When considering long-term care planning options, we must first evaluate how soon long-term care may be necessary. The techniques used in such planning vary depending upon how imminent the need for long-term care is.
A basic estate plan, such as a simple will, directs how your estate is distributed upon your death. However, in the event you require long-term care (i.e., a nursing home), a basic estate plan does not do anything to protect your assets or ensure you will have an estate to pass.
Pre-planning should be considered years in advance, giving you plenty of time to save or allocate funds for a potential nursing home stay. Crisis planning, on the other hand, occurs when an individual has not had occasion to plan ahead and is either in a nursing home or about to enter one. During the crisis planning process, assets may need to be rearranged to comply with Medicaid’s financial eligibility criteria. In these cases, the goal is to preserve your estate and accelerate eligibility for Medicaid benefits.
The main reason people entering a nursing home do not qualify for Medicaid is that they have too many assets. If you do nothing, Medicaid regulations require your countable assets be spent on nursing home care until they fall below the applicable resource limit (between $2,400 to $8,000 depending on your income). Fortunately, the regulations permit various techniques to ensure your life savings is not lost to the cost of long-term care.
One of the biggest concerns for married couples looking to qualify for Medicaid is the financial well-being of the healthy spouse. Our office develops long-term care plans that ensures the ill spouse is receiving the most appropriate level of care while also ensuring the spouse living at home is able to maintain their current lifestyle within the community. The Medicaid program contains standards designed to avoid spousal impoverishment. There are regulations that ensure the spouse living at home is not left destitute once their loved one enters a nursing home.
Our office develops customized long-term care plans for you that serve as a road-map to for Medicaid qualification. Whether you are exploring your options to preserve your estate or need immediate financial relief from long-term care, our firm has planning professionals that can provide guidance. Call our team at Luschas, Naparsteck, & Crane, LLP 570-784-4654 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.