Don’t Let Medicaid Steal Your Independence

Effective Estate Planning requires education and contemplation and expert implementation by skilled attorneys. Most of our clients come to us because they are concerned about losing all they have worked for. The best time to plan is before a crisis hits. The best time to plan is when you are well and can make decisions on your own behalf. 

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late…

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that one in three seniors will die with dementia, a disease that destroys the capacity for independent thought.  We can’t afford to think health issues won’t affect us in our senior years. Disasters know no age limits, an accident resulting in a severe head injury will limit decision making capacity. The best decisions and planning are made when you are most able. Don’t leave it to chance.

Long term care costs are the number one financial issue for retirees. The biggest estate planning mistake is the failure to plan for getting sick before you pass away. People are generally more concerned with what happens to their things when they die rather than their cause of death. Far too many families are going broke, because they mistakenly believe that medicare will pay for long term care.  Some people buy long term care insurance if they can afford it, but most people end up going broke until they become eligible for Medicaid benefits to pay for long term care. 

Medicaid Eligibility

Unless you have planned well, once you are eligible for Medicaid benefits, you are essentially broke. Medicaid is a needs-based program, so if you go into a nursing home with money, you have to spend almost all of it before Medicaid pays a cent for long term care. In addition, you lose your monthly income to long term care. Patients are allowed to keep only $45 per month, basically $1,50 per day for personal needs. It’s hard to believe that one of the richest countries in the world rewards their seniors in this way.

Assuming they will have to go broke, many seniors mistakenly believe transferring their assets to their kids will protect their house and money. However, by doing this, they have unknowingly made a capital gains mistake that will affect their children if they sell the house and it’s not their primary residence.  Also, Medicaid has a five year look-back period, so if you need to go to the nursing home and you have made transfers of significant assets in the last five years, you will be denied eligibility for Medicaid and have to figure out how to pay the nursing home. The third mistake is decision making control on that house is no longer yours, and a divorce could result in the loss of that home for you and the child whose name is on the deed.

Let Us Help You

Most people desire to maintain their independence, and not go broke. Our clients achieve this by creating a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, which protects assets from long term care expenses. If you are looking to maintain your independence and preserve your legacy, consider Elder Law Planning.  Call Sechler Law Firm LLC to learn more  or visit one of workshops. Call 724-546-4227 or register on our website. Visit

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