Our Norton Shores Medicaid attorney wants to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes people make when they apply for Medicaid. Call our law firm today to set up your consultation.
While many people assume that a Medicaid spend down is the only way to qualify for government aid, our attorney can help you find ways to pay for nursing home care without losing all your assets.
The most common Medicaid mistakes we’ve seen are…
Thinking It’s Too Late to Start Medicaid Planning
It’s never too late (or early) to start Medicaid planning. Even if you or a loved one are already living in a nursing home, our attorney can still help you find ways to protect a significant chunk of your estate. The sooner you call our law firm, the better. People who wait until the last minute to start Medicaid planning typically lose more money.
Not Hiring a Medicaid Planning Attorney
Misinformation about Medicaid can cost you thousands of dollars. While we understand you trust your family and friends for advice, you’re better off consulting with a Medicaid planning attorney to learn how you can protect assets and still pay for nursing home care.
It’s not uncommon for clients to tell us that they’ve received conflicting advice from senior services or other professional advisors. While non-attorney counselors and advisors don’t intentionally spread false information, they also don’t keep up with the latest changes to Medicaid law. And, they aren’t qualified to give legal advice. Our elder law attorney can help you better understand how Medicaid fits into your retirement planning while looking out for your best interests.
Hiring an Attorney without Medicaid Planning Experience
The saying, “jack of all trades, master of none” also applies to attorneys. Before you apply for Medicaid, you’ll want to consult with an attorney who specializes in elder law and Medicaid planning. Otherwise, you could end up with an attorney who doesn’t understand the intricacies of Medicaid law and how they apply to your estate.
Hiring an attorney who doesn’t specialize in Medicaid planning is like having a general practitioner perform open heart surgery—not a good idea. Getting the wrong legal advice can cost you thousands of dollars. Our attorney specializes in elder law and Medicaid planning, which means you can count on him to be a source of accurate information.
Applying for Medicaid before Consulting an Attorney
Never submit a Medicaid application “just to see if you qualify.” As soon as you apply for Medicaid, you might lose your chance to protect assets. Our elder law attorney can help you determine your Medicaid eligibility and help you come up with strategies to protect the bulk of your assets from a Medicaid spend-down BEFORE you ever apply for help.
Submitting Your Medicaid Application Too Early or Late
Our attorney can help you determine the best time to submit your Medicaid application. Applying for Medicaid too early can make you ineligible for government aid (sometimes for years) while applying too late means you’ve lost out on months you could have been receiving financial assistance. People who wait too long may have also spent part of their estate to cover nursing home expenses. Fortunately, our attorney can help you calculate the exact date you should submit your Michigan Medicaid application.
Assuming a Living Trust Will Prevent a Medicaid Spend Down
A living trust does not protect your estate from nursing home costs because it is fully revocable. This means that as the trust owner, you can take back the trust principal at any time. Under state and federal law, your trust principal is viewed as an available resource to pay for nursing home care. If you wish to protect your assets from being spent down, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our estate attorney to discuss other estate planning documents.
Trying to Hide Assets
Hiding assets to qualify for Medicaid is fraud, which can result in prosecution and legal action to recover the costs of benefits obtained fraudulently. If you’re worried about losing your assets in a Medicaid spend down, contact our law firm today. Our Medicaid attorney uses asset protection strategies that are both legally-sanctioned and ethical.
The legal strategies we use to protect your assets are never hidden from your Medicaid caseworker. In fact, every transaction must be detailed on your Michigan Medicaid application. Our elder law attorney understands that asset protection must be done in a way that’s transparent to government officials and you.
Giving Away Assets Too Early or Without a Plan
While making gifts can be an effective estate planning strategy, you should always consult with your attorney beforehand to make sure you understand the full consequences. Making large gifts can trigger tax and Medicaid issues that are difficult to resolve.
Under state and federal law, transferring certain assets within 5 years of applying for Medicaid will trigger a penalty period and significantly delay benefits. The more money you transfer, the higher the penalty and waiting period. You should also be careful about transferring assets to family members who may not have your best interests at heart.
Ignoring Safe Harbors Created by Congress
There are certain transfers that don’t risk your Medicaid eligibility, which include transfers to:
- Disabled children
- Caretaker children
- Certain siblings
- A trust for anyone who is disabled and under age 65
- A “payback” trust if under age 65
- A pooled disability trust at any age
Our Norton Shores Medicaid lawyer can help you understand your Michigan Medicaid application and avoid expensive mistakes. To schedule your consultation with Medicaid attorney Douglas H. McPhail, call (231) 799-4994.