable assets the healthy spouse can have as well as the amount of assets the spouse needing Medicaid can have.
Not all assets are countable, though. Instead, the following are often exempt:
- Your home, up to a certain dollar amount
- One vehicle
- Personal property, such as jewelry
- Life insurance up to a certain amount
- Prepaid funeral plan
These are only some of the more common exempt assets. Other assets, such as investment properties, cash, annuities, and brokerage accounts are not exempt.
Medicaid also recognizes that certain assets are “inaccessible” because they are not easily liquidated into cash, so they can’t be used to pay for medical care. An asset that is outside the control of the Medicaid applicant is a good example.
How Medicaid Planning Can Help
Medicaid planning is helpful when a person has too many assets to qualify for Medicaid. One option is to simply spend money so that you get under the financial limits. However, most people want to retain their assets if they can. Consequently, a good strategy is to convert countable assets to exempt or inaccessible ones. A Kissimmee Medicaid Planning attorney can help with this process.
For example, a person might invest in a prepaid funeral plan, or they could use income to purchase a new primary residence. These assets won’t count against the applicant. Even better, the applicant gets to keep the wealth tied up in these assets.
You should only try to convert assets with the help of an experienced Medicaid planning attorney. Many people make simple mistakes that leave the assets vulnerable and prevent them from qualifying.
What Not to Do
We see some common mistakes when people engage in Do-It-Yourself Medicaid Planning. For example, many people give money or assets to their children. The person often believes that they have put the asset out of reach, and it will not count against them when it comes time to apply for Medicaid.
The opposite is true. Instead, the government extensively investigates recent transfers to see if you transferred property to someone other than your spouse. This is called the “look back period.” If Medicaid notices transfers, then you can become ineligible for Medicaid for a certain period. You will not receive any benefits until this penalty period runs out.
Fortunately, there are legal options that our clients can use, including certain trusts, that will protect assets the right way. You won’t lose these assets, and you won’t be disqualified from Medicaid. However, you should work closely with an attorney to draft the right one.
Contact a Kissimmee Medicaid Planning Attorney
Engage in Medicaid planning the right way by meeting with a seasoned elder law attorney today. Our firm will ensure that you protect assets while endeavoring to qualify for Medicaid. Contact us at The Law Offices of Shea A. Fugate today.