If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home, you probably know such care is very expensive. Few people are able to save enough during their lives to pay for long-term care. Many people depend on Medicaid, at some point, to pay for their continued nursing home care. Medicaid benefits aren't available until an individual has exhausted most of his or her own assets to pay for care. Families have the additional challenge of preserving assets for a spouse who doesn't need care, while paying for the care of the spouse who does need it. This is where Medicaid planning comes in.
Medicaid planning is guidance offered to a potential Medicaid applicant before they need to apply for Medicaid benefits. This may include assistance gathering documents and filling out forms as well as helping to restructure financial assets so that a lifetime's work and saving is not dissipated to pay for care. Some assets can be converted into a form that is not “countable” for Medicaid purposes. This restructuring requires a great deal of legal and financial knowledge, particularly since Medicaid laws are constantly changing.
Plachta, Murphy & Associates has assembled a special team of professionals as part of our Elder Law Solutions client service team who understand the concerns families have when planning for a loved one's long term care. You want the best possible care for your loved one, while not risking the financial well-being of your spouse or the rest of the family. Particularly when a nursing home resident has a spouse who lives at home, we want to help ensure that he or she will be able to continue doing so.
You don't want to jeopardize your loved one's access to Medicaid, which can happen if you're not familiar with applicable rules and regulations. Even simple errors can result in a denial or loss of benefits.
Let's say Mom lives with one child and pitches in $300 per month for living expenses. She does this for three years before moving to a nursing home and applying to have Medicaid pay for nursing home care. Medicaid may see those payments to the child as divestment of assets, and they won't pay until the family has paid down the amount equal to what Mom gave away. A Caregiver Contract that details in writing which goods and services (at fair market value) are being rendered for Mom's money can help families avoid this situation.
Members of our Elder Law Solutions team belong to the Caregiver Resource Network and the Council on Aging of Kent County. The team also includes longstanding attorney members of both the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR). We work with other trusted advisers in the elder care community to provide a complete circle of care for you and your loved ones, including Medicaid planning.
If you are concerned about coordinating a loved one's needs and care, or about planning for your own, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our Elder Law Solutions team.