One thing that most seniors don’t plan for is long-term care. Many people are trying to pay for long-term nursing care. A focus of elder law is how an elderly person can pay for it. With this in mind, the majority of long-term care is paid for by Medicaid, so understanding how that program integrates with estate planning is important. For example, you wouldn’t want a bequest in someone’s estate planning to adversely impact your Medicaid planning. A family member may be ineligible for Medicaid if they inherit something.
Completing the Medicaid application can also be a challenge. Elder law attorneys see many of their clients’ applications initially denied. An experienced attorney may be successful on appeal. It might be a mistake at Health and Human Services (HHS). The best way to do this is to ask for the assistance of an elder law attorney. People who apply on their own may be denied and won’t question it—or even realize that they can question it.
Some people worry that their parent will go broke before they need costly end-of-life care and they’re afraid that Medicaid patients received substandard care. However, they should receive the exact same care as a private pay or short-term disability in the nursing home. Even so, you should look at several facilities, speak with residents and staff, and observe the conditions before making a choice.
There is also a lot of bad information floating around about Medicaid eligibility. Some folks believe they won’t qualify. However, some assets, like a house and vehicles, are exempt when qualifying for Medicaid. This allows the community spouse — the one remaining at home — to continue to support themselves.
Also, there are a few elder law attorneys who receive an extra certification called a Certified Elder Law Attorney, or CELA. It’s a national certification program that requires five years of practice in elder law and a written exam.
Reference: The (Fort Worth TX) Star-Telegram (October 14, 2016) “Elder care attorneys can help with long-term care, Medicaid”