As elder law attorneys, we advise clients about legal and financial eventualities they may face during their senior years. Assisted living costs certainly fit into this category. We will look at one aspect of the subject here.
Aging in Place
Change comes in increments. This applies to your ability to adapt to encroaching physical challenges. It is natural to think about assisted living communities and nursing homes when you envision physical challenges, but few people are anxious to leave their own homes.
There is an alternative that can provide the best of both worlds. Aging in place is more or less a self-explanatory concept. Instead of moving into an environment more suitable for access and ease of living, you change your surroundings.
Builders that specialize in aging in place can make significant modifications. There are minor adjustments that can be made. Modern technology is very helpful, because smart home systems can allow you to control many things from a stationary position.
ADvantage Waiver Program
Even if you make the appropriate modifications, you may still need help that only human beings can provide. Family members and friends may be able to step up, and they would probably enjoy doing so, but professional assistance may be needed at some point.
The majority of senior citizens qualify for Medicare, but Medicare does not pay for living assistance for elders.
A professional in-home health aide can be engaged, but currently one costs about $50,000 a year. This is a lot of money to come up with late in your life, but there is a viable solution.
Medicaid is a government health insurance program that will pay for residential long-term care. There are Medicaid waiver programs that cover in-home care. In Oklahoma, our version is called the ADvantage Waiver Program.
This is a viable solution, but since Medicaid is a needs-based program, you cannot have countable assets worth more than $2000. This, however, need not be a deal breaker. Some assets do not count, such as one vehicle, wedding and engagement rings, heirloom jewelry, household items, and personal effects.
The most significant non-countable asset is your home with an equity limit of $603,000 in 2021, so you can qualify for the ADvantage Waiver as a homeowner.
Five-Year Look-Back Period
You can convey assets into an irrevocable Medicaid trust to qualify for the waiver or full Medicaid benefits to pay for residential care. However, you have to act in advance. There is a five-year look-back period, which means the funding must take place at least five years before you submit your application for benefits. You lose access to the principal of this type of trust, but you can accept distributions of the trust’s earnings until and unless you apply for Medicaid.
Estate Recovery and the Caregiver Child Exemption
Medicaid is required by law to seek reimbursement from the estates of beneficiaries after they die. They can place a lien on your home if you own it at the time of your passing. This is why you may want to convey it into a trust. There is an exception to this rule if you were able to stay at home without moving into a nursing facility because one of your children cared for you in your home for at least two years. You can give the home to the child and it is protected.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you would like to work with an Oklahoma City elder law attorney to put in place a nursing home asset protection plan, we are here to help. We will gain an understanding of your financial position and your legacy goals, then help you prepare for the future.
You can set the wheels in motion right now by calling us at 405-843-6100, or you can use our contact form to send us a message.