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Medicaid Planning

Medicaid is a federally funded health insurance program for the financially eligible that can provide extensive long-term care benefits. It is now the single largest payer of nursing home costs in the United States. There is no age restriction to qualify for Medicaid, but certain income and asset criteria must be met. If your income and/or assets exceed the qualifying limits, you may still be eligible if you meet one of the exceptions. Medicaid Planning can be initiated to ensure your future eligibility should the need arise, sometimes in as little as 30 days!  

Why Medicaid planning is one of the fastest growing and most important areas of the law.

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Americans today are living longer than ever before. While this is great news, there is a downside:

70 percent of us will need expensive long-term care at some point in our lives, and 20 percent of us will require long-term care for five years or more.

Just how expensive is long-term care? Let’s take a look at some numbers:

  • The median cost of nursing home care in Washington for a semi-private room was more than $102,900 per year in 2017. The cost of a private room exceeded $113,000 per year
  • In certain situations, nursing home care costs considerably more, and costs are expected to rise in the future
  • Approximately two out of every three families exhausts their life savings within two years of a family member entering a nursing home

So are you destined to go broke if you or your spouse needs long-term care? Absolutely not. We can put a number of powerful legal tools and strategies to work on your behalf to prepare in advance for the possibility of needing long-term care in the future. We can even protect your assets if you are already in a nursing home or must enter one in the near future.

Medicaid Pre-Planning

Medicaid pre-planning, also known as long-term care planning, involves taking the necessary steps now to ensure that if a long-term care need arises (nursing home or assisted living), you will be eligible to have Medicaid pay for it. Medicaid pre-planning requires you to follow specific rules that, if not followed properly, can disqualify you from receiving Medicaid benefits for a period longer than you would otherwise have to wait.

Our Medicaid pre-planning approach is not a mechanism to give away all of your assets to ensure you qualify for Medicaid, but rather an overall planning strategy that follows the rules of law so you can legally retain what you need to maintain your lifestyle and become eligible for Medicaid. We invite you to attend one of our Family Workshops to identify how you can obtain the care you need while protecting the assets you’ve worked so hard you achieve.

A Medicaid Crisis

A Medicaid crisis is a situation in which an individual has already entered a nursing home—or must be placed in one very soon—and been informed that she or he has too many assets to qualify for Medicaid assistance. It is essential for you to understand that information provided by family, friends, social workers, nursing home staff, and even Medicaid workers is quite often out of date or simply wrong. These folks may have the best intentions, but the laws governing Medicaid eligibility are both complicated and ever-changing. Very few people fully understand them. We do.

If you or a loved one is faced with a Medicaid crisis, it is important to contact us as soon as possible. We can show you a variety of ways to obtain assistance from Medicaid. And in the process, protect your hard-earned assets.

The Medicaid Trust

One of the most powerful tools we can use to protect your assets against the high cost of long-term care is our Medicaid Trust. This customized irrevocable trust allows you to qualify for Medicaid to pay for long-term care while protecting your life savings for your enjoyment today and that of your loved ones after you are gone. The assets you preserve will be available to help your heirs pay for education, weddings, first homes, starting a business, and more.

Our Medicaid Trust allows you to appoint trustees of your choosing, including your financial consultant and a co-trustee, to manage your assets. You may appoint a Trust Protector to oversee all transactions. During your lifetime, all income generated by assets within the trust will be taxed to you, the Grantor, and not to your beneficiaries.

Upon your death, all trust assets receive a step-up in basis for tax purposes. In addition, separate trusts may be set up for each beneficiary, which provides ongoing asset protection over the course of each heir’s lifetime. You have the authority to define how and when each heir receives his or her inheritance.

In designing your Medicaid Trust, we will work closely with you, your family, and your financial consultant to carry out your specific wishes and planning goals. Contact us today to learn more about the many benefits of this highly effective planning tool. 

Join Washington Elder Law for an online workshop to learn more about Medicaid Benefits Planning