“How To Plan For Nursing Home And Long-Term Care Costs,” by Michael Korsinsky, Lawyer.com
“How Do I Protect My Assets from Nursing Home Costs?
This is where early planning is most beneficial. Protecting assets from nursing home costs can be done with an experienced attorney. There are various strategies a lawyer can employ to maximize the protection of assets. It is important to note that Medicaid has a five-year look-back provision. This means that the government can look back at assets that were transferred within a person’s estate for a five-year period before the Medicaid application. If the transfer was not exempt, the person may not be eligible for Medicaid for a certain length of time. For this reason, it is best to start with an attorney from the very beginning of estate and nursing home cost planning. A lawyer can help protect one’s estates through a variety of strategies that could include:
Gifts: There are tax and other ramifications, so one should consult with a lawyer who focuses on elder law.
Irrevocable Trusts: This enables an individual to avoid giving away or spending down assets to qualify for Medicaid. Assets put into an irrevocable trust are not legally owned by the individual, and there are other issues a lawyer can explain.
Revocable living trusts offer no protection from nursing home cost spend-downs.
Real Estate: A lawyer will help protect one’s property.
Spouse’s Income: The federal spousal impoverishment rules permit a spouse of a nursing home patient to exclude their own income when paying for their nursing home care.
There are additional strategies a lawyer can discuss and recommend for an individual’s personal situation.”
This article exemplifies the kind of information universally available to people after they’ve ignored LTC risk and cost, but finally realize they need long-term care or are likely to need it. The article barely scratches the surface, however. For dozens of law journal articles that explain scores of Medicaid planning techniques, see “Appendix I: Supplemental Bibliography” of How to Fix Long-Term Care Financing. Removing Medicaid as the low-cost, ex post facto, middle-class alternative for long-term care is the key to improving LTC for all … not more government money much less a new compulsory government program.