Massachusetts Medicaid Planning Lawyer for Asset Protection from Nursing Homes

There are only a few ways to pay for nursing home care, but most seniors who have failed to plan in advance end up paying out-of-pocket for their long-term care.

As you use your own personal resources (bank accounts, retirement funds, and the sale of vacation or second homes), eventually your life savings will run out and you may be able to qualify for Medicaid – the government program that helps with medical costs for people with minimal resources.

Understanding the Key Timing Elements of Medicaid Planning

Here at SouthCoast Estate Planning, we can help you create a legal plan that will help you protect your life savings while ensuring that you can prepare for long-term care needs.  It’s critical, however, that proper estate planning be done well in advance of when Medicaid support may be desired – usually at least five years in advance – as Medicaid laws and regulations may “count” assets that are transferred to a “Medicaid trust” for asset calculation purposes.

Medicaid Planning MAStated differently, if a senior contributes assets to a “Medicaid trust” today, and then needs to enter a nursing home next month, the Massachusetts will calculate the senior’s eligibility based on the assets that are in the “Medicaid trust”, as well as the other assets that the senior owns.  Thus, a senior could be forced to liquidate all of these assets in order to privately pay for his/her nursing home stay before being able to qualify for Medicaid assistance.

If, however, the senior does not enter a nursing home for five years after the Medicaid trust is formed (and the assets are contributed to such trust), the government will only consider the assets owned by the senior which are outside of the trust.   The trust assets then would not have to be used to pay nursing home expenses, and Medicaid would, at some point, pay for nursing home care.

As a result, if you are interested in protecting assets and maximizing Medicaid, please schedule a free consultation today.  Once we learn about the nature of your assets and your wishes, we can explain whether a Medicaid trust may be helpful.

Understanding Key Elements of Medicaid Planning

The following are frequently asked questions about Medicaid planning.  We invite clients to click on the “ + ” signs below to see if they know the answers to the questions.

No. One of the key requirements for effective Medicaid Planning is that the person “permanently relinquish” ownership of assets. With a Revocable Living Trust, the person can always terminate the trust, and thus “regain” ownership of assets. Ownership of assets can only be done in a couple of ways – giving the assets away (which could, in itself, be a taxable matter), or through creating an Irrevocable Living Trust.NOTE – it is possible that a person could have both a Medicaid trust (which is irrevocable) AND a Revocable Living Trust; however, the assets in the Revocable Living Trust would be included in the assets owned by the person when determining Medicaid eligibility.

No. As a general rule a personal residence is an “exempt” asset that is not counted when a spouse applies for Medicaid to help pay for a stay in a nursing home. So, if your spouse needs to go into a nursing home, you will be able to remain in your home even if Medicaid is paying for part of the nursing home stay. Also, if your spouse passes away while he or she is in the nursing home, you should remember that the Commonwealth won’t “kick you out” of your home and take it away from you to pay back the lien that Medicaid will have against your deceased spouse’s estate. However, after you pass away, there will be a “lien” against the house to pay back what the Commonwealth paid for your spouse’s nursing home stay. There are proactive steps that can be taken under current law, though, that you may be able to use to protect your “family home” from this “lien.” If you’d like to see if these proactive steps apply to you, just schedule your Family Legal Planning session with us now.

No. Medicare is a federal health insurance plan for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people who have disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis or transplant, There are various parts of Medicare that provide different types of coverage, but generally Medicare does not cover the long-term costs of staying in a skilled nursing home facility. So, there are basically 3 ways to pay for a long-term stay in a nursing home: 1) long-term care insurance which is a policy that helps pay for different types of care (but, many people have not purchased this type of insurance coverage by the time they need nursing home services); 2) your personal money and savings until it is all gone; or, 3) Medicaid which is a joint federal and state program that serves as a “safety-net” for people with limited resources who can’t pay for the costs of a nursing home. To discuss how you might be able to pay for a stay in a nursing home, just schedule a Family Legal Planning session with us now.

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