Medicaid is often the best way to pay for long-term care costs at a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, meeting the strict income and asset requirements of this government health program is difficult. A Medicaid planning lawyer in Cape May, NJ at Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys can put a legal strategy in place for your family, helping you protect your assets while also qualifying for Medicaid sooner.
Our interdisciplinary Medicaid planning team of lawyers, social workers, and a registered nurse can explain your options for getting the care you or a loved one needs without spending down the money you worked so hard to earn.
Call us today at (856) 857-6007 to schedule an appointment.
The Difficulties Involved with Qualifying for Medicaid
Medicaid offers benefits to aging or disabled Americans who have little income and few assets. In New Jersey, the qualifications include:
- You must be a U.S. citizen or a qualifying immigrant
- You must be 65 years old or older or suffer from a qualifying disability
- Your income and assets meet the program’s strict limits
You Might Need to Spend Down All Your Assets to Qualify
Because Medicaid is designed to help the most at-need and vulnerable populations, the income and asset limits to qualify are very low. If you have savings you hope to pass down to your children or any assets you cherish, you will likely have to spend down a significant portion of them or otherwise disburse them before you will qualify to receive these benefits unless you plan properly.
Some seniors empty their savings accounts, sell investment properties, give up beloved collections, and even cash out life insurance policies in an attempt to pay for an assisted living facility or nursing home for their spouse. Finally, when there is nothing left to pass on to their children, and they have to struggle to make ends meet, they qualify for Medicaid.
Transferring Assets Can Disqualify You
Others decide to move money into their children’s names or “sell” their valuable assets to loved ones for a rock bottom price. Unfortunately, though, this can delay their ability to qualify for Medicaid. During the application process, the government will look into your finances. If it finds any evidence you distributed assets in this way, it will bar you from receiving benefits for a number of years.
This is why we recommend coming to talk to us about Medicaid planning. No one wants to have to spend down their savings, and trying to distribute your assets on your own can backfire. We can help you put a legal strategy in place that protects your assets while still letting you qualify for Medicaid benefits sooner.
Understanding How Medicaid Planning in Cape May Works
We can employ several legal strategies to protect your assets while also qualifying for Medicaid benefits sooner. Spending down your savings is not the only option. We can explain your options for getting the best care possible for your loved one while also protecting your assets.
It is important to remember you cannot simply pass your assets down to your children or grandchildren. This will put your Medicaid benefits in jeopardy. Medicaid looks back five years before your application date, so you will need to be careful about gifting money or valuables.
The Earlier You Start, The More Likely It Is We Can Save Your Assets
If you begin soon enough, we can help you distribute your assets ahead of time. Since they only look back five years, you can move your assets to a trust or gift them to your heirs without penalty as long as you do it at least five years before you require a long-term care facility. Of course, many people do not think to ask about Medicaid planning until they are already well within this window.
If you or a family member needs assisted living or long-term care now or will in the coming months, it presents more of a challenge. However, there are still legal strategies we can use that allow you to distribute some of your assets and qualify for Medicaid sooner. We will work closely with you and your family to identify a strategy that works for your financial situation and timeline.
Medicaid Planning Offers Peace of Mind for the Whole Family
While Medicaid planning certainly serves the family member who may need assisted living or nursing home care, it also offers peace of mind for the rest of the family. When your family chooses to put a Medicaid planning strategy in place, it ensures:
- You do not need to worry about the cost of assisting living or nursing home care
- Your loved one receives the care they need and can continue to live the quality of life they enjoy
- Your loved one will get all necessary medical care paid for through Medicaid
- The rest of the family has access to the money they need to make ends meet
- Children, grandchildren, and other heirs will still receive assets when you pass away
When we first meet a family and begin discussing Medicaid planning, we like to get to know the family. We want to understand their priorities and preferences, and their unique needs. Then, we can use this knowledge to develop a step-by-step plan that allows their aging loved one to qualify for Medicaid sooner while spending down as little of the family’s savings and assets as possible.
Reach Out to a Medicaid Planning Attorney in Cape May About Your Needs
At Bratton Estate & Elder Care Attorneys, we have a team of knowledgeable professionals who can help you get the Medicaid benefits you need sooner. At the same time, we can ease your mind about your family’s financial well-being and help your children receive more of the assets you hope to leave for them. Our attorneys know Medicaid law and can recommend legal strategies that let you take advantage of these benefits without sacrificing your nest egg.
Call our office today at (856) 857-6007 to get started.