How to Protect Assets from a Medicaid Spend Down

How to Protect Assets From a Medicaid Spend Down Attorney Norton Shores, MIDon’t wait until you’ve spent down your entire life savings on nursing home care before calling an attorney.

Our elder law attorney works hard to legally restructure your assets so you can qualify for assistance through Medicaid.

Continue reading to learn how we can protect your assets from a Medicaid spend down.

Protecting Your Assets

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a health benefits program funded by the state and federal government for people who have limited income or assets; and are elderly, blind, or disabled. While Medicaid covers essential health care services, it may not cover all nursing home costs. For this reason, it’s important to hire a Medicaid attorney who will be your advocate and help you protect assets as much as possible.

What is a Medicaid Spend Down?

To qualify for Medicaid, your income and assets must be below limits set by the government. For this reason, many people are forced to spend down their life savings before Medicaid will cover nursing home expenses. Fortunately, our elder law attorney can help you legally restructure your resources so you can apply for Medicaid.

We offer services for asset protection so you have assets to leave behind for your surviving spouse and other family members. If you require nursing home care and have a spouse still living at home, call our elder law attorney as soon as possible. We can save a portion of your assets to support a spouse or child(ren) in a way that won’t risk your Medicaid eligibility.

Beware of the Look-Back Period

Since the government looks back 5 years from the day you applied for Medicaid, you’ll need an attorney to help you avoid costly mistakes. If you gift money or assets within 5 years of applying for Medicaid, you’ll be ineligible for a certain length of time. For this reason, it’s important that you start estate planning as soon as possible and consult a Medicaid attorney.

The government expects you to spend down your estate before they’ll approve you for Medicaid. However, this can be a problem if you want to leave behind money to your spouse or children after you pass away. Depending on your circumstances, we may recommend you gift money or assets outside of the 5-year look back period.

Know What Resources are Exempt

A common mistake when trying to qualify for Medicaid is spending down exempt assets. Not all resources are counted when determining your Medicaid eligibility, which is why it’s important to hire an elder law attorney. For example, a home with equity of $595,000 or less is exempt from a Medicaid spend down. That way, a spouse still living at home won’t be forced to sell and move.

Exempt and non-countable assets include:

  • A home (with equity of $595,000 or less)
  • Personal belongings and household goods
  • One vehicle
  • Burial spaces and related items
  • Up to $1,500 designated as a burial fund for you or your spouse
  • Irrevocable prepaid funeral contract
  • Value of life insurance if face value is $1,500 or less
  • Assets which you or your spouse do not have the legal right to dispose
  • Assets you have not been able to sell

Our Norton Shores Medicaid attorney has experience working with families like yours to protect assets from being spent down. To request your consultation with Medicaid attorney Douglas H. McPhail, call (231) 799-4994.