When seniors suffer a major health crisis, they are often faced with decisions that affect the quality of life for themselves and their family and often find themselves at the mercy of a cold and unforgiving system. Medical care and/or long term care can easily drain a family of all of their assets, creating problems for the remaining dependents. In many families, some family members are financially supporting children, siblings, parents or spouses who suffer major illnesses or disabilities and have no other resources available.
Asset protection for seniors is becoming more critical as people are living longer, suffering from more debilitating diseases, and are requiring more long term care than ever before. Family members who used to be the caregivers now live in different cities, are often dealing with their own children and are usually part of dual income families who can’t drop everything to care for an aging or ill loved one.
“Medicaid planning” consists of actions taken to reposition assets in an effort to protect the well spouse and to promote the independence and quality of life for the Medicaid beneficiary. For years, the repositioning of assets has been an accepted practice and a viable tool for America’s middle class. Some options available to you may allow you to become Medicaid eligible right away, and protect thousands of dollars from nursing home expenses.
Insurance companies have made great strides in their development of long term options. These insurance products are a solid planning tool recognized by elder law attorneys and should be considered by anyone who is healthy and preferably, in or before their early 40’s. However, they are not the answer for all people in all situations. In fact, if someone has already been diagnosed with an illness or is at or around retirement age the insurance is generally either unavailable or unaffordable.
In these cases, an elder law attorney can provide options related to Medicaid planning, and protecting clients’ assets from nursing home costs. In many cases, clients can become Medicaid eligible within a short period of time without incurring an ineligibility period. Clients can often save thousands of dollars from nursing home expenses.
Elder law attorneys are often dealing with clients who are in desperate need of planning for themselves and their loved ones. Often these clients have waited until disaster has struck before contacting an attorney and their options are extremely limited.
It is the elder law attorney’s obligation to explore and present ALL available options to a family in this situation. While the Medicaid program was originally intended for the poorest segment of our population, it is sometimes the only option for middle class individuals as well.
What should you do when you and your family are facing the devastating situation of a loved one’s becoming incapacitated, and your family does not have the resources available to pay for the long term care needs?
When you are undergoing this situation it is recommended that you talk to a legal professional so that you can understand the options available to you and your family.
It is important that you receive this information so that your assets can be protected. There are specific rules associated with the transfer of assets when dealing with Medicaid eligibility. Transferring assets without complying with these rules could result in long periods of ineligibility, which could result in financial disaster for your family.
Your visit with our elder law attorney in Belleville, Illinois, our elder law attorney in St. Louis, Missouri, or anywhere in the Metroeast, can help protect you and your family. all us for your free consultation and find out what your options are and how you can protect those you love.
The content on this page is provided in part by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), Eye on Elder Issues, June 2004 newsletter.