As people age they are often confronted with new and confusing challenges and considerations. For example, after a lifetime of hard work, how can you be sure your assets will be protected? Should you require emergency medical care, how can you be sure you will be treated the way you deem fit? If you need an assisted living facility, can you still protect your home? Will the costs associated with long life diminish the value of what you can leave your loved ones? These types of issues can be complex, and have many implications for both you and those you care about. With a little foresight and a solid plan in place, these concerns can be wiped away.
Planning for Long-Term Care
One of the most serious financial burdens for many elders is the massive impending costs they will encounter should they or their spouse require long-term care. Nursing facility costs in Massachusetts routinely reach over $10,000 per month (that’s $120,000 gone each year!). These costs are beyond most people’s means and would quickly result in the senior’s impoverishment, leaving nothing to future generations and forcing the senior to live completely dependent on the state.
MassHealth (Medicaid in Massachusetts) helps support these costs; however, qualifying for MassHealth benefits requires applicants to meet very strict income guidelines. Currently, a couple seeking MassHealth benefits for one spouse may have only $111,000 in assets and a single applicant is allowed only $2,000. In this system a person is virtually punished for saving wisely and must expend nearly all of their assets on medical care, leaving nothing for their loved ones. Luckily, the law allows for those who plan wisely to avoid this outcome using several established estate planning practices.
MassHealth Planning Options
Planning for MassHealth eligibility involves a thorough review of a senior’s estate and their healthcare needs. If the applicant has more assets than the MassHealth eligibility limit, they will need to “spend down” those assets. However, utilizing strategies such as irrevocable trusts, gifting, converting countable assets into exempt assets, legal spend downs and purchasing annuities and long-term care insurance, it is possible to arrange your assets to protect them from nursing home costs and qualify for Medicaid assistance without losing your life’s savings.
Estate planning techniques can also help protect a senior’s house so that they qualify for government medical assistance, can continue to live in their home, and still pass the property on to their loved ones when they’re gone.
The Heritage Law Center will help you maximize your legal strategies to protect your assets as well as your quality of life, while saving your family significant money. We also will help you through the burdensome and often confusing application process for MassHealth benefits. Properly completing this time-sensitive application is crucial to obtaining MassHealth benefits.
To ensure your MassHealth application is filled out correctly, contact the Heritage Law Center for a free consultation.