Elder Law Update – February 2008

1.     Do you know any Seniors who are paying their children to care for them? seniors can be losing years of financial assistance for nursing home care because such payments to the children will be viewed as “disqualifying gifts by the state unless properly documented. GULP!

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2.  What the Sandwich Generation Needs to Know about Nursing Homes and Asset Protection Planning.

An Easy to Use Family Checklist for Seniors and Those Who Love Them

a) It’s Not Too Late. Medicaid Planning can begin anytime, even if your loved one is already living in a skilled care facility. But the sooner you plan, the more options you will have to protect what’s important to you.

b) Keep Your Home. If you are married, and you or your spouse needs to go into a nursing home for a while, your home is exempt from Medicaid’s calculation of what your contribution to the cost of care should be. If you are widowed and you plan to go into a nursing home, your house may be exempt if you follow certain procedures. But planning is key to preserving your home.

c) Don’t Give Away Assets. Since major changes to laws in 2006, “gifting” away your assets creates unforeseen circumstances for years. Far from protecting yourself, you will be undermining your own security.

d) Use Those Safe Harbors. Congress has created a number of “safe harbor” provisions for protecting your assets. These exempt certain assets and allow transfers to children or siblings who meet certain eligibility requirements.

e) Know When to Apply. Applying too early can mean a longer wait for Medicaid qualification than necessary, while applying too late can mean having to pay for months of care you may not have had to.

f) Veterans: Be Sure to Look into “Hidden” VA Benefits. There are some VA benefits that will allow veterans and their spouse to remain at home longer without going into a nursing home.

g) Get the Right Help. Medicaid planning is a complex matter. You need qualified assistance to keep your assets safe. Be sure to find legal counsel who practices in this area- someone with proven capability in Medicaid law.

h) Rule of Thumb: Do not apply for Medicaid without a plan to ensure you qualify.

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3.     Types of Nursing Home Asset Protection Planning:

Planning to become eligible for Medicaid generally takes place in one of two circumstances:

Pre planning First, Medicaid Pre-planning is done when an individual or couplewho are not in a nursing home are planning in advance for the possibility that they may need long-term care in the future and wish to preserve assets. We recommend that you plan far in advance of needing care (i.e. at least 5-10 years). This is the best approach.

Crisis Planning Second, Medicaid Crisis planning is done when you or a family member is already in a nursing home or is about to enter a nursing home and are seeking to preserve assets.

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4.     Next Step.

If you or a family member is facing the high costs of long-term care, then you probably have not taken any planning steps. But whether or not you have planned ahead, generally there’s a lot you can do to legally protect at least some of your savings, even at the last minute. But in all cases, never apply for Medicaid without consulting with a qualified attorney first, as once you have applied you may have cut off planning opportunities.

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5.     Feds Finally Release Complete List of Deficient Nursing Homes. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the complete list of U.S. nursing homes that have failed to meet safety and quality standards for care.

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6.     Come to Our Free Nursing Home and Medicaid Asset Protection Workshop! “How to Protect Your Home and Savings from Nursing Home Care”.

Covering the things you need to know in 2008 about planning for incapacity and how to protect your home and savings from the expense of future nursing home care. Seating is limited, so call 847-563-4887 to reserve your place today at one of the following workshops, to be held at Columbia Center I, 5600 N. River Road, Rosemont, Illinois:

February 28, 2008 7:00 pm

March 13, 2008 7:00 pm

April 3, 2008 7:00 pm

Mission Statement

Our firm is dedicated to the legal and effective protection of our clients’ assets from taxation, as well as planning for Medicaid asset protectiondue to a long term nursing home stay.

“Educate to Motivate”

Anthony B. Ferraro

Attorney-CPA

The Law Offices of Anthony B. Ferraro, LLC

5600 N River Road, Suite 764

Rosemont, IL 60018

PH(847)292-1220

abferrarolaw@abferrarolaw.com

http://abferrarolaw.com/

Note: Pursuant to federal regulations imposed on practitioners who render tax advice (“Circular 230”), we are required to advise you that any tax advice contained herein is not intended or written to be used for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service.

This document is for discussion purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be, considered as legal advice. You should never attempt Medicaid planning, Estate planning, Probate, or Estate and Trust Administration without the advice of competent legal counsel.