One of the most important things that you can do as you get older is to make a Medicaid plan. Medicaid planning is designed to ensure you can protect your assets and get nursing home care paid for in the event you require full time care. A Charlottesville elder law attorney should be consulted to help with Medicaid planning early, well before you actually require nursing care, so your assets can be kept safe.
Vitt Law Offices, PLC knows the rules for Medicaid planning. We provide assistance both in creating a plan to avoid spending down assets if you need nursing home care and in creating a plan to protect the Medicaid benefits of people with special needs who will be receiving property. Give us a call at (434) 971-3025 to find out more about how we can help with your situation and to get answers to questions including:
- Why is Medicaid planning necessary?
- What is involved in Medicaid planning?
- How can a Charlottesville Medicaid planning lawyer help?
Why is Medicaid Planning Necessary?
Medicaid planning is necessary because Medicaid is virtually the only kind of health insurance that will cover most nursing home care. Most people go into a nursing home because they need custodial care, rather than skilled medical care. This means you need help with things like bathing, dressing, or eating, rather than with things like changing bandages that can only be done by someone with medical training. Both Medicare and most private insurance providers don’t cover custodial care provided in nursing homes but will pay for nursing care only if you have a medical need.
Without coverage for long-term care, you could spend all of your money very quickly on a costly nursing home if you cannot get Medicaid coverage. The problem is, Medicaid coverage is available only to low income people with few assets and limited resources. Seniors who have saved money and acquired property over their life could thus end up having to spend their own money and sell property to pay for a nursing home. Only when their nest egg is gone would Medicaid begin to pay. Medicaid planning can protect a nest egg while making a senior eligible for benefits sooner.
Medicaid planning is also important when someone has a disability and is about to receive money from an inter vivos gift, a bequest in a will, or from any other source such as a personal injury settlement. By putting a Medicaid plan in place, the recipient of money or property can be protected from losing access to benefits.
What is Involved in Medicaid Planning?
Medicaid planning generally involves the structuring of gifts and the structuring of asset ownership to ensure that the money or property does not count when considering resource levels and determining eligibility for Medicaid. Usually, this involves creating special types of trusts so that the trust will own the assets, rather than the individual trying to qualify for Medicaid.
There are different kinds of trusts used for special needs planning and for Medicaid planning. Choosing the right type of trust and following all legal formalities for creating the trust and transferring property ownership is essential.
In many cases, it is also imperative that Medicaid planning is done well in advance of needing nursing home care. Medicaid has instituted a five year lookback rule and can impose a period of disqualification on paying for nursing home care if money or assets were transferred within the past five years. The length of the disqualification period is based on the money or property transferred and the costs of nursing care in the area. Making a plan well in advance can help to ensure that there is no need for a spend-down of assets due to delays in Medicaid eligibility.
Medicaid estate recovery is also an issue, as states can try to recoup money spent on Medicaid benefits from a person’s estate. With a plan in place, assets can often be protected both during life and after death.
How can a Charlottesville Medicaid Planning Lawyer Help?
You do not want to jeopardize the benefits of a person with special needs, nor do you want to jeopardize your own assets. Get the help you need to qualify for Medicaid while keeping money and property safe. Contact Vitt Law Offices, PLC today at (434) 971-3025 or contact us online to speak with a Charlottesville Medicaid planning lawyer for more information about how our legal team can assist in asset protection.