Medicaid Planning for the Elderly

Becoming elderly is not for the faint of heart!  It’s painful, frustrating, and downright scary at times!  For the elderly, they live everyday with the fear of the rising cost of medical care and the fear of no longer being able to make a living.  I absolutely love it when I can give the elderly some of their power back! As an elder law attorney, it is an honor to help my elderly clients find ways to preserve their assets and resources while simultaneously obtaining financial assistance for their medical expenses.

Many people are unaware that there are techniques generally referred to as “Medicaid crisis plans” which can help an elderly person to obtain Medicaid assistance for long term care in a nursing home while preserving anywhere from 50% to 100% of their resources.  Generally, your nursing home facility will either not know about crisis planning or will not be concerned with asset preservation for its patrons.  Thus, it is important to speak with an attorney knowledgeable in Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans Benefits, etc. when you enter an assisted living facility or a nursing home.

More importantly, it is wise to start and maintain a relationship with an elder law attorney long before you reach an advanced age.  Many techniques utilized by elder law attorneys are done well in advance of needing long term care, generally called “advance Medicaid plans.”  In addition, the earlier you plan for a possible stay in a nursing home, the more resources you can preserve when the time comes.  Many of my clients who are seeking only an estate plan such as a will, trust, powers of attorney, etc. will simultaneously discuss the dangers and pitfalls of failing to plan for nursing home costs and planning.  As a result, when the time comes, I will know their assets, resources, and income and will be prepared to assist them in either crisis planning or advanced planning.

In short, whether you are contemplating an estate plan or the cost of nursing home care in the future, it is time to start developing a relationship with an estate planning or elder law attorney.  This will allow both you and your attorney to be ready to deal with long term care costs when they arise.  It is never too late to start planning ahead.

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Jason Smith, J.D., LL.M., CEO, Smith Law Services, P.C. Attorney Smith can be reached at 219-240-1214.