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Oklahoma Estate Attorneys, PLLC.

How Much In Countable Assets Can A Single Person Have And Still Qualify For Medicaid To Pay For Their Long-Term Care?

A single person can only have $2,000 in countable assets to still qualify for Medicaid assistance. Fortunately, however, our office has a Medicaid Planner who is nationally certified (CMP). With qualified guidance, you can convert many of your countable assets into uncountable assets. This can be a terrific benefit to your children, grandchildren, and yourself. Unfortunately, many attorneys in Oklahoma will be happy to tell you that your homestead is an exempt asset as far as Medicaid is concerned. This is unfortunate because they are only partially correct, and dangerously close to incorrect. Yes, you may have a house and still qualify for Medicaid, but the caveat is that pretty quickly Medicaid is going to file a lien on the house for everything they spent for your care. That number is likely to ratchet up very quickly until you have no equity at all. Therefore, be careful whose advice you follow when you are doing Medicaid planning. You cannot afford to follow the advice of attorneys and social workers who tell you that you don’t have to worry about your house. They’re absolutely wrong in the long run.

I Hold Joint Accounts With My Children. Are These Accounts Safe From Medicaid?

Sadly, if you hold joint accounts with your children, those accounts are not safe from Medicaid. Your children are not going to be able to keep those bank accounts while you receive Medicaid assistance unless the accounts are very tiny. If you have less than $2,000 in countable assets, then it’s not a problem. But, if you are doing this research, you probably have more than $2,000 that you’re worried about. So, you should keep in mind that the fact that your child is a joint tenant on your bank account provides absolutely no protection at all. Further, if your child has added you to their bank account, that’s possibly even worse.

Please do not practice law on yourself unless you went to school and became a Certified Medicaid Planner. Seek out qualified guidance from a certified Medicaid planner. We hope that you consider enlisting one from Oklahoma Estate Attorneys, PLLC.

Are My Assets Safe In A Revocable Living Trust?

Revocable living trusts are a wonderful tool in the toolbox of estate plans. They are completely flexible and useful in many ways. They do not, however, offer protection from the costs associated with long-term care and Medicaid qualification issues. Everything in your revocable living trust is on the hook for all of your expenses, including long-term care assistance. Additionally, all of the value held in your revocable living trust counts against you for the purpose of determining your qualification for Medicaid. And so, the answer is no. A revocable living trust does not provide any protection when it comes to Medicaid, lawsuits, and medical care expenses. Please seek out the assistance of a Certified Medicaid Planner. You will find one at Oklahoma Estate Attorneys, PLLC.

Will My Spouse Be Left Without Income And Assets If I Need Medicaid?

If you need Medicaid assistance, your spouse has a substantial risk of losing some assets, and possibly, a lot of assets. Fortunately, our office can minimize and often completely eliminate those losses if we have the opportunity to assist in advance. At the very instant that someone in your family appears to be headed towards long-term care, someone should get in touch with us and engage our office to assist. We can help in that situation. On many occasions, we have completely eliminated the loss of income and assets to the spouse who is able to stay at home. This is a terrific long-term financial benefit, and you should not take this opportunity lightly. But, if you don’t do any planning nor seek assistance, you’re going to be left at the mercy of the government. That’s a situation you do not want to be in. Contact Oklahoma Estate Attorneys, PLLC, and ask to speak to a Certified Medicaid Planner to save income and assets for the spouse who remains at home.

Can’t I Just Give Away All Of My Property To Qualify For Medicaid?

You should not give away all of your property to qualify for Medicaid. Please do not try this. It will not work. Here’s what happens: My friend Anna gave away her $150,000 home in an effort to qualify for Medicaid. She did this by signing a deed over to a family member. Unfortunately, my client suffered a horrible health setback about 40 months later and had to go into long-term care. But, because she had given away this $150,000 home, Medicaid imposed a penalty period of almost three years. Therefore, my client was unable to get Medicaid assistance, had to move out of the long-term care facility, and move into the home of a family member. Even more unfortunate, that family member was not qualified to give the rehabilitation and nursing care that my client desperately needed. Do not fall into this common and foolish trap of giving things away because you think that Medicaid won’t notice. It’s a game you’re going to lose. Seek out the assistance of a well-qualified Certified Medicaid Planner, and hopefully, you will use one from our office at Oklahoma Estate Attorneys, PLLC. Call us for assistance.

Can’t I Just Use Medicare To Pay For My Nursing Home?

The terms “Medicare” and “Medicaid” often confuse people, even attorneys. So, let’s dive into it with a bit more detail. First, Medicare is very much like traditional medical insurance. It will pay for things like visits to your doctor’s office, the costs of an emergency room, the expenses of surgery, and so forth. Further, Medicare will also pay for some rehabilitation following your time in a hospital if you were admitted for at least a couple of days. The first 20 days of rehabilitation care will be paid at 100% as long as you are participating in good faith and making some progress while in rehabilitation. After the 20 days have expired, if you still need some rehabilitation, you may stay up to 80 more days, but you will be obligated to pay 20% of the costs for each day. It is very easy to incur $10,000 a month in rehabilitation expenses through a long-term care facility. That can mean that your out-of-pocket expenses can be $2,000 or more per month, maybe even a couple of thousand per month. This adds up very quickly.

Medicaid is the government program created to pay for long-term care expenses for people who are medically qualified and who don’t have more than $2,000 in countable assets. This program will sometimes kick in after Medicare has expired. Medicare expires 100 days after you leave the hospital, even if you have worked hard to do as much rehabilitation as possible. Medicaid is currently the biggest payer of long-term care expenses in the United States, and perhaps in the entire world. But, you must financially and medically qualify in order to receive Medicaid assistance. This is very different from Medicare where there are no financial qualifications. Medicare can pay even if you are very wealthy. The same is not true, however, of Medicaid. Therefore, if you want to be certain that you receive some assistance from Medicaid, you will need to do your financial planning as far in advance as reasonably possible. It would be very wise to seek out the assistance of a certified Medicaid planner. Hopefully, you will seek out one of the attorneys at Oklahoma Estate Attorneys to do your planning.

What Is Medicaid Estate Recovery?

Oklahoma Medicaid has the legal right, and in fact, a legal obligation, to file a claim against your probate estate asking that the estate be compelled to repay all of the money that Medicaid spent on your care. For example, let’s pretend that you own a $100,000 house in Oklahoma. You suffer a terrible health setback, and you are carted off to the long-term care where Medicaid eventually starts paying for your care. Let’s say that your care costs $6,000 a month because that number is likely, and even modest, in today’s market, and that you lived there for six months. That’s not a terribly long time at all, but then you pass away. If Medicaid paid for all of your long-term care expenses, that’s $36,000 in our scenario. They also probably spent a little more on medical visits and so forth, but let’s just place it at $36,000. Let’s say, that your family wants to have your house, which is a likely outcome, and so, they open probate. In probate, the attorney and personal representative are obligated under the law to give notice to Medicaid that you passed away. They will have two months to file a claim against your estate. You can be sure they will do that. If your estate doesn’t pay the money voluntarily, Medicaid has the right to bring a lawsuit inside the probate to force the payment, and they will increase their claim in the amount of their court costs and attorney fees.

Therefore, the house that you thought had $100,000 worth of equity now has $64,000 worth of equity, and that’s only if you’re in long-term care for a relatively short amount of time. Keep in mind that even if you successfully get on Medicaid assistance, you still face the near-certainty of a Medicaid claim against your eventual probate. The diplomat in me wants to say things like “if you die,” but we all know that it’s not if, it’s when. So, if you desire to leave something for your family, seek out the guidance of a certified Medicaid planner as early as possible. Of course, we think you should contact our office, Oklahoma Estate Attorneys, PLLC.

What Is A Period Of Ineligibility Or Penalty Period For Medicaid In Oklahoma?

Many people have been told that they should give away assets to keep them from being counted as their assets for the purposes of Medicaid. Other people have been told that they should write checks to their children to “take care of them” to keep that money out of Medicaid hands. Unfortunately, both of these tactics are generally followed by financial ruin. For example, my friend Angie had a house that was valued at about $150,000. Four years ago, which is before she met me, she deeded that house over to her daughter, Elain. Unfortunately, Elain suffered a terrible car wreck in which she accidentally injured two people quite badly. Elain was subsequently sued, and the liability insurance on her car was not nearly enough to pay for the injuries that she caused. She was forced to file for bankruptcy. Unluckily, the house that was in her name was one of the things that was lost in the bankruptcy. About that same time, my friend Anna suffered a terrible health setback and was forced into long-term care.

Under normal circumstances, we could have worked with all of this and saved a big chunk of money for my client and her family, but once bankruptcy court takes the assets, there is almost nothing we can do to recover from that. My client’s penalty period was computed at approximately $170 per day, and she had given away a $150,000. Therefore, her penalty period was almost three years long. That meant that she was forced to move out of the long-term care that she desperately needed when her brief Medicare time was up and move in with her daughter. Even more unfortunate, this meant that her daughter had to quit her job to care for her mother. It was a terribly devastating financial outcome, but there were no good answers. This was the best of the bad answers.

These situations happen with troubling frequency, but they can be avoided if you seek legal advice early. Do not rely on your buddies at the coffee shop to give you legal opinions. Keep in mind the old saying, “You may not always get what you pay for, but you never get more.” This can be especially true of legal advice when it comes to Medicaid. Sadly, it is often true when it comes to attorneys who are not certified Medicaid planners. Please call our office and speak with a certified Medicaid planner to get useful reliable advice.

For more information on Medicaid, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 754-4166 today.

Terrell Monks, Esq. - Estate Planning Attorney, Edmond City

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