With nearly 200,000 enrollees in Nassau County alone, Medicaid is a valuable resource that many North Hempstead residents already utilize. As a Long Island-based estate planning law firm, we help North Hempstead residents implement a range of strategies to protect their assets while applying for Medicaid benefits. In turn, we ensure that our clients are able to preserve their legacy long-term. To learn more about the application process or how we can help protect your property from strict eligibility requirements, consider contacting our team of Medicaid planning attorneys serving North Hempstead at 516-908-8689 today.
What Is Medicaid Planning & What Is the Benefit?
Medicaid planning is a form of estate planning wherein a person’s assets and property is structured to ensure eligibility for Medicaid benefits. Due to the fact that Medicaid is a jointly administered state-federal program that provides comprehensive health care coverage, there are stringent requirements that must be met to qualify for benefits.
Many people wish to utilize Medicaid benefits to pay for costly end of life care services, but earn too much income or own highly valuable assets that prevent them from obtaining benefits. Without a Medicaid plan in place, a person may be forced to pay for expensive end of care services out-of-pocket or spend down their assets to qualify for Medicaid benefits. Medicaid planning is valuable because it avoids these unideal and financially ruinous options.
Through specific estate planning tools, it is possible to reduce the amount of reportable income and assets while still maintaining ownership of these assets. This, in turn, allows a person to retain their net worth and property to eventually pass down to their loved ones after they die.
What Assets are Medicaid Exempt?
If a Medicaid applicant has a spouse, certain assets may be considered exempt. These exempt assets are not counted when determining Medicaid eligibility and are thus protected from New York State Medicaid purview. These assets include:
- A person’s primary residence, up to a value of $906,000
- One automobile
- Certain personal belongings, like furniture and sentimental jewelry
- Assets protected by a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust
- Supplemental Needs Trusts
- Pooled income trusts for disabled persons
- Assets put in a trust by someone other than the applicant or their spouse
- IRAs, 401(k) accounts, and certain life insurance policies
Medicaid planning is governed by these asset exemptions. Skilled Medicaid planning attorneys will leverage asset exemptions in order to most effectively protect your income, assets, and property from the state when applying for and obtaining Medicaid benefits.
What Do Medicaid Planning Attorneys Do?
Medicaid planning attorneys leverage a variety of estate planning tools to protect a person’s estate from being diminished by healthcare costs or collected due to Medicaid laws. There are a variety of strategies available to meet this goal and Medicaid planning attorneys are tasked with evaluating a person’s financial portfolio to make the right recommendations. Some of the following are common elements of an effective Medicaid plan:
- Medicaid Asset Protection Trust: this type of trust is one of the most valuable tools for an effective medicaid plan. Through a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT), the trust-owner is able to transfer assets and property into the MAPT and name an individual to oversee the management of the funds. This effectively makes it so the trust owns the assets rather than the person, which allows a person to bypass reporting this property when applying for Medicaid benefits. Moreover, this option provides the added benefit of shielding a person’s assets from collection after they pass away. In some circumstances, the state may seek repayment for some of the costs of service associated with Medicaid benefits. The value of the estate may be used to pay back these debts before transferring assets to any beneficiaries. The MAPT can help avoid these issues.
- Long Term Care Insurance: this form of insurance protects an individual’s income from being depleted due to long term care services. The most basic home care services cost roughly $50,000 annually, making this an incredibly expensive option. Compared to the six-figure bill of nursing home care, many people opt for home health care. Obtaining long term care insurance ensures that a person’s income is preserved for their estate rather than paying for health care services. This, in turn, benefits their heirs.
An experienced Medicaid planning attorney will understand which planning options most effectively benefit your estate, and make suggestions that work for your unique needs and goals. They will know how to establish trusts that fully protect your assets and how to obtain insurance protection for your income. There are estate planning tools and programs that are available to safeguard your assets and property. Medicaid planning attorneys serving North Hempstead can help you navigate these tools as efficiently as possible.
Identifying the Right Medicaid Planning Attorneys for My Current Needs and Future Goals
Not all legal counsel is the same. Different Medicaid planning attorneys will utilize different strategies to protect their client’s estate. Depending on your unique financial portfolio, family circumstances, and the type and value of all property in your estate, your Medicaid plan will be adjusted to fit your needs. When hiring a Medicaid planning lawyer, the following questions can be helpful in determining if they are right for your current needs and future goals:
- Does the lawyer approach Medicaid planning from a holistic and comprehensive perspective, tailoring their strategies to your specific situation?
- Is there a certified financial planning on their team to help navigate complex issues?
- Did the attorney inquire about your goals and expectations before making recommendations regarding your Medicaid plan?
The process of estate and Medicaid planning can be daunting and it is difficult to know where to start. Understanding the different planning strategies can be beneficial when broaching conversations with prospective Medicaid planning attorneys serving North Hempstead. To make this information accessible, Michael and Ilana Davidov created Keeping it in Your Family – Protecting Your Family and Leaving a Lasting Legacy to help people learn about their planning options. This resource was designed with North Hempstead clients in mind, ensuring that their wealth is preserved and rightly handed down to their heirs.
Consider Contacting Davidov Law Group Today
Creating a Medicaid plan is critical to protecting a person’s income, assets, and property – both during the application process and after they pass away. Without a plan in place, your estate is left vulnerable. Working with Medicaid planning attorneys serving North Hempstead is the first step to establishing a plan that works for you and your family’s unique situation. To begin the process of protecting your estate and obtaining Medicaid benefits today, consider contacting our office at 516-908-8689.