When it comes to Medicaid’s assistance with Long-Term Care, there are different programs for different needs. The rules are constantly changing, and the rules for federal programs can vary from state to state. North Carolina’s Medicaid program changes so frequently that there is no printed handbook for navigating the system; there is only an online avalanche of 200,000+ rules that are subject to change from day to day.
The complexity of the system is why it is so important to talk to an experienced Certified Medicaid Planner© (CMP) who has access to the best documents available in planning for long-term needs. A good CMP will be able to address the following, often-asked questions:
- How do people shelter a lifetime worth of assets when Medicaid and other offices seem to want people to be broke?
- Do people simply give everything away? If not everything, how much?
- Isn’t it true that planning can only be done five years before nursing home care is ever needed? And if you don’t have five years, you’re out of luck?
- (For the children) Is there anything I can do if Mom or Dad has to go into a nursing home in the next few weeks?
No one really knows what life will bring. There are highs and lows, and lots of in-betweens. Even day to day, let alone years in advance, there is no real way to know what will happen to us and our loved ones. All we can do is hope for the best AND plan for the worst.
A Few Simple Truths
After nineteen years working as a Life and Estate Planning attorney the following has consistently been proven true:
- Families that plan ahead are better off than those who do not;
- Families that plan for multiple contingencies, even unlikely ones, are rarely caught unprepared for the big disasters; and
- The further ahead families plan, the more the family can save.
Working with estate planning professionals can provide you with sound, reasoned, experienced advice. If you take the time to plan ahead the right way, there is a much better chance that things will work out well for you and your family. Nowhere is this more true than with Medicaid and Long Term Care Planning. The key is taking certain simple but effective steps while avoiding simple but disastrous “folk remedies” that are out there.
For example, a loved one is deep into dementia, and the doctors estimate that in about one year she will need skilled nursing home care. Financially speaking, however, she could qualify for Medicaid today. And, by arranging her assets the right way with enough lead time, she won’t even need to spend down a single penny by the time she applies for Medicaid.
Our staff is happy to help you learn the basics of Care Assistance Planning before you begin rearranging assets. One thing we can tell you about Medicaid qualification specifically is that it is never simple and it is never a matter of taking the same three steps that everyone else does. Each situation is unique, and getting one little thing wrong can cause the entire plan to implode.
If you have any additional questions or would like for our firm to assist you with Long Term Care Planning, Medicaid, as well as other estate planning needs, then please contact our office at (919) 844-7993.