Medicaid Planning To Help You Meet Your Long-Term Needs
Oppressive costs charged by nursing homes and other long-term care providers can threaten the financial health of the elderly, often forcing families into heartbreaking decisions. At Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, we show clients how careful Medicaid planning can address crucial health care costs while making funds available for other needs. The average charge for a nursing home in Sarasota County is over $10,000 per month, and rates are rising annually. With personalized counsel from our qualified Florida Medicaid planning attorney, you can secure coverage for long-term care while maintaining access to the assets you have accumulated.
Creative Solutions To Pay For Nursing Home Costs And Expenses
Long-term care costs can take a heavy toll on the elderly and their loved ones, but careful planning will permit you retain certain assets to be used for your benefit during your lifetime and transferred to your loved ones upon your death. Other assets can be legally transferred or dispose of to qualify you for Medicaid benefits. Of course, not every expense an elderly person incurs is covered by Medicaid, so we develop plans that permit your retained and transferred assets to be used for your benefit to pay for these additional expenses, including expenses for your additional health care. After reviewing your situation, we will explain issues such as:
- Medicaid eligibility – To qualify for Medicaid in Florida, financial and medical requirements must be met. We will outline the types of medical conditions that make an elderly person eligible for long-term care benefits and analyze your income and assets.
- Additional funds for your supplemental care – You could very well require medical attention, care and other necessities that are not covered by Medicaid benefits. To make sure that you get what you need, you will be able to access the assets that you retained or lawfully transferred to a trust to provide for your supplemental care. We will help you explore other funding sources such as Medicare, private coverage and other available programs.
- Community spouse – If you are married, your spouse is referred to by the state of Florida as a community spouse. A community spouse has the right to own a certain amount of individual assets. Many times, as a part of Medicaid planning, assets that are owned by a married couple are transferred to the community spouse. We will explore the various options available to both you and your spouse, that permits you to qualify for Medicaid benefits, but retain you and your spouse’s assets that you both have accumulated.
As the baby boomer generation increasingly relies on the services of nursing facilities and other providers of extended care, competition will increase for the funds available under Medicaid. Our knowledgeable attorney keeps apprised of the latest legal developments in this area and offers counsel that is specifically tailored to your circumstances.
Explaining The Benefits Of Medicaid Planning
Navigating the legal requirements and paperwork involved with proving Medicaid eligibility tends to be difficult for people unfamiliar with the process. Filling out an application incorrectly or providing inadequate information can lead to a denial of Medicaid eligibility and benefits. By planning ahead, before you need Medicaid, you may be able to avoid some of the challenges faced by many applicants. Effective Medicaid pre-planning enables you to do the following:
- Establish a clear plan for long-term care
- Develop a strategic spend down of assets with zero or minimal penalties for violating the Medicaid look-back rule
- Protect assets from the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program
- Streamline the application and review process
- Have a professional review the information you are submitting
- Minimize the chance of application errors and other mistakes
- Address any issues that could become bigger problems later on
Working with a skillful Medicaid planning attorney reduces the time and stress associated with meeting your long-term needs. Our elder care lawyer is a thorough, caring adviser, looking to achieve positive outcomes for every client.
Outlining Assets Included And Excluded From Medicaid Eligibility
To be eligible for Medicaid, a single person who is over the age of 65 must not own more than $2,000 in countable assets. Some examples of countable assets include:
- Certificates of deposit (CDs)
- Vacation property
- Assets in a revocable living trust
Noncountable assets, or exempt assets, are not factored into the calculation of total assets. In Florida, the following types of property owned by the Medicaid applicant are considered to be noncountable:
- Home furnishings, appliances and clothing
- IRA or 401(k) in payout status
- Income producing properties
- Certain prepaid funeral and burial arrangements
It is important to legally transfer and spend down your countable assets before applying for Medicaid. To avoid violations that could result in costly penalties or disqualification, the assets should be transferred or spent over a period of time prior to applying. A “community spouse” may own additional countable and noncountable assets. We can create estate plans which permit the community spouse to create a testamentary special needs trust for the Medicaid recipient that does not disqualify the recipient from Medicaid. Our elder law attorney can help you create a strategy that fits your circumstances.
Aiding Clients Who Need Immediate Assistance Regarding Care Arrangements
Not everyone has the ability to plan ahead for a time when they need Medicaid. Diagnoses can come out of the blue, primary caregivers can leave unexpectedly and personal savings can dry up quickly. If you or a loved one is experiencing a Medicaid crisis and need immediate assistance, we can advise you on available options for funding necessary care. We work tirelessly to help people in emergency situations.
Our seasoned elder care attorney also advises individuals who are interested in becoming legal guardians to adults. Our guardianship FAQ page provides answers to common questions about guardianship in Florida.
We Are Here To Help You
At Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, we assist individuals and families with Medicaid planning decisions and other elder law issues throughout the Gulf Coast area including Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Lakewood Ranch and the other communities of Sarasota County and Manatee County. To schedule a consultation with an attorney experienced in Medicaid planning, call 941-366-3282 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located at the corner of Main Street and Orange Avenue in Sarasota, Florida.