Frequently Asked Questions about

 

Nursing Homes & Long Term Care


What are the chances I'll need long term care?

How much does nursing home care cost?

How old do I have to be to start planning for long term care?

If I go to a nursing home, how will I pay for it?

I have Medicare; should I be worried about nursing home costs?

What is long term care insurance?

Are all long term care policies the same?

Long term care insurance is expensive, isn't it?

I have health problems, so I won't qualify for long term care insurance, will I?

The guy at the barbershop said his brother-in-law's best friend gave all his assets to his kids; should I do the same?

Will the nursing home take my house?

Will my revocable living trust protect my assets from nursing home costs?

How do I qualify for Medicaid?

Do I get to choose my nursing home?

Can the nursing home kick me out if I run out of money?

I'm on a fixed income; how will I make ends meet if my spouse goes to the nursing home?

My child lives with me, what happens if I go to the nursing home?

I am single.  Is there a limit to the assets that I can own and still qualify for Medicaid?

If my spouse goes to the nursing home, will I have to spend all of our money?

If I give away assets, do I have to wait 36 months until I go into the nursing home?

If I give my assets to my kids, what happens if they get divorced or die before me?

Do the Medicaid rules ever change?

Is it illegal to give my assets away to qualify for Medicaid?

What about annuities?

Should I give my house to my kids?

Will the nursing home take my Hummel collection?

What is "divestment"?

If I am disabled, can somebody make gifts on my behalf?

What options do I have to protect and control my assets?

Do I need help filling out the Medicaid application?

 



























 


What are the chances I'll need long term care?

Studies have determined that up to 6 out of 10 people over the age of 65 will need some form of long term care.  As discussed earlier, long term care comes in many forms.  the fact that most people will need some form of care during their lifetime illustrates the need to plan for such an event.
 

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How much does nursing home care cost?

The cost of nursing home care varies greatly between geographic regions and depends to a large extent on the type of care required.  The costs associated with Alzheimer patients, for example, are likely to be much higher than the costs incurred by the patient with circulatory problems.  A good estimate would place the average cost somewhere between $5000 and $7000 per month, and like all health care related costs, the costs are climbing fast.

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How old do I have to be to start planning for long term care?

There are several steps in planning for long term care, and the first step should be taken right now.  The best approach is to have your care paid by insurance, and the sooner you investigate what is offered, the more options you will have and the less it will cost.  The biggest mistake most people make is to wait until they are too old or too ill to qualify.

 

Only after you determine that long term care insurance is not an option should you look at planning to protect your assets for the event you require nursing home care.  It is seldom advisable to implement this planning until you know with some degree of certainty that it will be necessary.  What is necessary now is that you have your basic estate plan complete.  Your estate plan must provide all of the required tools so that if you are unable to manage your assets at the time nursing home planning becomes necessary, someone is appointed to do this planning as the trustee of your revocable living trust, as your agent under a durable financial power of attorney, and as your health care agent.

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If I go to a nursing home, how will I pay for it?

There are three basic choices.  First, pay for it yourself.  This is the least complicated way and the easiest to implement, but the most painful when you are paying out major dollars to the nursing home that you would rather conserve for your spouse and family.  Many people cannot stomach the idea that what they worked so hard to accumulate all of their life is now going to the nursing home.

The second funding choice is to divest your assets to qualify for Medicaid.  This is often not easy to do and requires giving up control.  It also takes away all options except for the nursing home.  There is no guarantee, given the current government budget deficits, that this option will be available in the future.

The final and best option is to get a long term care insurance policy.  This takes all of the uncertainty out of paying for long term care and preserves options such as home health care and assisted living, instead of limiting you to the nursing home.  Long term care insurance is not inexpensive, but you should strongly consider it, because it keeps you in control  It also removes any uncertainty about how you will pay for your care and allows you to sleep at night, which in the words of the MasterCard commercial, is "priceless".

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I have Medicare; should I be worried about nursing home costs?

Yes! Medicare is a health insurance program for people over the age of 65.  Medicare will not pay for custodial care in the nursing home, but it will pay for rehabilitative care in a nursing home setting for a limited time.  Typically, Medicare will pay for the first 20 days in the nursing home for patients receiving physical therapy or other rehabilitative treatment.  To qualify for Medicare coverage, a patient's nursing home stay must have been preceded by a three-night, or longer, hospital stay.  Medicare will then pay a portion of the next 80 days in the nursing home.  After 100 days, Medicare will, in virtually all cases, cease payment.  Medicare does have the ability to terminate coverage before the 100-day period elapses, if the patient is not making progress towards rehabilitation and recovery.  You cannot rely on Medicare for long term custodial care; it was not designed, and will not pay, for such care.

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What is long term care insurance?

Long term care insurance is an insurance product designed to pay some or all of a policy holder's long term care needs.  Long term care insurance (LTC) is typically used in conjunction with a person's health insurance.  As discussed earlier, long term care comes in several forms: home health care, assisted living, community based residential facilities, and nursing homes are a few of the most recognized forms.

The decision on which form of long term care is utilized for a LTC policy holder is a unique situation in which the policy holder's goals match those of the insurance company, albeit for different reasons. The insurance company wants to save on the costs of servicing the policies that they have issued, and keeping customers out of nursing homes as long as possible will advance that goal.  Meanwhile, the policy holder wants to stay out of the restrictive nursing home environment if at all possible and typically would rather receive care at home or in an assisted living facility.  For this reason alone, long term care insurance is an excellent option when available.

It is strongly recommended that anybody with a concern about potential nursing home costs consult with a qualified long term care insurance professional about a LTC policy.  This should be your first approach to addressing your concern.

Furthermore, recently enacted Federal Legislation has given individual states the authority to implement extraordinarily beneficial "partnership" programs that may provide dramatic additional incentives to long term care insurance holders.  Each state will address this opportunity differently, so it is imperative that you consult with a knowledgeable insurance professional in your state.

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Are all long term care policies the same?

No.  There are many features that can be included in any given policy, and some insurance companies offer policy features that other do not.  In many respects, you can design your own policy.  Many policies are designed to pay costs for a limited time (typically three or four years) while others will pay costs for as long as a person lives.  Some policies will return the premiums paid if you do not use the insurance, and other policies are coupled with life insurance to ensure that some benefit will be paid.  Some policies have "inflation riders" built in to ensure the payments will be adequate.  There are also policies that pay a small daily benefit and are designed simply so supplement income; others are designed to pay the entire monthly cost.  Some policies will pay for in-home care while others may not.  Also, some insurance companies are stronger than others, so it is advised to choose a company that is likely to be there when you need them.

The seemingly unlimited number of available options makes it nearly impossible to discuss LTC policies in general terms.  Like estate planning, long term care insurance is a custom-fit tool.  Each policy must be designed for the particular needs of the client.  It is important to keep this in mind when talking to fiends, relatives and neighbors about the subject; what worked for your brother-in-law may not work for you, and what was expensive for your neighbor, may be affordable to you.  Contact a long term care specialist and inquire about long term care insurance.  Typically, there will be no cost associated with exploring your options.  Be wary of standard quotes from the newspaper or the internet; without a professional's participation, you cannot be sure of what you are getting; you need to work with someone that is willing and eager to custom fit your insurance plan to your specific needs.

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Long term care insurance is expensive, isn't it?

Not necessarily.  Certainly, there are people with existing health concerns that would find, because of their condition, that even the most basic long term care policy would be prohibitively expensive.  Also, if you get a quote on the Cadillac of long term care policies with all the bells and whistles built in, you might find that such a policy can be rather pricey.  However, if you work with a competent, trusted long term care insurance professional and design a long term care policy specifically for your needs, goals, and budget, you will likely find that, as long as you can qualify for the policy from a medical standpoint, you will be able to afford it with relative ease.

Lastly, there are two important points to keep in mind when considering the cost of long term care insurance:

1) Do not let your friends, relatives, or neighbors tell you how much long term care insurance costs; there are too many variables involved, and if you are looking for a Chevy policy and your neighbor tells you what his Cadillac policy cost, you may be needlessly dissuaded from pursuing a quote.  Always seek a quote from a competent insurance professional.

2) Keep in mind that the monthly cost of staying in a nursing home is typically larger than the annual cost of the long term care premium.  Once you realize the size of the risk that you are insuring against, the cost of the premium may seem less expensive.

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I have health problems, so I won't qualify for long term care insurance, will I?

A common mistake people make is assuming that, because they have a medical condition, they cannot get long term care insurance.  While it is true that some medical conditions will disqualify you from coverage, you cannot know for sure without working with a qualified long term care insurance professional.  Many policies exist that will cover certain preexisting conditions, and the industry is constantly developing and evolving.  You have to consult a professional before you can make a truly educated decision.

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The guy at the barbershop said his brother-in-law's best friend gave all his assets to his kids; should I do the same?

It is amazing how much legal advice is dispensed in barber shops and beauty parlors.  What is not as amazing is how much of that advice is just plain wrong.  More than any other type of estate planning, a good long term care plan must be tailored to the individual family and the family's assets.  This is clearly a case where on size does not fit all.  It is true that sometimes it will work to have your assets controlled by your children, but only in a small minority of cases.  Unfortunately, most of the time the barber's advice is not only wrong, it is tragically wrong. 

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Will the nursing home take my house?

Typically, for purposes of determining qualification, the Medicaid office will ignore the personal residence of a Medicaid applicant.  This is especially true for married couples.  You could be living in a house worth $500,000 or more and still qualify for Medicaid, as long as the other criteria are met.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad nursing home advice given, and much of that bad advice centers around the family home.  Often, couples are told that they should "give the house to the kids".  There are several problems with this advice:

1)    By transferring the house to the kids, it is true that, after the appropriate penalty period based on the value of the house (see number 2), it will be protected from nursing home expenditures and estate recovery.  However, the home may now be at risk from the creditors of your children.  Divorcing spouses, business problems, or personal injury lawsuits can be a bigger risk than the nursing home.

2)    By transferring the house to the kids you have taken an asset that the state does not consider when determining Medicaid eligibility and turned it into one they will penalize you for.  Some states will allow Medicaid applicants to transfer a non-countable asset without penalty, but most, because of estate recovery issues, will impose a penalty on the transfer of the house, in the form of a certain number of months of ineligibility for Medicaid.  The number of months that the transferor is ineligible is determined by dividing the value of the house less the value of the retained interest, known as a life estate, by the monthly amount that Medicaid pays nursing homes.  For instance, if the house less the value of the retained life estate was valued at $200,000 and the state paid $5000 per month for Medicaid-qualified residents, then the penalty period would be $200,000 divided by $5000, that is 40 months, or almost three and a half years of ineligibility for transferring an asset that would have been ignored by the Medicaid office had it not been transferred.

Always talk to a qualified estate and Medicaid planning attorney prior to transferring the residence.  the transfer of the house may be a viable and important transaction, but it is often just a matter of timing.  do it at the wrong time or under the wrong circumstances, and you will be creating more problems than you are solving.

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Will my revocable living trust protect my assets from nursing home costs?

A revocable living rust is an important part of any estate plan; but by itself, a revocable trust will not protect your assets from nursing home costs.  Trusts are the preferred way to protect assets, but the types of trusts that are used for this purpose are irrevocable trusts that hold assets you have given away.  Because irrevocable trusts remove assets from your direct control, it is not generally recommended that you transfer your assets to them until it is a near certainty you will need this type of planning.  Therefore, the preferred way to plan is to set up a revocable trust along with powers of attorney that provide, if you are unable to implement your own nursing home planning sometime in the future, someone has been designated by you to do it on your behalf.

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How do I qualify for Medicaid?

To qualify for Medicaid, a person must meet two primary economic criteria.  The first criterion is income: a resident in a nursing home that is seeking to qualify for Medicaid is expected to contribute a portion of his or her income to the cost of care.  The Medicaid resident is allowed to keep a small amount of his monthly income for personal needs.  Typically, this amount is less than $100; the balance of the monthly income is paid to the nursing home for cost of care.  Medicaid will then pay the balance.

For nursing home patients with spouses living at home, income is handled differently.  In some states, the spouse at home is not required to contribute any of his or her own income to the cost of care of the nursing home spouse.  In other states, the at-home spouse may be required to contribute a portion of his or her income to the cost of care.  If the spouse at home has little or no income, he or she can pull some income from the nursing home spouse to supplement their own income.

The second economic criterion is assets.  A person residing in a nursing home must spend down their cash assets to a very low level.  The spend-down target can be as low as $1000 to $2000.  For married couples, the asset target is more complex.  the spouse that remains at home is allowed to keep a larger percentage of the family's cash assets.  Se your estate and Medicaid planning attorney for a review and complete explanation of these complex rules.

There are certain assets that the Medicaid office does not count when determining the target asset level.  These non-countable assets may include the family home, the family car, personal belongings, burial assets, and a small amount of life insurance.  Again, see your estate and Medicaid planning attorney to get a review of the status of your assets.

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Do I get to choose my nursing home?

Your options for choosing a nursing home are best if you enter as a "private pay."  This means you are initially paying with your own assets or with long term care insurance.  If you enter the nursing home on Medicaid, you may have more limited options.  Most nursing homes will have a limited number of "Medicaid beds".  If there are no Medicaid beds available locally, you might wind up in a nursing home that is not in your community, making it very difficult for your loved ones to visit you frequently.  Therefore, the best option is to enter as "private pay", so that you preserve your choices.  This is one of the reasons, people get long term care insurance, even if the policy benefit is for a limited period of time.

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Can the nursing home kick me out if I run out of money?

If the nursing home takes Medicaid reimbursement, they can not kick you out.  This is true even if they do not have a "Medicaid bed" available.  Only a small (but growing) number of nursing homes refuse to take Medicaid, so in most cases, you will be able to stay in the same semi-private room you had when you were paying with your own money.  If you were in a private room, they will be able to move you to a semi-private room when you go on Medicaid, unless your family is able to pay the difference in cost, but you won't be out on the street.  Because it is possible that the nursing home you select doesn't take Medicaid reimbursement, it is always a good idea to check this out before you enter, if there is any chance you will run out of money to pay for the nursing home.

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I'm on a fixed income; how will I make ends meet if my spouse goes to the nursing home?

It is not the government's intent to impoverish the spouse who remains at home.  In general, "community spouses" get to keep all of their income.  In addition, if the community spouse has a low level of income, they will get some or all of the "nursing home" spouse's income.  This minimum amount of income varies from state to state, but in most areas it a bit over $2,000 per month.  As an example, assume the husband is in the nursing home and the wife (community spouse) is allowed $2,000.  If her only income is $600 of social security, she would be eligible to take up to $1,400 of the husband's income.  If the husband in the nursing home has less then $1,400 of income, the wife would get it all.  In other words, if the couple has less than $2,000 in income, the community spouse keeps it all, but the government does not make any payments to the community spouse for the amount under $2,000.

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My child lives with me, what happens if I go to the nursing home?

It is a fairly common situation for a child to live in your house and provide assistance that allows you to remain at home.  It would be sad indeed, if after this sacrifice your child was thrown out of the house after you went into the nursing home.  Fortunately, this is unlikely to happen.  As long as a relative lives in your house for at least two years prior to your going into the nursing home, and they helped you stay in your home, then they will be able to remain in the house.  With appropriate proof the home can be transferred to the relative without incurring a divestment penalty.

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I am single.  Is there a limit to the assets that I can own and still qualify for Medicaid?

As a single person, you must "spend down" your assets to a very low level before you are qualified to receive Medicaid assistance for your nursing home bills.  The amount you are allowed to keep varies from state to state, with $2,000 being the most common limit.  Not counted in this limit are certain exempt assets such as a modestly priced car, a small amount of life insurance, personal property and funds designated for your burial.

Your personal residence will not be counted in the asset limit if you have expressed an intent to return to your home.  However, if you have a home with a large amount of equity--typically more than $500,000--you will need to take special steps to qualify for assistance.  In any event, the government may place a lien on your home that will be paid when the house is sold.  There are ways to either defeat this lien or to minimize it, but this requires a thorough knowledge of the rules.  This is an area where you will definitely need expert legal advice from an attorney who concentrates in long term care planning.

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If my spouse goes to the nursing home, will I have to spend all of our money?

No.  Your State has a set of rules designed to ensure that having one spouse residing in a nursing home will not have the effect of completely devastating the other spouse's finance as well.  These rules are commonly referred to as the Spousal Impoverishment rules.  Typically, the spouse at home is allowed  to retain one-half of the cash assets that the couple had on the day the other spouse went into the nursing home.  There are however minimum and maximums to consider.  The maximum amount most states will allow the community spouse to retain is in the neighborhood of $90,000 - $100,000.  This amount will typically be adjusted on a yearly basis to take into account inflation.

The minimum spend-down target varies form state to state, but $50,000 to $60,000 is a good average.  Some states allow less than $20,000, and others allow almost $100,000.  Only your estate/Medicaid planning attorney knows for sure.

As an example, a married couple with $200,000 in cash assets on the day one spouse becomes institutionalized, living in a state with a $95,000 maximum, will have to spend down $105,000 before the spouse in the nursing home can gain Medicaid eligibility.  On the other hand, a married couple with $60,000 in cash assets on the day one spouse becomes institutionalized, living in a state with a $50,000 minimum, will have to spend down only $10,000 before the spouse in the nursing home becomes eligible for Medicaid coverage.

This, of course, begs the question: how do I spend down?  To get to the spend-down target, there is really only one rule: the community spouse must get value in return for the money spent.  If the assets are given away, the state will view that transfer as a "divestment", and such uncompensated transfers will be penalized.  The "spend down" process is where the creativeness, resourcefulness, and knowledge of your planning team will truly pay dividends.  Spending down without incurring excessive periods of ineligibility, while at the same time ensuring the assets are being used effectively and in a manner that the assets are protected is the most important goal in planning.  Once again, this is where a team of advisors is critical to success.

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If I give away assets, do I have to wait 36 months until I go into the nursing home?

In the past, one of the most common misconceptions about Medicaid qualification was that your would have to wait 36 months after making gifts before you were eligible for Medicaid assistance.  That infamous rule never actually existed, but the 36-month language has since been eliminated form the Federal Statutes completely.  The new rule is that you must disclose any gifts, or other uncompensated transfers that you made within 60 months of applying for Medicaid.

 

In general, when you make a gift it will cause you to be disqualified form receiving Medicaid for a period of time.  the number of months of ineligibility is calculated by dividing the amount of the gift by the amount that Medicaid will pay for a month of nursing home care.  This amount varies form state to state, but for the purpose of illustration, a figure of $5,000 will be used.  Assume a gift of $100,000 is made to your children.  That amount will be divided by the Medicaid reimbursement rate for your state.  In our example that is $100,000 divided by $5,000, which results in a 20 month disqualification.  The beginning of the penalty period coincides with the date on which you are residing in a nursing home and, except for he gift, are otherwise qualified to file a Medicaid application.  This means, in our example, you must wait 20 months from the date of filing the application before you qualify for Medicaid assistance.

 

The new law as described above is dramatically more complex than the prior law, but opportunities to protect yourself and your assets in the event of a nursing home stay still exist.  It is more important than ever to seek the advice of a competent team of professional advisors.  As with all issues related to estate planning, it is never too early to seek such advice, but conversely, waiting is never a good idea.

 

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If I give my assets to my kids, what happens if they get divorced or die before me?

This is a serious problem and the reason why a good Medicaid qualification plan will use trusts.  The reason to give money to your children is to protect it so it will be accessible by the family if you need it in the future.  Giving your hard-earned assets to your children makes those assets subject to every bad thing that can happen to your children.  In addition to divorce, there is bankruptcy, lawsuits and your children's own medical bills.  Therefore, you should either place some assets into an irrevocable trust that will pay you income, but no principal, or have your children set aside the assets you give to them in an irrevocable trust that they set up and can be centrally managed and protected from their own problems.  Often a good Medicaid qualification plan will use a combination of these trusts.

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Do the Medicaid rules ever change?

The only thing about Medicaid that you can count on is that the rules will change.  In fact, Congress implemented dramatic and sweeping changes as recently as February of 2006.  It is, first of all, a federal program, so the federal government in Washington can make changes.  Next, the individual states can make certain changes to the federal program.  Last, at the local level, there is lack of consistency in how the rules are interpreted.  This all leads to a very fluid situation that requires constant monitoring by your professional advisors.  This is particularly true when there is a considerable time lapse between when the qualification plan is designed and implemented, and when you become qualified.  For this reason, it is highly recommended that you review the plan at least once a year, and have a final review schedule one or two months prior to the projected qualification date.

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Is it illegal to give my assets away to qualify for Medicaid?

There is nothing illegal about transferring your assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.  Proper long term care planning requires strict compliance with the law and fill disclosure of all transfers.

Many people feel that there is something wrong with giving away their assets in order to qualify for government assistance with nursing home expenses.  If this is the way you feel, don't do it.  Many other people wish to conserve their assets so that they will not run out of money and might, if they don't need everything, have something left to leave their family. For this group of people, a carefully designed Medicaid qualification plan will allow them to protect what they have worked for so hard all of their life, by making divestments in strict accordance with the law.
 

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What about annuities?

Annuities have long been promoted as a "magic bullet" for Medicaid/nursing home planning.  This view is often advanced by sales-driven advisors more intent on gaining a large commission than helping their clients.  But, while it is true that you should not assume that an annuity is the magic cure for your nursing home concerns, neither should you assume that they are not useful for the Medicaid planning process.  The fact that the "magical' effect of the annuity has been dramatically exaggerated by some unethical or uneducated sales-driven advisors has tainted the annuity in the minds of some people.  this is unfortunate, because the proper annuity, used in appropriate circumstances, is of tremendous value to the nursing home planning process.

The basic idea behind using annuities in the Medicaid area is to convert what otherwise would be considered an at-risk cash asset of the nursing home spouse to an income stream of the community spouse, which will be protected from the "spend down" process.  Annuities may also be used as a means to "buy" your way through a penalty period imposed on transfers that you have made.  Like any tool, when used in the proper circumstances they can be indispensable asset protection techniques.  The secret is to work with a competent team of advisors, including an estate planning attorney and financial advisor that view your goals as their primary concern and ar willing to work together to develop a customized plan to meet those goals.

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Should I give my house to my kids?

Earlier we discussed some of the risks involved with transferring a house to your children.  You need to have your professional team conduct a thorough review of you particular circumstances including a review of your finances, health concerns, insurance position, and your children's circumstances.  Only then can you decide whether transferring the house is a wise move.  Newly passed laws regarding the equity in a home demand that you, with the assistance of your advisor team, conduct a thorough review of your overall financial position before deciding to transfer your home.

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Will the nursing home take my Hummel collection?

This is a question we get often.  Under most circumstances, the state will ignore your personal belongings when making a determination whether you are eligible for Medicaid.  The exception to this rule are personal belongings that are of "unusual value".  What constitutes "unusual value" probably depends largely on the interpretation of the county case worker or the state.  States that are having budget concerns might be more apt to go after personal property, but in almost all cases, the cost of doing so would outweigh the value recovered.  So, unless you have an original Picasso hanging on the wall, your personal belongings are probably safe.


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What is "divestment"?

Divestment, simply put, is a transfer of an asset where you do not get full value in return for the asset transferred.  Giving money or other assets to your kids will be considered a divestment.  Often we get the question: what about the $12,000 per year that I am allowed to transfer?  That $12,000 is an annual exclusion amount that refers to gift tax issues and has no bearing on the Medicaid rules.  Similarity, transferring assets to a charity may also be considered a divestment.  Forgiving a debt is yet another form of divestment that will get some people in trouble.

Why should you care about divestments?  During the Medicaid application review process, each and every divestment that appears on the financial records will be assessed a penalty.  Too many poorly planned divestments, or an inappropriately timed Medicaid application, could result in an excessively long ineligibility period.  How to strategically plan the divestments to accomplish your asset protection goals is one of the most important skills your planning team will bring to the table.

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If I am disabled, can somebody make gifts on my behalf?

This is a very important question.  If you do become disabled and have no base level planning in place, it is likely that it will be left to a judge to appoint a guardian to make your decisions for you.  In situations such as this, the court-appointed guardian has little or no ability to plan for your long term care needs if such planning involves a divestment plan.

 

It is vitally important that you have a comprehensive estate plan in place that will preserve the ability for your chosen helpers to prepare a long term care plan, including a divestment plan, for you if you were to become disabled.  Bing able to "cross that bridge when you come to it" through comprehensive estate planning ensures that you leave your options open and maintain control of your assets as long as possible.

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What options do I have to protect and control my assets?

The words "protect" and "control" used in the context of one's assets are often considered to be mutually exclusive goals; the need not be.  The primary tool used to both protect and control assets is the irrevocable trust.  Many professional advisors that are not comfortable and skilled at drafting complex trusts may tell you, because of more restrictive Medicaid trust rules, that irrevocable trusts are not useful in the Medicaid planning arena.  Nothing could be further from the trust.  Used properly, the irrevocable trust can be one of the most powerful tools available.  Working with an attorney who is both intimately familiar with the Medicaid rules and adept at designing and drafting irrevocable trust will allow you to utilize these extraordinarily powerful and flexible tools to accomplish your goals.

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Do I need help filling out the Medicaid application?

Just as you can do your own income taxes, you can also do your won Medicaid application.  However, when income taxes become complex, it is wise to seek professional help.  The Medicaid application is almost always complex.  Experience shows that many people who try to do the qualification process themselves run into difficulty, have problems navigating all of the rules and regulations, and wind up taking longer than necessary to complete the qualification process.  Many wind up seeking professional help to straighten out the mess.  It is usually the case that you will pay more for the help after there is a problem than it would cost to have an expert do the job correctly from the beginning.

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