It doesn’t seem right that you can work hard your whole life, raise a family, and stay out of debt, and you still can’t afford the nursing home or home care you or your spouse need as you age. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many senior citizens in New York. While you have relied on Medicare for most of your healthcare costs, Medicare will not pay for a nursing home, so your only option is to use up your life savings—which will go quickly because of the high cost of care. However, if you have planned ahead with the help of an experienced elder law attorney, you won’t have to worry quite so much about facing this difficult situation.
What an Elder Law Attorney Can Do for You
Elder Law is a specialized area of estate planning law that deals with issues facing people as they age. Our elder law services include things like asset protection, Medicaid planning, guardianships, and powers of attorney for the elderly. At Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group, P.C., we have helped hundreds of seniors and their concerned children plan for the possibility of failing health, disability, and dementia with our compassionate elder law services.
What Is Medicaid Planning?
Most people know Medicaid as the government medical assistance program for people under a certain income level. Where Medicare pays for doctors, hospitals, and prescriptions, it does not cover long-term nursing home or in-home care for the elderly. Medicaid is a valuable tool that can be used to pay for a nursing home or in-home care if the person’s countable assets are below a certain amount. While income and assets held in bank accounts, investment accounts, and second homes are “counted” when determining eligibility, the following assets are not:
- Primary residence (If the primary residence remains in the applicant's name, it will be subject to a lien or claim against the property for Medicaid reimbursement. Therefore, it is recommended that the personal residence be transferred to a Medicaid trust.)
- One vehicle
- Personal property and household belongings
- Some life insurance and funds set aside for burial
- Assets held in specific kinds of trusts
It is this last exemption that allows people to plan ahead so that they can qualify for Medicaid benefits to pay for a nursing home. If your countable assets exceed the limit for Medicaid, you may be able to put those assets in a certain kind of irrevocable living trust so that they will not be counted toward your assets when applying for Medicaid. Some important factors to consider are the following:
- There is a five-year lookback period for nursing home Medicaid. These trusts must be established at least five years before nursing home care is needed, or you will not qualify for Medicaid. If you or your loved one has not planned ahead, a Medicaid trust may not be an option.
- There is a one-month lookback period for home care Medicaid. There is a common misconception that applicants for home care Medicaid are always subject to the five-year lookback period on the transfer of assets. However, in New York, if an applicant transfers all of the non-exempt assets to a Medicaid trust, they will be financially eligible for home care Medicaid on the first of the following month.
- Medicaid application for home care and nursing home. At Landskind & Ricaforte, we take the confusion and stress away from you and your family by completing the Medicaid application for you. Additionally, we can preserve your income by applying to one of many of New York's pooled income trusts.
Medicaid planning is a complex area of elder law, and every client has unique needs and desires. Our attorneys will work with you to find the best solution to getting top-quality care without losing your life savings.
Compassionate, Responsive Attorneys
We are a small, family firm committed to forming personal and lasting relationships with our clients. We have done this kind of planning for our own parents and are very empathetic to our clients’ hopes for the future. When you work with us, you will have our personal cell phone numbers and can text us when you need help. You will not find a more responsive legal team in New York. Call to discuss your situation with us today. We're looking forward to meeting you.