Medicaid eligibility is often complicated. Using Medicaid estate planning, long-term care applicants can meet the program’s asset limits for eligibility purposes while maintaining legal protection of their assets for their families and loved ones.
Medicaid estate planning uses strategic, sanctioned methods to help aging parents balance their need for long-term care in advanced age with the desire to preserve part of their estate or resources for the family they will leave behind.
Who should prepare a Medicaid estate plan?
In short, it is wise for all families to set up a Medicaid estate plan for aging loved ones. It is impossible to predict illnesses or injuries that would require the need for long-term care, and this care is costly. Long-term care can drain any countable assets laid out in a typical estate plan, including assets listed in an existing will or trust.
A Medicaid estate plan establishes a special will or trust to protect as many assets and resources as possible in a way that will maximize inheritances but will not disqualify an applicant from the program. It is especially important when one or both spouses require care, if an existing plan is not in place or if a family desires assistance with the application or planning process.
How does the process work?
With Medicaid estate planning, the aging adult or family members structure assets and resources to preserve a family home, monetary savings, various investments and possessions when qualifying for Medicaid. With this process, a family can also get help with navigating spend-down, look back and recovery rules.
The senior can also establish a non-countable trust or distribute excess assets through a Medicaid estate plan. The process may take only weeks or span several months but provides valuable long-term security for the applicant and their family.