Elder law is a highly specialized and increasingly important area of the law. It encompasses a wide range of practice areas, including Medicaid planning, estate planning, asset protection, Veterans Benefits and more. Our goal with respect to elder law is to help seniors protect their assets against the high cost of nursing home care, remain independent for as long as possible, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing there is a plan in place for the future. As Dallas Elder Law Attorneys, we can help you plan in advance to protect your assets against the high cost of healthcare, as well as obtain assistance from Medicaid in a crisis situation.
Did you know that nearly one in two women and one in four men find themselves in a nursing home at some point in their lives? Or that the cost of such care in Texas averages between $4,000 and $6,000 a month and is rising? This, together with the fact that Medicare will not pay for long-term nursing home care (except for the first few weeks), has led to an alarming situation: two out of three families run out of money within the first year of a prolonged nursing home stay.
So are you destined to go broke if you require long-term nursing home care? Not necessarily. At Kraft Elder Law, our Dallas Elder Law Attorneys can help you obtain assistance from Medicaid, without having to spend down all your assets. We can show you ways to protect your life savings against the high cost of nursing home care through advanced planning, or help you in a Medicaid crisis situation.
The Worst Mistake You Can Make With Regard To Medicaid
The laws surrounding Medicaid are very complicated and strictly enforced. Many people think they can simply transfer assets to loved ones and then qualify for Medicaid without penalty. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 established a “look-back” period of five years for all asset transfers or gifts. If it is determined an asset was transferred for less than fair market value during the five year look-back period, a penalty will be assessed, making the applicant ineligible for Medicaid for a number of months, even years. This means a nursing home stay will have to be paid for privately. The worst thing you can do is transfer assets to loved ones without fully understanding the possible consequences. Even the sale of the family home for full market value can create problems if it is converted to cash. And while it is true you can gift a certain amount of money each year without having to pay gift taxes, those gifts may be considered uncompensated transfers by Medicaid and could result in a penalty period during which Medicaid benefits would be unavailable.
The bottom line? Consult Kraft Elder Law before you begin transferring assets or applying for Medicaid. We will show you how to do so without incurring severe financial penalties.
A Medicaid Crisis
Of course, planning in advance is not always possible. When a person has already been admitted to a nursing home—or will be placed in one in the near future—and has been informed that they have too many assets or too much income from a pension or from Social Security to qualify for Medicaid, the situation is called a Medicaid crisis.
If you are faced with a Medicaid crisis, do not despair! You should know that the information provided by nursing home intake staff, social workers, Medicaid workers, and other well-meaning professionals is often inaccurate. They may have good intentions and care deeply about your well-being, but they simply do not know the subtle nuances and ever-changing laws surrounding Medicaid eligibility. At Kraft Elder Law, we do. If you or someone you love is currently faced with a Medicaid crisis situation, please contact us immediately to learn how we can help. We can show you a number of ways to get assistance from Medicaid and guide you through every step of the application process. And even if you have been denied benefits in the past, we may still be able to help you get every penny you are entitled to, and protect much of your life savings.
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