For many people, creating a financial plan for their senior years might not feel like a priority. However, it is more important than ever to consider the resources necessary for any future long-term care or assisted living. In many cases, Medicaid is the primary option available to cover the cost of this care.
However, not every senior will qualify for Medicaid. For many seniors on the cusp of eligibility, the decisions they make regarding the expenditure of their assets later in life could make the difference in qualifying for Medicaid or not.
To that end, the Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys can assist in planning out the steps necessary to qualify for Medicaid in the future. To develop a personalized plan that can ensure your future care, call (856) 292-8157 to speak with a Mount Laurel Medicaid planning lawyer from our firm as soon as possible.
How Medicaid Planning Works
It is vital to remember that Medicaid is a needs-based program. To provide for the health of those who need it the most, the government applies strict limits on assets and financial transactions to ensure federal dollars are spent on those who need them the most. However, these rigid rules often punish seniors who have managed their resources well but still require additional assistance late in life.
Following an application for Medicaid, the government will review your financial transactions during what is known as the look-back period. This period is the five-year span immediately prior to the filing of your application. They will carefully review all of your financial transactions in an effort to uncover hidden assets or fraudulent attempts to transfer assets in an effort to meet the limits for Medicaid.
Ideally, the process of planning for an application for Medicaid benefits will begin more than five years in advance. With this much lead time, it could be possible to protect your children’s inheritance or create an irrevocable trust that secures your assets without costing you eligibility for Medicaid.
Additionally, it is also a viable option to donate your assets to charity, gift them to friends or loved ones, or fund a non-profit. Failure to take these steps more than five years in advance could have steep financial consequences, including the possibility of a Medicaid spend-down. Although we help many families protect assets even during the five-year lookback.
The Possibility of a Spend-Down
Federal law is clear: as a needs-based program, you must comply with strict asset limitations to qualify for Medicaid. Should you retain a higher income or asset level than Medicaid allows, you could be forced into a Medicaid spend-down until your assets are depleted. This is according to the New Jersey Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS).
A Medicaid spend-down requires you to pay your medical expenses out of your own pocket until your assets become virtually depleted. Once you have spent your life savings on medical care, you can then qualify for coverage under Medicaid.
Individuals that attempt to shift or give away their assets during the five-year lookback period could face Medicaid penalties. In addition to the potential for a spend-down, you could also be forced to reapply for benefits all over again at the end of the penalty phase.
Given a choice between doling out assets as they see fit or emptying their life savings to pay for expensive end-of-life care, most people would prefer the former. Unfortunately, bad planning could force you into choosing between passing on your life’s savings to your loved ones or affording the care you need as you grow older.
Medicaid planning can help you avoid these difficult choices. With the help of Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys, you can make a long-term plan that provides for both your loved ones and your own needs. To get started with the planning process, reach out to a Mount Laurel Medicaid planning lawyer at (856) 292-8157 right away.
The Unseen Benefits of Medicaid Planning
The uncertainty of how you might spend your senior years can be overwhelming. Aging can be challenging on its own, but high levels of uncertainty may spike unwanted stress. If you are unsure of how to secure your future and protect your assets, building a plan to qualify for Medicaid in the future is a good place to start.
The most important benefit of working with Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys is the peace of mind that comes with knowing your future is secure. With a strong plan for future Medicaid benefits, you can enjoy the confidence of knowing you are set, even in a future where you can no longer make your own healthcare decisions.
Medicaid planning does more than secure your future medical needs. It can also stabilize the financial future of your family, as well. Planning for the future can allow you to distribute your assets in a legal way that will not jeopardize your future access to Medicaid.
Our process covers more than just the bare minimum required to comply with Medicaid means-testing. We also learn about you and your family, putting us in a position to help you build a comprehensive plan for the future.
Protect Your Future with the Help of a Mount Laurel Medicaid Planning Lawyer
Once we meet with you and discuss your needs, our team of skilled attorneys can begin the process of putting your Medicaid plan into action. We understand how to comply with the law and ensure your wishes regarding your property are respected.
To get started with the Medicaid planning process, contact Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys right away. Call (856) 292-8157 to schedule a confidential case evaluation with a Mount Laurel Medicaid planning lawyer today.