Education may prove helpful before beginning Medicaid planning

With the complexities of Medicaid and the likelihood that aging New York residents will eventually need nursing home care, advisors are recommending that everyone – both seniors and their families alike –learn more about the program and its eligibility requirements. Of course, Medicaid is extremely complex, and becoming familiar with the most basic elements does not replace the guidance of a Medicaid planning attorney. However, acquiring a rudimentary understanding before consulting a lawyer may help individuals know what aspects to discuss more thoroughly during planning.

Medicaid planning and adequate preparation can be extremely important for those who wish to avoid serious financial consequences. The cost of nursing home care is increasing exponentially, but there are certain strategies an individual can use with the aid of an attorney to help protect assets while still qualifying for benefits. Hiding assets is never recommended, but there are methods of converting them into a type that won't be counted when determining Medicaid eligibility.

For example, certain types of trusts can be useful for Medicaid planning purposes, but it's important to understand which ones and to draft them correctly. Revocable trusts can be modified at any time and thus are best avoided when doing Medicaid planning. On the other hand, irrevocable trusts can be very useful in the Medicaid planning process.

There are also ways to work with annuities, pensions and more to help an individual qualify for Medicaid assistance without quickly depleting a lifetime of savings and retirement. Education on these matters can prove helpful and insightful, but a lawyer can always answer any questions that aging New York residents or their families may have on these or any other Medicaid planning matters. The sooner an individual begins to prepare, the more beneficial it will be, but a New York Medicaid planning attorney's counsel will always prove invaluable.

Source: chicagotribune.com, "Before you need nursing care, bone up on Medicaid eligibility", Elliot Raphaelson, Jan. 3, 2018

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