Medicaid planning in New York: The sooner, the better

Medicaid planning for nursing home and home health care expenses in New York is almost essential, no matter what situation families with elderly relatives find themselves in. The fact of the matter is that long-term elder care requires some sound Medicaid planning if families want to avoid depleting a lifetime of careful savings in a shockingly brief period of time. Especially as individuals age and the chance increases for the development of complicated, slow-working diseases like Alzheimer's, it's nearly impossible to estimate just how substantial the total costs of health care may end up being.

Long-term nursing home or in-home care for an individual with Alzheimer's or similar conditions can quickly deplete all of an elderly individual's assets. This, then, leaves nothing for any children or relatives to inherit, no matter how carefully the individual has saved over the years. If and when Medicaid does kick in, individuals can only qualify after they are left with almost no remaining assets or savings.

This is why Medicaid planning can be so important. However, Medicaid's rules and regulations are complex and strict. As only one example, the federal program's five-year look-back period gives administrators the authority to look at all properties transferred and any large monetary gifts given with the previous five years, and can result in penalties or even outright disqualification.

With the guidance of an experienced New York Medicaid planning attorney, however, there are legal means to ensure that a lifetime of savings isn't drained to pay for end-of-life care in just a few short months. Legal methods such as transferring property to a trust held in adult children's names, for instance, can help make sure children aren't left on-the-hook for their parents' health care costs. However, while it's almost never too late to do at least some good, the sooner professional Medicaid planning is begun, the more beneficial it will be.

Source: houstonchronicle.com, "Elder care requires smart financial planning", Michael Taylor, Dec. 8, 2017

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