Legal-Ease: Asset protection from nursing home expenses

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Medicaid eligibility planning is a very specific aspect of law. Basic estate planning, such as wills, trusts and the like, rarely include planning for Medicaid. This runs counter to what some people might expect, but stems from the fact that the rules are many and complex, and require a lawyer well-versed and specialized in Medicaid.

While there are many rules and tools that govern eligibility, there are three primary tools to make you Medicaid eligible. These can be undertaken at least five years before the long-term expenses of a nursing home are undertaken. They are also less effective the later they are used.

The first involves giving away assets. The second relates to protected real estate, and involves detailed limitations in documents, including very specific wording and specifications within certain time frames. Third is a very specialized trust, sometimes called a “Medicaid Trust.”

This column has previously explored the big picture of asset protection from long term care expenses (commonly referred-to as the “nursing home”). Medicaid is usually a key component and foundation of long term care planning. Medicaid eligibility involves a labyrinth of rules, regulations and requirements. However, in simplest terms, Medicaid eligibility involves two big requirements and many other considerations. Planning to become Medicaid eligible usually involves the use of at least one of three tools.

There are dozens of requirements for a person to be eligible for Medicaid. Nonetheless, there are two initial, primary requirements. First, a person’s financial net worth must be less than $2,000. Typically, just about every individual thing that a person owns will be considered. Notably, many household items can sometimes be valued at “garage sale price.”

Read more about Medicaid eligibility law in Lee’s article for the Lima News, “Legal-Ease: Asset protection from nursing home expenses.”

Source: LimaOhio.com, “Legal-Ease: Asset protection from nursing home expenses,” by Lee. R. Schroeder, May 27, 2017.

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