Conroe Elder Law Attorney Discusses Medicaid and Asset Protection
As individuals get older they need to face certain realities. One of these is that a time may come when they no longer can care for themselves. Sometimes a nursing home is the only viable option, as unacceptable as such a notion can be for many. It is vital when considering one's Medicaid eligibility in Conroe, Texas to plan for protecting assets.
The Cost of Failing to Plan Ahead
Medicaid is for many older Americans the only option for receiving financial assistance should nursing home care become necessary. Medicare, a federal program, pays precious little, and for a maximum of a mere 100 days. Medicaid is a joint federal and state-run program that can provide assistance for an extended period of time. However, to qualify for Medicaid one must meet stringent financial guidelines. In essence, the applicant must have few assets.
Most individuals who seek Medicaid coverage wait until they are already in nursing homes. They spend down their assets in order to quality, leaving heirs nothing for when they pass. A person doesn't need to become indigent to qualify, however. Medicaid eligibility in Conroe, Texas can be procured without spending down assets through careful planning.
Proper Medicaid planning with the assistance of an attorney can enable an individual to gain Medicaid eligibility in Conroe, Texas by using certain methods by which assets are protected and kept safe for heirs. One of the surest of such methods is to set up an irrevocable trust.
An irrevocable trust differs from a so-called living trust in that it cannot be altered or liquidated by those named as beneficiaries until the trustor passes. Living trusts are not useful for Medicaid planning because they are used in calculating one's assets to determine Medicaid eligibility in Conroe, Texas and elsewhere. Assets that are placed in an irrevocable trust are considered separate from one's estate, and therefore one's assets. The trust cannot be touched by Medicaid. A trustee is appointed who oversees the management of the trust, including when further assets are added. The money in the trust becomes payable to beneficiaries once the trustor passes on, and by whatever stipulations are set in place.
Spouses of Medicaid Recipients
If a Medicaid recipient is married, the spouse does not have to suffer in want. Medicaid allows the spouse to keep half of the marital assets up to a maximum, which is adjusted yearly. Called the community spouse resource allowance, this provision also includes a minimum that the spouse can keep. Moreover, should this amount be very low, the spouse can retain the recipient's income. It is worth noting that the family home is not included in calculating whether an individual qualifies for Medicaid. It is a “non-countable” asset, and as such does not need to be sold.
For Further Information or Legal Assistance
If you have questions about Medicaid eligibility in Conroe, Texas and the surrounding communities, the attorneys experienced in elder law at Peterson Law Group will be happy to speak with you. For questions or legal assistance call us today at 936-337-4681.