We often find that when families need to admit a loved one to a nursing home for care, the families ‘freeze’. This is because the family doesn’t know what to do first. They anticipate having lots of paperwork to complete, and having to make a payment. They also have to apply for Medicaid benefits for their loved one. This can all be very overwhelming and stressful for a family, as well as their loved one who is already in, or who is going to the nursing home.
Medicaid’s Five Year Lookback Period
The biggest concern most people have, when it comes to Medicaid eligibility, is the Medicaid’s five year look back period. Medicaid is the only payment source that will help you pay for custodial long term care in a skilled nursing facility. Ideally, you need to plan to protect your assets five years prior to needing a nursing home, which is not always possible. What often happens is that people go broke paying privately for long term care. It is only when they are broke, that Medicaid will start picking up the tab for long term care.
The five year look back period is a rule stating that you cannot transfer your assets within five years of needing to apply for Medicaid benefits. We have strategies for all the exceptions our clients ask us about below:
- Can spouses transfer property and accounts between themselves?
- If I have taken care of my parents in their home prior to their nursing home admission, can I have the house transferred to me?
- What about a disabled child living in the home of the nursing home patient? Is there a way to protect the home and their public benefits?
- Can a Special Needs trust protect assets?
- Can we protect a Life Insurance Policy that has a cash value?
- Does Medicaid treat assets differently than income? What is a spend down?
- Are there ways the healthy spouse can spend down their money in a practical way as opposed to having it spent by the nursing home?
- Can mom use money for a new car while dad is in the nursing home?
- Is purchasing a pre-paid funeral arrangement suggested?
- Are annuities a possibility to protect assets?
Yes, We Can Help!
The answer to all of the above is Yes, in certain cases. You may be confused about what is right for you after being made aware of the opportunities presented. If so, please give us a call to schedule a free consult. When we meet with you, we can establish the best strategy for your situation. There are still things you can do to protect assets even after a nursing home admission. We urge you to not attempt to do this on your own as it is complicated. A nursing home admission is a legal problem, and we can help if you have a loved one in a nursing home.
Call 724-546 4227 or click HERE to schedule an appointment.
We help protect assets and get people the care they need without going broke in the process.