When you are getting near the end of your life, you may need to move into a nursing home paid for by Medicaid. An elder law attorney at Berkley Oliver, PLLC in Shelbyville, Kentucky, may be able to help you save some of your assets for your family in this situation.
If you or a loved one wants to protect your assets from either being drained to pay for long-term care or seizure by Medicaid Estate Recovery after you die, a Medicaid asset protection plan may be the solution you need. An experienced elder law lawyer from Berkley Oliver will help you understand your legal options during your initial consultation.
Why You Need to Protect Your Assets
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps people pay for medical care, including placement in a nursing home, when they don’t have the funds to pay for it themselves. Most people who end up in a nursing home eventually rely on Medicaid as the monthly cost can easily exceed $8,000 per month.
While the program supports you during your life, it attempts to recoup any losses after you die through Medicaid Estate Recovery. This means that the government will attempt to recover money from your estate after you pass away.
However, if you properly prepare, you can protect assets both during your lifetime and after your passing, so that your heirs receive the money you worked so hard to earn.
Creating a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust
One of the most effective ways to protect your assets from the cost of long-term care is by creating a Medicaid asset protection trust. If set up properly, this trust sequesters money that will not be considered a “countable asset” by the Medicaid program.
There are some limitations to this type of trust, though. First, you must create it more than five years before you apply for Medicaid. That means you need to plan relatively far in advance.
Second, once you place your assets in the trust, they cannot be removed from the Trust and you no longer have the right to control the management of those assets. Once in the Trust, the Trustee manages the trust assets – this is most often an adult child who understands the need to execute the trust for Medicaid planning purposes.
Steps to Create a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust
Assuming you qualify, creating a Medicaid asset protection trust is relatively easy with the assistance of an elder law attorney from Berkley Oliver. We will gather the pertinent financial information, discuss your long-term goals, and the likelihood of your need for longer-term care whether in the near or more distant future.
Retain an Attorney
A trust is a legal document. If you make any mistakes when setting up a trust, it will not provide the protection you want. The easiest way to avoid these mistakes is to retain an experienced estate law lawyer to help you create the trust. Every attorney at our law firm is well-versed in creating trusts and can ensure yours follows all relevant laws.
Assign a Trustee
As previously noted, you do not control the money in the trust. Instead, it is managed by a trustee that you designate. This trustee can be a relative, a close friend, a financial institution, or anyone else you trust to manage your interests. As noted, in the context of Medicaid planning, adult children are often appointed as trustees.
The trustee is legally obligated to manage your assets as you dictated when you created the trust, however, the assets cannot be returned to you in any way or Medicaid protection would be lost.
While a trust is one of the most effective ways to protect your assets from the federal government, it isn’t the only option. An attorney from Berkley Oliver will help you determine what other options might be right for you and your family, especially if you expect to need Medicaid in less than five years.
A Medicaid planning strategy that may be used with or without a trust is to identify or convert “countable” assets into assets that are not countable by Medicaid. Some assets that Medicaid will not count against you for eligibility purposes are:
- One vehicle that can be used to transfer you to doctor’s appointments
- Medicaid compliant irrevocable burial or funeral trusts that do not exceed $10,000.00
- Medical devices such as dentures, hearing aids, etc.
- A reasonable amount of personal property to make you more comfortable in your long-term care facility.
Contact Berkley Oliver to Protect Your Assets From Medicaid Recovery in Kentucky
If you’re concerned about the effect of the cost of long-term nursing home care on your assets, our law firm can help you arrange your finances to protect as many of your assets as possible. Contact us today to learn more about Medicaid asset protection.