Advanced Planning For Medicaid

Saving enough money to pay for nursing home care is a practical impossibility for many older people and may make them rely on Medicaid for financial assistance. Planning for Medicaid qualification involves difficult decisions that have complex property and tax law implications. Also, the rules often change. However, planning opportunities do exist and early planning is essential to maximize the options available to you.

A Durable Power of Attorney is a document in which you give an agent authority to handle your affairs in the event you become incapacitated. It can be an extremely effective Medicaid planning tool if it contains a provision that allows the agent to make divestment transfers (including gifts to a spouse) that will enable you to qualify for Medicaid.

Transfer of Assets to qualify for Medicaid may be appropriate for some individuals as long as you retain sufficient assets to pay for nursing home costs until the ineligibility period caused by divestment ends. In the case of a husband and wife, transferring the home and other excluded assets to the community spouse is permitted under the Medicaid rules. Such a transfer may protect the community spouse from the reach of your State’s estate recovery program.

Purchase of Excluded Assets such as home improvements, a car, personal items, household goods, a prepaid irrevocable funeral contract, or funeral insurance can be considered. Similarly, mortgages, land contracts, loans and property taxes can be prepaid.

Estate Planning by reviewing and updating the community spouse’s estate planning documents including a new will and/or trust is advisable. The community spouse should avoid giving assets directly to the spouse receiving Medicaid. Assets can be given by the community spouse during lifetime to a trust to avoid probate and cut off the inheritance rights of the spouse living in a nursing home.

Find an Estate Planning Attorney or a Medicare Medicaid Consultant or other Advisory Resources for seniors in your area by clicking here

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