In Nassau County, hundreds of thousands of individuals use Medicaid benefits to cover costly long term care expenses rather than paying for this care out of pocket. Unfortunately, obtaining these benefits can be difficult, given the strict income and asset requirements that are in place. For this reason, many area residents have sought guidance from our skilled team of Garden City Medicaid planning attorneys. There are specific estate planning tools that can be used to shield assets and property in order to secure benefits.
At Davidov Law Group, we help Garden City residents apply for and obtain Medicaid benefits to pay for long term care without needing to spend down income and assets. In turn, our clients are able to leave behind the full amount of their estate for their family and loved ones. For personalized guidance regarding Medicaid benefits and the estate planning tools available to protect your assets, consider contacting our team of Medicaid planning attorneys serving Garden City at 516-908-8689 today.
Securing Your Legacy Through Medicaid Planning
Medicaid planning is a type of estate planning that individuals can leverage to qualify for Medicaid health care coverage. Here, specific estate planning tools are utilized to ensure that a person meets the necessary income and asset threshold stipulated in Medicaid’s eligibility requirements. In turn, they are able to secure Medicaid benefits to pay for expensive nursing facility services or home health services, for instance.
It is important to employ Medicaid planning strategies well before you actually apply for benefits. Specific estate planning tools must be put in place many years before Medicaid coverage is necessary to effectively qualify for benefits. Waiting too long to develop a Medicaid plan can force a person to spend down their own personal assets and net worth to meet the strict eligibility requirements. This can have a devastating impact on their preserved legacy and the resources they are able to pass down to their family.
What Do Medicaid Planning Attorneys Do?
Essentially, Medicaid planning lawyers are responsible for assessing a person’s estate and making strategic recommendations to safeguard their assets while maintaining Medicaid eligibility. They understand the complex laws of the Medicaid program and establish a comprehensive plan to reduce the risk of diminishing their resources to pay for costly long-term care services. Some of the following strategies are commonly employed by Medicaid planning attorneys serving Garden City.
Establishing Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts
Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts, known as MAPTs, are a common element of Medicaid planning strategies, as they enable someone who is otherwise ineligible for benefits to secure coverage. This is accomplished by placing certain assets within a protected trust. When these assets are placed in the MAPT, they are no longer considered to be owned by the Medicaid applicant. Rather, they are owned by the trust.
MAPTs are an incredibly valuable Medicaid planning tool, as they allow a person to name a trustee to manage assets in the trust. The trustee is required to adhere to the rules of the trust, including how the assets can be used and distributed. Moreover, these assets are shielded from state seizure following a person’s death. When a person uses Medicaid benefits to pay for long-term care services, the state is able to recover compensation after they pass away. Placing assets into a MAPT prevents the state from collecting your property.
Obtaining Long Term Care Insurance
Data from the Administration for Community Living reports that 70% of people aged 65 and older will require long-term care services or support. Traditional health insurance does not cover long-term care, however, leading many people to seek other avenues for financial support. Long term care insurance is one such option, providing individuals with payment for home care services without needing to dip into their own accounts. In turn, a person is able to leave more behind in their estate after they pass away.
What Assets Are Exempt from Medicaid?
When evaluating a person’s income, assets, and property for Medicaid eligibility, there are certain exemptions that are made. Exempt assets are not counted against a person’s eligibility for Medicaid, assuming that the person has a spouse at home. Some examples of asset exemptions include the following:
- Your home, up to $906,000
- One vehicle
- Funeral and burial arrangements that have already been paid for
- Furniture and jewelry
- IRA and 401(k) accounts, assuming they are paying out a monthly income
- Assets held in a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust
- Supplemental Needs Trusts and pooled income trusts
- Assets set aside in a trust by someone other than the applicant or their spouse
Understanding how asset exemptions work when determining Medicaid eligibility can help immensely when setting up an effective estate plan. Medicaid planning attorneys serving Garden City can provide guidance on how to structure your income, assets, and property to maximize these asset exemptions and protect your estate.
Selecting the Right Medicaid Planning Attorneys for Your Current and Future Needs
It is essential to select the right Medicaid planning lawyers to handle your estate planning. Given the sheer number of estate planning law firms, sorting through the options can be daunting. To help determine if a Medicaid planning attorney is right for you, consider the following questions:
- Is there a certified financial planner on the legal team to assist with complicated matters related to finances and taxes?
- Do they approach planning holistically, employing comprehensive strategies to most effectively benefit your estate?
- Does the attorney listen to your goals before making recommendations?
Finding a Medicaid planning attorney serving Garden City who you feel comfortable with is critical. You will be discussing sensitive financial and personal matters with your lawyer, and honest communication can make the difference between an effective Medicaid plan and an ineffective one.
Making the decision to begin creating an estate plan is often overwhelming, hence why we wrote Keeping it in Your Family – Protecting Your Family and Leaving a Lasting Legacy, an informational book about the process. Starting here can help give you a foundational understanding of which Medicaid and estate planning tools may be ideal for your situation and goals.
Contact Davidov Law Group Today
Without having a comprehensive plan in place, you may be forced to spend down your income and assets to pay for long term care. Spending your personal income and assets on long term health care can have a major impact on the value of your estate. At Davidov Law Group, we understand that you worked hard for your property. Do not leave them vulnerable during the process of applying for and obtaining Medicaid benefits. To learn more about how we can help, contact our team of experienced Medicaid planning attorneys today at 516-908-8689.