Three lead attorneys at Livens & Reed, PLLC

Medicaid And Estate Planning Attorneys
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Medicaid And Estate Planning Attorneys
Helping You Achieve
Peace Of Mind
Three lead attorneys at Livens & Reed, PLLC
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3 Medicaid mistakes to avoid when planning for long-term care

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2024 | Long Term Care Planning |

Planning for, and applying for, Medicaid can feel overwhelming, especially for newcomers to the program. This important healthcare resource provides coverage for low-income individuals and families. Unfortunately, even small errors during the application can cause delays or denials.

While Medicaid can be a valuable financial resource for covering nursing home expenses, the application process fraught with potential pitfalls. From missing paperwork to inaccurate financial information, several common planning and application mistakes can trip you and slow down the eligibility process. By understanding these pitfalls and taking steps to help avoid them, you can significantly streamline a loved one’s Medicaid application and increase your chances of approval.

Waiting too long to start planning

Procrastinating when it comes to Medicaid planning is among the most critical errors families make. Many believe it’s something to consider only when a health crisis occurs. However, effective Medicaid planning often requires foresight and careful strategizing.

For example, waiting until your parent is on the brink of needing nursing home care can severely limit your options for preserving assets and ensuring eligibility. The Medicaid five-year lookback period involves scrutinizing all financial transactions you make during this time. In that case, any hasty transfers or gifts made shortly before applying can result in penalties and delayed eligibility.

Misunderstanding Medicaid’s asset and income limits

Medicaid’s eligibility criteria are notoriously complex, and misinterpreting the rules can lead to costly mistakes. Many families assume they must deplete all assets to qualify, potentially leaving their loved ones vulnerable. In reality, Medicaid allows for certain exempt assets and has provisions for spousal protection. For instance, while there are limits on countable assets, a primary residence, personal belongings and even some income-producing property may be exempt under specific circumstances.

Attempting DIY Medicaid planning

In an effort to save money, some families attempt to navigate Medicaid planning on their own. This approach often backfires, leading to expensive errors and missed opportunities. Medicaid laws are very complex, making it challenging to grasp fully all the implications of your financial decisions without legal know-how.

There is no denying that your situation is unique. Medicaid planning and applying for Medicaid benefits cannot be approached as one-size-fits-all processes. Know that you can explore personalized legal strategies to help protect family assets while helping to ensure that your loved one qualifies for necessary care when the time comes.

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