A major aspect of elder law is planning for your own care later in life. Americans are living longer, but those extra years often involve health problems that require a nursing home, assisted living facility, or may require a significant amount of in home care.
Even if you have saved meticulously throughout your life, paying for these expenses can completely drain your assets. Many people believe that you have to spend all of your assets prior to obtaining assistance with the payment of these services. With sound planning and the use of a skilled elder law attorney, this is not true. Moore Law, LLC assists our clients in obtaining these services and potentially qualifying for Medicaid while protecting a significant portion of your assets and ensuring that your spouse is financially secure.
One common case seen at Moore Law, LLC is when a married couple, whether they have been married for decades or just recently married, now face the difficult reality that one of them will need to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility. They can afford a couple years’ worth of expenses, but paying for it out of pocket would mean there’s nothing left for the spouse at home who is still relatively healthy and needs assets to live the rest of their life.
Medicaid planning is often the solution. In cases like this, we can generally preserve the majority of the couple’s assets and income. Our office works with our clients to gather the asset information, and use the current Medicaid rules, along with our knowledge of these rules, and create a plan to make sure the spouse at home is able to maintain their same standards of living.
We are often asked: Does the couple need to get a divorce for this to happen? Thankfully, the answer is no! Under the current rules, the nursing home spouse can qualify for Medicaid and the at-home spouse can retain the vast majority of the couple’s assets WITHOUT getting divorced.
If you are divorced, widowed or otherwise unmarried and need to go into a nursing home or an assisted living facility, you can still generally qualify for Medicaid while still preserving up to half of your cash assets. Here’s how it works:
We will take the time to inventory all of your assets and debts and will work within Medicaid rules to hopefully set aside 50 percent of your assets to be used for your future care or to be given as an inheritance to your children (or other loved ones). The remaining 50 percent would be used to pay the nursing home as a result of gifting the first half. After that money runs out, your nursing home stay will be covered by Medicaid. Many people know that Medicaid has a five-year look-back period in Indiana. Our plan works within these rules to legally preserve assets while also acknowledging the penalty associated with any gifts given within that five-year period. A skilled elder law attorney knows the Medicaid rules which will allow them to work to preserve these assets legally and within the accepted standards set by Medicaid. Without a skilled attorney you may lose more assets than necessary to pay for your loved ones care.
Medicaid waivers are an important benefit that are not nearly as well-known as they should be. An individual living at home who otherwise qualifies for nursing home care can arrange for skilled and unskilled workers to help them at home and have the costs covered by Medicaid. This option is especially useful for couples who might otherwise be separated by one spouse’s need to be in a nursing home. Under the same planning techniques outlined above, our office can explore this little known but significant program to try and help keep you or your loved one at home while receiving the care they need.
Moore Law, LLC, is based in Batesville. We serve clients throughout southeastern Indiana and the rest of the state. To get case-specific advice from a lawyer in an initial consultation, call us at 812-932-1227 or send us an email.