When people save for their golden years, they generally envision themselves living in their home forever and spending their time traveling, relaxing, and spending time with family and friends. Few people picture themselves spending their last years in a nursing home, and even fewer have any idea what such a future would cost. The sad reality is that one out of three seniors in America will end up needing to stay in a skilled nursing care facility, and the costs can easily run over $100,000 per year. This amount is generally far above what people anticipate spending on themselves in their retirement. Though some think that the government will take care of these expenses, in order to qualify for Medicaid, your assets need to be extremely low, and this generally takes careful advance planning. Without this type of planning, people end up having to pay nursing home costs out of pocket until they are virtually impoverished, dashing their dreams of leaving assets to family members and loved ones.
In order to avoid this problem, it is important that you take the time to have a plan in place rather than waiting for a crisis to arise. A lawyer can help with your Medicaid planning, and the attorneys from Cohen Fineman LLC have extensive experience in creating effective plans that will preserve assets and allow you to leverage the benefits provided by the government.
The goal of Medicaid planning is to preserve assets for your spouse and for your children, and there are a number of ways of reducing what are known as “countable assets.” Most of these strategies involve either spending down the money that you have or converting them into “non-countable assets”. Some examples of options include prepaying for funeral expenses, paying off a mortgage, or moving assets into a healthy spouse’s name and having them purchase a special type of annuity. These types of moves can be made with short notice, but still require that appropriate documents permitting these types of transfers are in place. With the luxury of advance planning assets can be distributed as gifts, or long-term care insurance can be purchased ahead of time in order to prevent yourself from needing to use government assistance at all. In many cases the best answer is to establish an irrevocable trust, which provides the ability to move assets and maintain control, but this needs to be accomplished at least five years prior to applying for Medicaid or else the government will assess a penalty.
The earlier you begin to think about the future, the more options you have for how you want to approach it. The attorneys at Cohen Fineman LLC are knowledgeable in all phases of elder law and estate planning, and their legal guidance will provide you with the answers you need. Call our office today to schedule a convenient appointment to discuss Medicaid planning and more.
Learn more about our Medicaid Planning Services HERE.