Our good health is not guaranteed as we age. In old age we could fall ill to a serious medical condition, such as multiple sclerosis. In the face of such a diagnosis you may anticipate that you will have to go into a nursing home. However, you may worry about how you will afford such care, and whether you will be eligible for government benefits such as Medicaid.

Qualifying for Medicaid

When it comes to qualifying for Medicaid, you must have $2,000 or less in countable assets and your monthly income must be under $2,349. However, does this mean you must impoverish yourself in order to qualify for Medicaid, leaving nothing for your heirs? Not necessarily.

One way to plan for Medicaid is to place your countable assets in an irrevocable trust. Through an irrevocable trust, title to your assets will be placed in the name of the trust, and a designated third-party trustee will manage these assets. Once assets are placed in an irrevocable trust, they are out of your hands and you no longer have control over them. In addition, the terms of the irrevocable trust cannot change once it is executed. Once-countable assets in an irrevocable trust change to non-countable assets when it comes to Medicaid, preserving them for your care and for your heirs.

The five-year “look back” period

However, it is important to note that Medicaid has a five-year “look back” period. If assets are transferred in any way within five years of applying for Medicaid, the award of Medicaid benefits will be delayed. The greater amount of assets transferred, the greater the delay. This could even delay how long it can take for you to get into a nursing home. Thus, planning in advance is important.

Ultimately, those interested in Medicaid planning should first seek the advice of an attorney. Most Riverdale residents do not have a solid understanding of Medicaid law, and may make matters worse if they move forward without the help of an attorney. Put a plan in place with the help of a professional before your reach a crisis situation. Our firm can explain more about your options when it comes to Medicaid planning.