Medicaid Crisis Planning
Serving Clients in Berks County and the Surrounding Area
Sudden Changes and Big Decisions
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are notoriously expensive. Long-term care costs can quickly eat into a lifetime of savings and wipe out the assets a person has worked hard to accumulate during their life.
If you do not want this scenario to happen to you, you should look into Medicaid crisis planning, which is a term used to describe legal steps and strategies that could potentially save you some or all of your assets.
Medicaid crisis planning requires a good understanding of Medicaid laws. If you want to plan ahead and do not want to lose your assets in the event of a sudden disability or catastrophic event, our Medicaid crisis planning attorneys at Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC, can help.
We can provide valuable legal advice and help you explore your options for preserving as many assets as possible. With an office located in Berks County, PA, we help clients with their estate planning needs, including Medicaid crisis planning, throughout Berks County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County, Schuylkill County, Chester County, and neighboring counties.
What Is Medicaid Crisis Planning?
Many people fail to properly plan for the costs of their future long-term care and end up having their wealth and assets wiped out by those costs when a sudden illness strikes. That is why planning ahead is so important to avoid financial and emotional hardships in the event of incapacity, disability, or medical crisis that would require you to live in a nursing home or another long-term care facility.
With Medicaid crisis planning, you can use strategies that allow you to pay for long-term care without depleting your life savings. The goal of Medicaid crisis planning is to help you preserve as many assets as possible while also making sure that you qualify and receive Medicaid benefits.
Contact a skilled attorney to discuss your particular situation and explore the Medicaid crisis planning strategies that may be available to you.
Common Misconceptions About Crisis Planning
Unfortunately, many people have preconceived ideas about Medicaid crisis planning, many of which are wrong. Let’s review some of the most common misconceptions about Medicaid and crisis planning:
- You can only become eligible for Medicaid by giving your assets away. As you may know, there is an asset limit to qualify for Medicaid. Some people mistakenly believe they can become eligible for Medicaid by making gifts or selling and transferring their assets to family members and friends. However, when you apply for Medicaid, the state Medicaid agency will review your financial transactions, gifts, and asset transfers for the past five years from the application date. This is known as the “look-back period.” If the agency finds any transactions, gifts, or transfers within the five-year window, you will be disqualified from receiving Medicaid benefits for months or years.
- It is too late to start Medicaid crisis planning. Wrong. The truth is, it is never too late to begin planning for your long-term well-being, no matter how old you are and what your circumstances are. If you do nothing now, you might regret not planning later in your life. Even if you or your loved one is already in a nursing home, it is not too late to start Medicaid planning.
- Medicaid crisis planning is illegal because it involves hiding assets. When done with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, Medicaid crisis planning is not illegal. The goal of smart Medicaid crisis planning is to ensure that you can pay for long-term care costs and avoid losing your life savings without having to take advantage of the system.
- The nursing home will do it for you for free. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities provide a wide range of health and personal care services, which can be critical for those who cannot care for themselves. However, do not expect the facility or its staff to help you with Medicaid planning (at least not for free) when you cannot pay for the costs of long-term care services.
Do not let your misconceptions about Medicaid crisis planning to ruin your future and legacy. You deserve to know the truth. Our Medicaid crisis planning attorneys in Berks County, PA, can assist you in navigating the laws concerning Medicaid.
Medicaid Crisis Planning Strategies to Consider
There are a number of Medicaid crisis planning strategies that may allow you to protect your assets and become eligible for Medicaid benefits:
- Spend down excess assets. If you are ineligible for Medicaid because of the asset limit, there could be ways to spend down your excess assets without violating the “look-back period” rule.
- Half-a-loaf transfer. This strategy involves gifting half of your assets to your heirs (a violation of the “look-back period” rule) and using the remaining half to pay for long-term care during the penalty period.
- Annuities. The “annuities” strategy may be appropriate when only one spouse applies for Medicaid. It involves paying a lump sum of money to an insurance company. The insurer then pays the non-applicant a monthly payment.
- Divorce. Some married individuals may opt for divorce to terminate their marriage to protect the non-applicant spouse’s assets and lower the countable assets of the spouse who applies for Medicaid.
- Medicaid asset protection trust. Another Medicaid crisis planning strategy involves setting up a Medicaid asset protection trust to protect your assets from being counted towards the asset limit when applying for Medicaid. The trust also preserves your assets for your heirs as an inheritance.
- Spousal refusal. While the non-applicant spouse is obligated to help their applicant spouse pay for the cost of Medicaid long-term care, they can refuse to do so. Spousal refusal is a Medicaid crisis planning strategy because Medicaid cannot legally deny care to an applicant if their spouse refuses to help cover the costs of long-term care.
These are only a handful of Medicaid crisis planning strategies that may be available to you. However, before you take any steps to plan for your future, reach out to an experienced attorney. A Medicaid crisis planning attorney will explain all available strategies that would be appropriate in your particular situation.
Medicaid Crisis Planning Attorneys Serving Reading, Pennsylvania
Time is of the essence when it comes to planning ahead. The sooner you take action, the more Medicaid crisis planning strategies will be available to you and the more money and assets can be saved. At Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC, our Medicaid crisis planning attorneys in Berks County, PA, create strategies and planning solutions tailored to each client’s unique goals and circumstances. Contact our office to formulate a plan that works for you.