Today, I am starting a new feature on the blog…Your Questions Answered.
This is where my readership send s me a question, I answer it and then publish the answer. For the longest time I have gotten questions and answered people directly.
Now, however, I am going to start to publish these answers.
The first question comes from Betty J., who asks…
I would like to know if you go into a nursing home do I have to hand over my money and home?
And here is my answer…
That’s a great question, but it’s also a legal question so you need to understand first that I am not a lawyer and as such cannot give legal advice.
However, I can tell you how to proceed to get the advice you need.
So let go over some particulars…
1) Nursing home costs are HUGE. In 2012 when my mother was approved for Medicaid to pay for her nursing home costs it was $14,200 a MONTH for the facility
2) There are specific, legal ways for you to shield your assets from nursing home costs, but I would recommend that you get competent legal advice specific to the state you are in so that you can legally protect your assets.
Here is why…
First, you need to understand that Medicaid is a joint Federal/State program. This means that each state has its own rules regarding what is permitted when it comes to protecting your assets from the long term care costs like a nursing home.
Something that is an allowed practice in one state is actually illegal in another.
Second, you must deal with the “Medicaid Look Back Period”, which currently stands at 5 years. This means that when you apply for Medicaid to cover nursing home costs the government will look back into your financial history for 5 years to see what money you had back then. They are looking to see if you have transferred any money to relatives to make it look like you are destitute so that Medicaid will pay for the nursing home.
So, understanding that you have to deal with this 5 year look back period, how do you go about protecting as much of your money and your home as possible?
The first thing to do is to realize you need to start NOW. Take action immediately. And what I would recommend is to see an elder law attorney in your area to go over your finances and see what can be legally protected.
This brings up the question. How do you find the right elder law attorney for you? There are two suggestions I could give you…
1) Many elder law attorneys have free seminars where you can go and ask questions like the one you are asking me. I attended one and wrote about it. You can view that article by clicking here.
2) If you can’t find a local seminar (and you should be able to because they are advertised all over the place) then you need to go through my tips on how to find an elder law attorney.
They are listed here…
I hope this helps. Good luck and get started NOW protecting yourself.
If you have a question, feel free to ask it by contacting me here.