The Livens Law Firm

Elder law planning can achieve substantial assets protection

Elder law planning in Texas is a critically important process that goes hand-in-hand with estate planning. In elder law planning, the concern is more focused on the care of the elderly loved one during those late years when incapacitation may become an issue. The majority of persons will unfortunately face the fact that they will need either institutionalized care or that they will need to pay for in-home care.

Nursing home care and some aspects of home care can be addressed through a process of Medicaid planning. Medicaid provides funding for elderly care in nursing homes to those who qualify. Generally, people can lose their assets to the government if they take Medicaid while having neglected to protect their real estate and other assets.

To many families, the loss of a beloved parent's assets earned through a lifetime of hard work is frustrating and heartbreaking. To the elder individual, it is the exact opposite of what he or she would have wanted to happen. Therefore, consulting with an experienced elder law attorney can be an extremely rewarding protective step. In many instances, all or most of the assets can be protected for the family.

Even if the unmarried loved one is in a nursing home already, it may not be too late. This is done through a mechanism called a Medicaid crisis plan. It may be possible to save 40 to 50 percent of the individual's assets, even if he or she is already in the nursing home or being admitted.

Additionally, in other cases where elder law planning is still practical, some estate planning tools may be used to save the assets in an appropriate manner. Placing them in a revocable living trust, for example, is allowed pursuant to federal rules. IRAs and retirement fund assets can be protected from Medicaid and the person can still be eligible, as long as a distribution is being received from the funds. In Texas and all other states, it's necessary to have one's estate planning attorney make sure that the treatment of the retirement funds is set up correctly in order for Medicaid eligibility to be possible.

Source: westfaironline.com, "Column: Common misconceptions about elder law planning", Anthony J. Enea, March 29, 2015

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