Long Term Care Planning

Four Pillars Law Firm is dedicated to helping families protect and preserve all that they hold dear . . . both their loved ones as well as their hard earned assets.

When you need caring guidance to protect yourself, your family, and your life savings, contact Four Pillars Law Firm.  Proactive planning is always best, as you have the greatest amount of options available to you.  However, when the time comes to move a loved one to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, Four Pillars Law Firm can usually still provide some level of asset protection, even in such a crisis situation.  We know that our clients never want to be out of money because when they are, they are out of options.

With proper planning, we help couples protect nearly all of their assets (when one spouse needs long term care), instead of spending half or more of their assets, as the Department of Social Services and Medicaid office would tell them.

As each family’s situation is unique, it is difficult to provide general rules or guidance about how best to prepare for long term care government benefits (e.g. Medicaid).  However, there are a few rules that hold true for the majority of situations, including:

  • Gifts and asset transfers – Beware that gifts can render a potential benefits applicant ineligible for government benefits (e.g. Medicaid);
  • Five Year Lookback Period – the Deficit Reduction Act (“DRA”) extended the lookback period from 3 years to 5 years when reviewing applicants financial histories for transfers of assets, but new opportunities and new strategies are available to address this issue;
  • Spending down – We can help you develop a plan to spend down money to qualify for long term care government benefits while contemporaneously ensuring that your money can be protected for the benefit of your family and loved ones; and
  • Trusts – Under today’s laws, advance planning with certain types of irrevocable trusts offers the best asset protection for long term care government benefits planning.

Common misconceptions about one’s ability to qualify for Medicaid to cover long term care expenses (whether in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility) can easily lead to the wrong actions, early action, or no action.  All of these actions can have disastrous results.  One error in long term care government benefits planning can prove to be incredibly costly.  If you fail to qualify, you may be forced to sell your home or use other hard-earned assets to cover the entire cost of your nursing home care.  Moreover, the government can even seek reimbursement for any long term care government benefits you received in error and pursue Medicaid Estate Recovery after death.

The most important thing to understand is that you do not have to be destitute to qualify for long term care government benefits (most often Medicaid); the law enables middle class and upper middle class families with substantial assets to qualify for government benefits.  Four Pillars Law Firm helps seniors and their family restructure their assets so they may qualify for government assistance (e.g. Medicaid) in order to help them pay for costly long term care facilities (whether assisted living or skilled nursing facilities) that can exceed $75,000.00 a year.  Even if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets, you may still qualify for long term care government benefits with proper planning.

Eligibility for long term care government benefits (e.g. Medicaid) can be strict, as the income and asset restrictions are very low; however, the law allows placement of some items in an exempt category and others in a non-exempt category when determining a person’s eligibility.  Only those assets in the non-exempt category will affect a person’s eligibility for government benefits.  Four Pillars Law Firm assists seniors and their family to restructure assets, property, and income belonging to the person who requires long term care assistance from the non-exempt category to the exempt category, so that those items no longer affect the person’s eligibility for government benefits.

As previously stated, qualification for long term care government benefits programs (e.g. Medicaid) requires proper planning and arranging your affairs in ways that will allow you to protect your assets.  The reason for long term care government benefits planning, whether in advance or the immediate future, is simple.  First, you want and need to safeguard enough assets for the security of you and your loved ones, especially considering they unfortunately may have a similar crisis.  Second, the rules regarding government benefits are extremely complicated and confusing.  The result is that without proper planning and advice, many people spend more than they should on long term care facilities and their family security is often jeopardized.  With professional legal assistance from Four Pillars Law Firm, it is quite feasible to qualify for long term care government benefits (e.g. Medicaid) while still preserving some, if not all, of your assets.  It is never too early or too late to start planning.  When you need professional guidance, contact Four Pillars Law Firm; we may be able to help you legally arrange your affairs so that Medicaid (or other government programs) will pay for much, if not all, or your long term care expenses.

Now that you have discovered how we may be able to help you plan for your long term care needs, please Contact Us with your particular inquiry and see if you qualify for a free initial consultation so that we may discuss your individual concerns and develop an estate plan that meets your needs.

Additionally, please take advantage of the many Helpful Resources we offer to clients as well as visitors to our website.  We hope you find these Helpful Resources informative.

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