If you are facing an immediate need for Long-Term Care for you or your spouse, and you have only a moderate amount of income and/or assets, it is likely that you will need to rely on the Medicaid program, at least in part, in order to finance Long-Term Care services. Since eligibility requirements for Long-Term Care coverage under Medicaid are strict and require that the individual have only a limited amount of income and resources, you may need to engage in Medicaid planning in order to preserve what assets you have and still qualify for Long-Term Care coverage under Medicaid.
Transferring assets to an annuity that produces an income stream can be a helpful Medicaid planning strategy in some situations. Under Medicaid’s eligibility rules, any income that a spouse owns is only attributed to him or her for the purposes of calculating income limits, rather than to both spouses. Furthermore, a spouse is permitted to transfer any amount of assets to his or her spouse without jeopardizing Medicaid coverage for Long-Term Care. As a result, if one spouse needs to enter a nursing home and the other spouse can still remain at home, the best strategy may be for the nursing home spouse to transfer any assets that she owns to the community spouse. The community spouse can continue to live in the home and have any amount of assets without making the nursing home spouse ineligible for Medicaid.
The Medicaid rules have very specific requirements for a Medicaid annuity, including naming the state as a beneficiary after the community spouse annuitant. Typical annuities do not work for Medicaid eligibility. But getting the right annuity at the time of need, by working with a skilled elder law attorney, can preserve those funds and keep the community spouse from becoming impoverished. And the ill spouse would become immediately eligible for Long-Term Care coverage through Medicaid.
As you age, you often confront questions about your future physical and mental condition, as well as the financial health of your family should something unexpected occur. As a result, it is essential that you take steps to ensure that your wishes are carried out, both respect to your financial affairs and your medical decisions. When you have made sure to clearly express your wishes with respect to these issue, you can rest easier knowing that you have adequately provided for your family, and your family will have an easier time helping you obtain Long-Term Care and other services that you might need. Call Elder Law Group PLLC today and learn how our Spokane wealth preservation attorneys can advocate on your behalf.