451 Guadalupe St #203 Kerrville, TX 78028
Office: (830) 522-4545
Total Spend Down is NOT the answer.
Protect the home
Today, one of the most stressful problems facing seniors who enter long-term care facilities is the loss of their life savings by paying for long-term care. An alternate source of funding for skilled nursing costs could be the long-term care Medicaid program. We help families establish Medicaid qualification while preserving assets and protecting the home.
When entering a nursing facility you have one of two options: The first option is a total spend down of your life savings on long-term care costs. The second option is Medicaid planning to preserve a substantial amount of your life savings, while at the same time qualifying for Medicaid benefits. There is a large information gap for families on how to access long-term care benefits under the Medicaid program and avoid unnecessary spend down of resources.
Proactive Medicaid Planning / Asset Protection
One currently-effective planning technique is to transfer assets into a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust. In a Medicaid Trust, the trustmaker retains the right to all of the trust income for life while irrevocably giving up the right to receive or benefit from any of the trust principal. The assets in the trust are not available to pay for the cost of the trust maker's long-term care.
By using a Medicaid Trust, a senior can preserve capital and still qualify for Medicaid, but only after expiration of the look-back period for the transfer to the trust (which can be as much as 60 months [5 years]). The 'penalty period' starts from the date the applicant applies for Medicaid and would be eligible but for the disqualifying transfer. Its length is determined by dividing the state's average daily private pay nursing home cost into the total of the transfers made during the look-back period. If the assets are put in the Medicaid Trust at least 60 months before application, the assets are not subject to spend down requirements and can be retained for the family.
For the Medicaid Trust strategy to work, insurance, an income stream, or other assets must be sufficient to pay for long-term care if needed during the waiting period before applying for Medicaid. A Medicaid Trust can allow the trustee to distribute principal during the trust maker's lifetime for the benefit of the trust maker's spouse, children, or other designated beneficiaries, just not to or for the benefit of the trustmaker.
Crisis Medicaid Planning / Nursing Care Needed Now
There are several planning strategies available to individuals needing to enter a nursing home in the near future. An enhanced life estate arrangement can be used to protect the home from a reimbursement claim asserted by the State. Money can be converted to assets which are not “countable resources” for Medicaid eligibility purposes. A transfer of money can sometimes result in the shortening of the look-back period, resulting in your loved ones receiving some of your savings. There are other strategies, such as entering into a caregiver agreement, which can be used to accomplish qualification for Medicaid. If your income is above the allowed level, we can help you establish a qualified income trust so your excess income does not disqualify you from Medicaid benefits.
We got into Medicaid planning after seeing firsthand how difficult it can be to qualify for Medicaid at a long-term care facility. We witnessed a married couple needing around $9,000 for long-term care. They spoke with the Health and Human Service Commission office and they were told to spend down their total assets to $3,000, then they would qualify for Medicaid.
After spending their life savings and even selling their home and vehicle, Medicaid benefits finally began. They were devastated! We began to research how to help families with home and asset preservation while getting qualified for Medicaid in hopes that others will never have to experience what this family experienced.
How We Can Help You
You don’t have to spend your life savings paying nursing home costs. If you are responsible for the management of the assets of someone who is currently in or about to enter a nursing home facility, be aware that Medicaid planning may be vital to that person’s financial health. Let us help you qualify for Medicaid before you start private pay with the long-term care facility.
We find so many times that when a client comes to us who has been private paying they realize after the fact that we could have prevented it. Even if you know of someone who is currently in a nursing home in Texas who is private paying, why not tell them about our service? It might be one of the most important calls they ever make.
If you know the guidelines and how to apply them, you will find that in most cases you are not required to spend all of your money. You can actually preserve a large part of your assets and your home can pass to your family without being subject to a reimbursement claim. Total Spend Down is not the answer.
D. Lyle Wood
I was born in San Antonio, received my business degree from The University of Texas and my juris doctorate from Texas Tech University School of Law. Before law school I worked for the I.R.S. in Austin and the F.D.I.C. in Houston.
I am a member of WealthCounsel, a national affiliation of estate planning and business succession attorneys. I participate in legal education programs at which WealthCounsel members, including attorneys, accountants and financial planners, share cutting edge planning tools and techniques. I am a member of ElderCounsel, a national affiliation of elder law attorneys.
I am a member of Elder Counsel. Through that group, and NAELA, I learn about and keep current in elder law matters, especially Medicaid planning. NAELA is the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, an organization devoted to assisting and protecting the elderly with effective legal strategies. These organizations help me to help you.
Contact us Today!
Wood Law Firm today to arrange for your free consultation at
(830) 522-4545 or complete our Request for
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Remember, Total Spend Down is the last option you should consider.
Elder Options of Texas
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