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What is Medicaid planning?
Medicaid is a state and federal government financial assistance program. It can help pay for the expenses of nursing home care for seniors and their families, but there are strict income and asset requirements you have to meet in order to be approved for aid. Medicaid planning is the process of legally transferring assets out of your name (using trusts and other tools/strategies) in such a way that you and your family members still have access to those assets, but they don’t jeopardize your chances of qualifying for Medicaid.
Why is it necessary?
The average cost of a nursing home in Texas is around $80,000 annually. That’s a lot of money for anyone, but it’s especially expensive when you consider that most seniors live on a fixed income during retirement, and when you consider that seniors today are living longer than ever before. If you’re nearing 65 or are over age 65, there is about a 70% chance that you will require long-term care at some point in your lifetime. Even if you’re really healthy right now, you don’t know what the future holds; you could end up suffering from an unforeseen injury or illness and needing to stay in a nursing home for several years, which would mean paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for care. It’s simply unaffordable for most. Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid that cost, which means one of three things will have to happen in order for you to get the care you need:
- You’ll have to use up your life savings, which still may not be enough to cover the cost of care and will prevent you from leaving an inheritance to your children and grandchildren…
- Your family will have to cover the costs, which could put a heavy financial burden on them and even result in them going into debt…
- You will qualify for Medicaid, which will pay for a large portion of the cost.
The ideal scenario is clearly the third option – Medicaid – but qualifying for Medicaid isn’t easy or simple. The application process can be incredibly complicated. There are strict requirements on who can qualify; you can’t make more than a certain amount or have more than a certain amount in “countable” or “non-exempt” assets. Many seniors find themselves in a difficult position of being “too wealthy” to qualify for Medicaid, but too poor to afford long-term care. Some seniors try to escape this catch-22 by giving all of their money away to their family members, but Medicaid has a 5 year “look-back” period where they consider all asset transfers within 5 years of the date you apply as counting towards your eligibility. Also, Medicaid doesn’t cover all of the costs of long-term care, so you will still need to have money to rely on.
Without the help of Medicaid planning tools/strategies, your golden years that should be peaceful may become stressful and burdensome to your family instead. That’s why you need to plan ahead – and specifically, plan ahead for Medicaid with the help of a Houston Medicaid planning lawyer – in order to protect yourself, your family, and your life savings!
What can a Houston Medicaid planning lawyer actually do for you?
An attorney who focuses on Medicaid planning and who understands how Texas state laws affect the process can explain your options and guide you every step of the way. They can also…
- Get a clear picture of your unique health, financial, and family situation so they can give you custom legal advice
- Detail how much money you will save with their services
- Identify the type of Medicaid you should apply for based on your goals (there are different forms of aid available to seniors in Texas)
- Work with you to explore Medicaid alternatives (to supplement costs)
- Change countable/non-exempt assets to exempt assets (e.g., protecting them in a trust, transferring to spousal annuities, etc.)
- Gather supporting documentation for the application
- Complete the Medicaid application for you, without mistakes, at the appropriate time
- Appeal a rejection, if necessary
- Create a will and other important estate documents for you, such as an advance directive or health care proxy, that can clarify your wishes and add additonal protection for your family and assets
- And more!
Why choose the Law Office of Michelle E. Murphy to lead you through Medicaid planning?
When it comes to matters as consequential and sensitive as planning for retirement and nursing home costs, the Houston Medicaid planning lawyer you choose to work with matters. Attorney Michelle E. Murphy understands how personal planning can be and takes an equally personal approach to legal advocacy. She cares deeply about your future, your family’s future, your financial stability, and your peace of mind, so she will take the time to get to know you in order to offer you the best possible alegal guidance. Her over 20 years of experience helping clients in Houston & beyond navigate the complex Medicaid landscape can give you an advantage, and her ability to serve clients virtually provides convenience. She offers free initial consultations to seniors in Houston so they can get to know her, ask questions, and learn more about what Medicaid planning entails. If you are ready to get started, call and schedule your free consultation today!
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Ms. Murphy made sure to use all of her resources and did everything legally possible to help me. She fought harder than other lawyers out there and found ways to make everything work in my favor. I really appreciate how she helped me and made me feel at ease under the worst circumstances. I recommend her highly.
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