Medicaid Preplanning Attorney in Jacksonville
One of the most important aspects of elder law is Medicaid preplanning. With Baby Boomers retiring and Americans living longer, more and more Florida seniors will need long-term care in the coming years. The problem is finding a way to pay for it. And because most families do not have significant financial means, they will need to rely on Medicaid to keep from having their assets quickly drained.
Attorney Demere Mason Jr, Esq. understands the financial dilemma so many families in this state face when a loved one has to go into a nursing home or assisted living facility. As part of our elder care and estate planning practice, we work closely with clients to plan for Medicaid qualification far in advance, so when the time comes, they are in the best possible financial position.
Medicaid Financial Requirements
Medicaid has strict asset and income requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for long-term care in Florida. For example, as of 2017, the applicant’s monthly gross income must be under $2,205. In addition, the applicant is not allowed to own “countable” assets in excess of $2,000. Certain assets are exempt and not counted in determining eligibility for Medicaid. These include:
- Homestead property
- Prepaid funeral plans for the applicant and spouse
- $2,500 worth of cash value life insurance for the applicant
- $2,500 worth of cash value life insurance for the applicant’s spouse
- IRAs for the applicant and spouse (certain restrictions apply)
Medicaid Qualification Strategies
Even if you do not qualify for Medicaid today, there are several legal strategies that can be put in place to ensure you qualify in the future. These include:
Asset “Spend Downs”: This is the process of spending down “countable” assets by replacing them with exempt assets. Examples include making improvements to your homestead property, purchasing an automobile, or purchasing a prepaid funeral plan.
Asset Transfers to Children: Assets can be transferred to children, but this must be done more than five years prior to applying for Medicaid. This five-year window is known as the “look back” period.
Asset Transfers to a “Well” Spouse: You can transfer assets to a spouse who is not likely to require long-term care. Spousal transfers are not subject to the five-year “look back” period.
Long-Term Care Insurance: If you are in your 40s, 50s or early 60s and in relatively good health, long-term care insurance may be relatively affordable. The older you are and the more health challenges you have, the more expensive it gets. And if you have an immediate need for long-term care, you are no longer eligible.
Setting up a Trust: If you are (or believe you will be) outside the five-year “look back” period, a revocable or irrevocable living trust may be a viable option. When set up correctly, any assets transferred into the trust outside of the “look back” period are not subject to penalty during Medicaid qualification. If you are have a more immediate long-term care need, a qualified income trust may be your best option. This type of trust is not subject to penalty, but any leftover assets within the trust must be paid back to the state upon death – up to the amount the state paid for your care.
Speak with our Skilled Northeast Florida Medicaid Preplanning Attorney
Many Florida families have loved ones who will need to depend on Medicaid to help cover their long-term care expenses. While there are Medicaid crisis solutions that can be employed at the last minute, it best to plan for this ahead of time so you have more options at your disposal. Attorney Demere Mason Jr, Esq. helps seniors and their families explore all available legal avenues for effective Medicaid preplanning. For a personalized consultation, contact our office today at 904-726-8589.