“Merideth Nagel has handled several types of legal matters for us. She has handled the closing on our home, a probate matter, closing of a family member’s trust and preparation and guidance on our Estate preparation. Her staff is courteous and professional. Ms. Nagel is knowledgeable and informed on all aspects of the law and she has been a trusted attorney in Clermont for many years. Her guidance for her clients is second to none. Working with Ms. Nagel’s staff is like working with family. I highly recommend Merideth C. Nagel, P.A. for all legal matters.”
Why is Medicaid Planning Important?
To understand the importance of Medicaid Planning, one must first understand the difference between the two different government programs that are offered for senior care: Medicare and Medicaid. These two terms are often used interchangeably but the programs, while seemingly similar on the surface, are very different in practice.
Medicare is a federally run insurance program that does not have income or asset limits. It is guaranteed for most seniors 65 years-of-age or older, but it will only cover costs associated with end-of-life care for the first 100 days. This means it will not cover the costs of in-home nursing or assisted living facilities. If someone needs more assistance, they will have to apply for Medicaid.
Medicaid provides end-of-life coverage for qualifying seniors who will have to pay little to none of their own money to cover these medical expenses. To qualify for Medicaid, however, a person must meet specific income and asset limitations. We often find that individuals have too many assets to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to cover the costs they would incur without it. Without planning for these costs, the government will take your assets to offset some of the benefits that they provide.
What is Medicaid Planning?
Medicaid planning is a completely legal estate planning strategy that involves moving around your assets in a way to guarantee that you not only qualify for Medicaid, but also, that these assets will remain protected. This ensures that they can be passed on to your spouse or heirs instead of being claimed by the government as compensation for your end-of-life care.
To make sure that this is done correctly, one should look for and hire an attorney specializing in Elder Law. These attorneys are specifically trained to look out for the best interests of elderly clients and use a variety of estate planning tools to help them prepare for their future and protect their legacies, such as trusts.
Do I Need An Attorney To Get Medicaid?
Simply put, no. It is possible to get Medicaid without the use of a lawyer. In a straightforward case that does not require extensive legal restructuring, one could do it alone or with the help of a Medicaid planner. However, it is illegal for non-attorneys to do some aspects of Medicaid planning, as it could be considered unauthorized practice of law, and if a client needs help qualifying for Medicaid or protecting their assets, an attorney is who they should turn to.
To find out how we can help you or your loved one with Medicaid planning, please contact our office for a consultation today.