Comprehensive Medicaid Planning
As advances in medical care and scientific research continue to extend the human lifespan, many seniors worry about what will happen to their savings if they fall ill or suffer a debilitating disease. We have all heard horror stories of significant retirement assets wiped out by sky-high medical bills and long-term care expenses. Understandably, elders worry about being forced to spend everything they own just to qualify for Medicaid.
If you or a loved one has concerns about the future, I can explain your options and help you create a comprehensive estate plan tailored toward preserving your assets. At the law office of Gregory H. Zogran, my focus is on identifying my clients’ goals and offering solutions that exceed them. Whether you want to safeguard assets from Medicaid liability or appeal a denial of benefits, I provide unmatched client care and the personal attention you deserve. Along with my support staff – many of whom have been with me for more than 20 years – I am committed to helping people understand their rights and how to protect them.
The Importance of Planning Ahead
It is human nature to delay what we perceive as unpleasant tasks. As a result, many people fail to plan for old age or a sudden illness until it is too late. They assume they must sell off all their assets and lose their home to qualify for Medicaid assistance if they become sick. In reality, proper planning can allow you to keep what you have worked so hard to build.
Medicaid is a federal program administered by the individual states. Because Medicare – which provides health insurance for the majority of our nation’s seniors – only pays for up to 100 days of skilled nursing care, people must turn to Medicaid to cover nursing home expenses. With skilled care facilities costing anywhere between $4,000 and $6,000 a month on average, even a short stay in a nursing home can quickly obliterate decades’ worth of assets.
In Florida, Medicaid benefits are administered by the Agency for Health Care Administration, with eligibility determined by the Department of Children and Families. When you apply for Medicaid benefits, you are allowed to exempt certain assets when calculating your eligibility. These exempt assets include:
- Your home up to a fair market value of $543,000
- One car
- Personal property
- Prepaid funeral expenses
- Home furnishings
- Certain types of whole life insurance
To be eligible, you must also satisfy monthly income requirements. For married couples, the spouse in need of long-term care, called the “institutionalized spouse”, can only receive $2,163 a month as income. Although there are no limits on how much the healthy, or “community”, spouse can receive monthly, he or she can only maintain $117,240 in overall assets. When you factor in retirement accounts and a lifetime of savings, this figure is not a significant amount of money for most people.
Because Medicaid imposes a penalty period for any asset transfers within five years of applying for benefits, it is important to plan early. To avoid sacrificing real estate, bank accounts, and other important property to this five-year look-back rule, it is crucial to work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
A Law Firm Here to Help
At the law office of Gregory H. Zogran, I handle all areas of Medicaid planning. I will work with you to create a personalized plan that addresses your concerns and furthers your interests. Together, we will discuss:
- Medicaid eligibility
- The five-year “look-back rule” and what it means for you
- Asset protection
- Medicaid trusts
- Irrevocable trusts
- Asset transfer
Helping You Achieve Your Estate Plan Goals
Call my office at 772-220-9699 to talk about your Medicaid goals. Together, we can create an estate plan that maximizes your ability to hang onto what you have spent a lifetime building. Find out how planning ahead can provide invaluable peace of mind about the future.