Advance and Crisis Planning
The average cost of a nursing home in Ohio is around $7,000 per month, with some facilities charging $12,500 or more. Medicare, our country’s medical insurance benefit for those over age 65, will only pay for up to 100 days of care, although usually much less. Once the Medicare coverage is up, either you can pay the lucrative long-term care fees privately out-of-pocket, or you can seek Medicaid Benefits.
Advance planning helps keep assets within your family even though everyone is healthy. We recommend anyone in their 70’s consider advance planning.
Crisis Planning allows a family to protect the maximum amount of family assets when a loved one needs immediate long-term care.
Medicaid is a massively misunderstood program in America, but correctly enrolling can protect your family’s future.
How does Advance Medicaid Planning work?
Step 1, Transfer Assets to Trust: The Grantor (i.e., the person or persons to whom the assets belong) transfers the assets to their personally crafted Medicaid Asset Protection Trust.
Step 2, 60-Month Period: After the expiration of 60 months, those assets are exempt from Medicaid asset calculations, making Medicaid qualification possible and saving those assets for your family.
Step 3, Long-Term Care Needed Within 60 Months: Placing the assets into the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust provides families with more options for protection than they would have had the Trust not been created. An analysis will be done to assess the proper path forward to qualify for Medicaid benefits while protecting maximum assets.
How does Crisis Medicaid Planning work?
Step 1, Analysis of Financial Resources: At the time long-term care is needed, an assessment will be done of all assets, gifts, and income. A detailed plan will be created with specialized financial software to shift as many resources as possible to the healthy spouse, or if single, to the family so the person needing care will receive the best care possible covered by Medicaid benefits.
Step 2, Execution of Plan: Port Legal will execute the customized plan, shift assets to the proper entity, create trusts where needed, protect income and prepare for the Medicaid application.
Step 3, Medicaid Application: A Medicaid application can run from 40 to 200 pages. Our firm will create the application and explain every step of the plan to the Department of Medicaid. We follow up with the department and provide any additional information they may need. We also coordinate the Medicaid application with the long term care facility to make sure Medicaid benefits are put in place and the overall financial plan is completed.
The Benefits of Medicaid Trusts
Medicaid planning is not inexpensive; however, planning will save the family a tremendous amount of resources. A Medicaid Trust will protect your assets from nursing homes and save you money in the long run.
Protect Assets from the Medicaid Spend Down
Some facilities and advisors may recommend that the family “spenddown” the assets to get below the $2,000 threshold. Keep in mind this is rarely needed. Advance or Crisis Planning can allow your family to hold on to these assets and minimize long-term care costs.
Adhere to the Law
Medicaid qualification through Advance or Crisis Planning is a complex task. It has to be done right. Our firm will qualify the person in need of Medicaid while assuring compliance with all State and federal laws and regulations.
Why work with Port Legal?
Our founding attorney Gregory Port has been providing strategic, client-focused legal counsel as an Ohio probate lawyer since 1990. He practices Elder Law, Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning, Probate, and Real Estate. His experience and core values are the cornerstones of the law offices of Port Legal. Greg left behind stressful and adversarial litigation a decade ago to focus on helping families with stressful, challenging, and emotional asset protection issues.
Over the past 30+ years, Greg has helped over 350 Ohioans protect their hard-earned assets, ensuring they can leave a legacy for their families. When you choose Port Legal, you can rest assured that you are working with one of the most experienced Medicaid planning law firms in Ohio.
“My family and I didn’t know which way to turn when my elderly father, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimers, had a sudden medical emergency that left our family unable to care for him. Because our situation kept changing so rapidly; from hospitals to nursing facilities, finances and so on, we had no idea what to do first. During our first meeting with Port Legal, we were assured that they would help us every step of the way. We were able to breath a sigh of relief.”
– Pamela and Tammy
“I cannot say enough great things about Port Legal! A friend of mine recommended their law firm when I needed to create a special needs trust for my autistic twin brother and they made what could have been an otherwise very daunting process, easy, efficient, and above all, affordable. They explained all the incremental steps along the way, including how to properly alert Social Security, as my brother receives SSI benefits, and how everything was filed in accordance with the law. I learned so much and felt very supported when Social Security reached out needing additional documentation and Port Legal provided everything I needed, including a letter they wrote explaining the situation. Now my brother is all set up with a trust fund and his supplemental income is still in place.”
– Laura Dolan
“I picked the Port legal term by chance after searching the web for someone to help handle my father’s estate, Medicaid and nursing home issues. I am sure glad I found this firm! I was surprised at all of the details and decisions that go into dealing with elderly care and planning, and the Port team was very knowledgeable about the law and navigating the many bureaucratic steps needed. They also took the time to help me really understand the options we had in estate planning. I recommend them highly!”
– William Kerr
What is a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust?
A Medicaid Asset Protection Trust is a part of an estate plan which seeks to avoid Medicaid asset limits by utilizing Medicaid’s five year lookback rule.
Assets are transferred into the Medicaid Trust, and after five years, all the assets in the Trust are ineligible for inclusion in one’s assets for Medicaid qualification purposes. There are many different planning techniques for using Medicaid Trusts, and Port Legal will help determine the best plan for your exact situation.
For example, if you transferred your home to your children four years ago, you may be ineligible for Medicaid today, but will be in another 12 months. However, in this situation and many others, we can help restructure your assets and income and qualify you for Medicaid.
The Medicaid system aims to avoid fraud in situations where transfers of assets are made purposefully to avoid the Medicaid asset limits. However, with careful planning, a Medicaid Planning – in an advanced planning or crisis situation – can legally and properly transfer and rearrange your assets to provide maximum protection.
Do you have to be poor to qualify for Medicaid planning in Ohio?
No. The idea that only low-income individuals and families can qualify for Medicaid is false. As one example of how Medicaid works for people of all incomes, Ohio regulations will allow a married couple to shift assets and income from the spouse needing assistance to the healthy spouse. Certain items like a home, car, jewelry, or medical equipment are exempt from counting towards your countable assets. Single and widowed individuals have similar planning options.
Will I qualify for Medicaid?
Our experience as an elder law firm in Ohio has shown us that almost all Ohioans can qualify for Medicaid. It just takes careful planning with a qualified elder law attorney. Every county in Ohio has its own Medicaid office, overseen by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Port Legal Elder Law has helped many Ohio families just like yours meet Medicaid qualifications to save for and protect their legacy for their families.
What is a spenddown?
Another part of the myth that the medical field may mistakenly communicate to you is that you have to “spenddown” the balance of your assets to meet the $2,000 Medicaid threshold.
With careful planning, you can shield your assets from being counted by Medicaid, and protect those funds from being captured down the road.
What is Medicaid Estate Recovery?
Even if you become qualified for Medicaid, the Department of Medicaid has the ability to lien and seize assets after you die. For instance, Medicaid may consider one’s house exempt from qualification but place a lien on the house which will survive your death. Our planning aims at shielding assets not only for initial qualification for benefits, but also Medicaid Estate Recovery.
Our Medicaid planning seeks to achieve three goals.
- Qualify the individual who needs care for Medicaid
- Keep assets in the family and protect them from the Medicaid “spenddown”
- Shielding as much of the assets as possible from Medicaid Estate Recovery
What if I need more information?
Elder Law attorney Gregory Port is always available to answer questions. Medicaid law is complex and difficult to understand at times, but Greg has the experience and patience to explain the ins and outs of Medicaid and Elder Law to you and your family so that you can understand and take advantage of this powerful planning law.