Should a Medicaid Plan Be Part of Your Estate Plan?
A Waco estate planning attorney can prepare the legal and financial documents that will ensure your instructions and wishes are followed and honored at the time of your death. An estate planning attorney can also see to it that your properties and assets will be rightly divided and properly distributed at that time.
A Medicaid planning lawyer is an estate planning lawyer who also works with older persons and their loved ones to protect and preserve the older person’s assets, properties, and income and to ensure that an older person does not lose his or her eligibility to receive Medicaid benefits.
Without the right planning, long-term healthcare costs can quickly consume almost anyone’s assets and savings. Estate planning can ensure that your estate goes to your loved ones after your death, and Medicaid planning can help you avoid financial troubles if you require long-term care.
Furthermore, the right estate planning attorney can join your Medicaid plan to your estate plan to provide you with maximum benefits and to provide your family with long-term financial security.
What Can Long-Term Care Cost?
If you are over 50, the cost of medical care is the number one threat to your long-term financial security. In the U.S., seventy percent of those who are age 65 and over will require long-term care at some point, but without the right planning, many will find long-term care unaffordable.
Here in Texas, the average monthly cost for nursing home care in 2021 was $5,125 a month (for a semi-private room). The cost of at-home care in Texas in 2021 averaged $4,576 a month. Those costs are high, but the cost of long-term care in Texas is actually below the national average.
After a thorough review of your personal circumstances and your financial situation, a Waco Medicaid planning attorney can help you safeguard and preserve your assets and savings. Your attorney will help you prepare financially for the long-term care that you may eventually need.
What Does Medicaid Provide? Who May Receive Medicaid Benefits?
Medicaid provides free or low-cost healthcare coverage not only to the elderly but also to low-income individuals and persons with disabilities. The federal government provides part of the funding and establishes guidelines for the program, which is then managed by the states.
In order to qualify for Medicaid benefits in Texas, you must be a resident of Texas, a United States national or a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or an immigrant who is legally in the United States, and you must meet at least one of the following requirements:
- You are at least 65 years of age.
- You are pregnant, or you are legally responsible for a child who is 18 or below.
- You are blind or disabled, or a family member living in your household is disabled.
The knowledgeable Medicaid and Estate Planning attorneys at Rainey & Rainey focus their planning on Medicaid for Long-Term Care (Nursing Home Medicaid).
Why Should You Have a Planning Attorney’s Help?
This cannot be emphasized strongly enough: You should not try to qualify for Texas Medicaid by simply giving away your properties, your savings, or any of your other assets. A Waco Medicaid planning attorney can suggest a number of alternatives that will be less risky and more effective.
The right planning attorney will help you establish a comprehensive Medicaid plan that restructures the legal ownership of your assets and strategically transfers your assets so that a considerable portion of your resources is not counted when you apply for Medicaid benefits.
Your Medicaid planning lawyer will also be familiar with a number of specific Medicaid planning strategies and will help you decide on the planning strategy that works best for you.
Should You Establish an Irrevocable Trust?
Several different types of irrevocable trusts are useful for Medicaid planning. Depending on your personal circumstances, your attorney may recommend establishing a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) or a Qualified Income Trust or QIT (also known as a “Miller” Trust).
The MAPT can protect your home from being counted against you when your eligibility for Medicaid is determined, while a QIT transfers part of your monthly income into the trust so that you can continue to have a monthly household income that qualifies you for Medicaid benefits.
Should You Give Away or Spend a Portion of Your Assets?
Get your lawyer’s advice about transferring and liquidating any of your resources to reduce your net worth. Incorrectly handled, transferring or “gifting” assets will disqualify you from receiving Medicaid benefits, or cause you to incur a “penalty period” where do not receive Medicaid benefits. Done thoughtfully and strategically, transferring and liquidating certain assets can qualify you for Medicaid benefits, but you must be aware of Medicaid’s five-year look-back rule.
Any assets that you gift, transfer, or liquidate within the five-year period before you apply for Medicaid benefits will still be counted as yours for the purposes of Medicaid eligibility. This is why it’s smart to begin Medicaid planning early, years before you may require long-term care.
Other Medicaid planning strategies may involve annuities, a long-term care insurance policy, or other legal and financial tools. Your Waco Medicaid planning lawyer will help you determine the exact details of the Medicaid planning strategy that is right for you and your family.
Rainey & Rainey is Ready to Serve You
Effective Medicaid planning requires the services and guidance of an estate planning lawyer who makes your needs and your concerns the top priority. The legal team at Rainey & Rainey will help you with the Medicaid planning and estate planning that you and your loved ones need.
A planning attorney at Rainey & Rainey will discuss your needs, your finances, and your options. We will help you with every aspect of Medicaid planning and estate planning. With more than two decades of estate planning experience, Rainey & Rainey provides estate planning and Medicaid planning services to families and individuals throughout the State of Texas.
To find out more about Medicaid planning in Texas, to begin the process, or to prepare a comprehensive estate plan for yourself and your loved ones, contact the offices of Rainey & Rainey today by calling 512-598-9005 (in Georgetown) or 254-752-8644 (in Waco).