What is Medicaid Planning?
Medicaid Planning is the process by which we, as elder law attorneys, preserve assets. People ask, “How do you hide the money?” We do not hide anything. Everything that the law requires is disclosed to the Medicaid agency during the application process. We follow and work within the law and the regulations. In Medicaid Planning we gather information about the health of the older citizens, family relationships, and financial assets. Where possible and necessary, we draft documents to help effectuate the plan and the care of the Nursing Home resident, such as new wills for family members involved with the planning process.
We then draft a written Medicaid plan. Each plan is different and is specific to the individual situation of each family. The plans are typewritten, single-spaced, and generally run eight to ten pages. The plan lays out in detail what to do, how to do it, when to do it. In Medicaid Planning, the timing of events is of great importance for the purposes of asset protection.
We invite folks to come in with their spouses, children, siblings, financial advisors, CPAs, attorneys, religious leaders, friends, and anyone else they would like to have present to hear the plan.
The plan is then read out loud, line by line. Folks stop us and ask questions. Everyone in the room gets a copy of the plan to keep. We do not expect folks to remember anything the first time the plan is read. The instructions are detailed and very specific. We explain how we are applying the Medicaid regulations to your specific case.
Medicaid speak often makes things difficult to decipher. For example, an asset is now a resource, a gift is now a transfer for less than fair market value. Because of this, we encourage our clients to call or to come back with questions for anything they did not understand. Unlike many attorneys, we do not charge for telephone calls as our Medicaid Planning is a flat fee service.
We may employ many different tools in Medicaid Planning. For instance, we may advise converting countable assets to exempt assets, or making other permitted changes, all within Federal and State law.
Medicaid regulations are variable and complex, and change frequently. Going to the Medicaid office to apply for Medicaid may be an arduous process, a cross between going to the IRS and a root canal. Many (but not all) Medicaid caseworkers are friendly and courteous, but the process itself is adversarial and can be quite stressful.
When it is time to go to the Medicaid agency, we will go for our client.
Medicaid Planning often requires multiple visits to the Medicaid office at different times. At Kentucky ElderLaw, all visits are included as part of the plan, through the time the Nursing Home resident receives Medicaid. We meet with the family several times before each Medicaid appointment to gather the necessary documentation.
Since life situations change and Medicaid regulations change, necessary changes are included as part of the work on the plan. So, for instance, if the first spouse dies, we may need to re-write the plan to preserve assets now that only one spouse remains. There is no additional charge for this.
Medicaid Planning, as we do it, is a comprehensive, all-encompassing endeavor. It includes: the written plan; all needed documents; all visits to the Medicaid office; all preparation for visits to the Medicaid office through the time the Nursing Home resident receives Medicaid; all telephone calls; and all additional meetings or visits to our office.
The final step in the Medicaid process is Estate Recovery, a process that occurs after the death of the Medicaid recipient. For our Medicaid Planning clients, any Estate Recovery issues are included in our fee.
We also handle Estate Recovery as a new matter for families with whom we have not worked prior to the death of the Medicaid recipient. This is an arcane field that few lawyers handle. We have successfully resolved many Estate Recovery cases.
If you would like a consultation about Medicaid Planning and asset protection with our experienced Elder Law Attorneys please contact Kentucky ElderLaw, PLLC. Click here to read what our clients are saying about us.