Planning for retirement while the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing may seem strange, considering how many people are simply struggling to make it through the current crisis. However, in some ways there has never been a better time to figure out how you intend to care for yourself in your later years, especially if you are approaching retirement age. If you are an older American and wondering how you will manage healthcare costs after you retire, you should consider Medicaid planning as part of your retirement plan.
Medicaid planning refers to the process of organizing and protecting your assets to qualify for assistance from Medicaid, particularly for Home Care and Nursing Home care services. Medicaid places strict limits on how much monthly income and assets a person can have to be eligible for Medicaid assistance. However, there are several planning techniques an Elder Law attorney can use to assist in having certain assets excluded when determining your Medicaid eligibility, which is where Medicaid planning comes in. For example, in some situations having an experienced Elder Law attorney prepare a “Medicaid Trust” may be a useful part of Medicaid planning which involves placing certain assets in an irrevocable trust. If properly drafted and prepared in advance of requiring assistance, the assets in the Trust may be excluded from the calculation for qualifying for Medicaid.
The catch is that you cannot simply retire one day, establish a Medicaid trust, and apply for Nursing Home Medicaid benefits the next day. Medicaid has a five-year “lookback” period, meaning that all financial transactions occurring within the last 5 years will be examined and any uncompensated transfers will result in a period of Medicaid ineligibility even if those assets are now in a Medicaid trust. Therefore, it is important to begin Medicaid planning as early as possible, which will allow you to qualify for Nursing Home and Home Care Medicaid earlier than you otherwise would.
However, it is important to note that effective October 1, 2020, Home Care applications will be subject to a 30 month (2 ½ years) lookback period if you are also applying for Medicaid to pay for the home care needs of a loved one.
If you require assistance with any of these issues, or are facing legal difficulties related to Medicaid, please contact an attorney with experience in Medicaid applications. The attorneys at Hobson-Williams, P.C. have extensive experience assisting with asset protection and assisting with Medicaid applications for Home Care and Nursing Home Care and are dedicated to securing the best outcomes possible for their clients. With offices conveniently located in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, the firm provides high quality legal representation. Call (718) 210-4744 to arrange a consultation, or visit our contact page.