Recently I have the chance to attend a free elder law seminar provided by a fellow member of the Long Island Chapter of the National Aging-In-Place Council, Fred Kramer.
Fred has been providing elder law services for 27 years and was gracious enough to invite me to a seminar to see exactly what goes on…
Now, Fred’s lecture was based around Medicaid eligibility, qualifying for Medicaid and how to shield your assets (legally) so that home health care and nursing home costs in our later years do not destroy what took us a lifetime to save for.
The other thing that was abundantly clear was that because Medicaid is a joint Federal/State program, there are 50 different sets of rules to cover the Medicaid process.
Video Overview of A Free Elder Law Seminar
This means that something that Fred said was legal in New York might be illegal in another state.
So rather than getting into the intense details…and because Fred knew his stuff so some of the details were intense…I am instead going to focus on some basic ideas he went over.
But before going on, I have to say I was very impressed with the fact that there wasn’t any sales pitch or anything that could be considered a high pressure sales tactic.
There was, of course, a sign in sheet when you came in, as well as the obligatory coffee and pastries, but upon ending the seminar it was a simple, “Thank you for attending. Please fill out the survey so that you can critique me and I will use that to improve future seminars.”
Fred’s Office: 640 Fulton St. in Farmingdale
It was the quality of the knowledge that he provided that will get him clients in the future. Because by the end of the seminar the attendees were asking nothing but specific questions about their own personal situation and how to protect their nest egg for the future.
Basic Ideas From The Seminar
- The most important paper in estate planning is the Power of Attorney with a Gifting Rider
- Fred recommends long term care insurance to those younger clients as well as to seniors who can afford it. And even though we were discussing Medicaid eligibility and the question may come up, “Why do I need a LTC policy when I can just go on Medicaid?”, the answer is that the LTC policy will pay for assisted living, something Medicaid will not.
- Fred then went into the assets that are exempt and considered excludable assets: these can include your home (if the healthy spouse is still living there) and some IRA’s (if you are over 70 1/2 and taking your required minimum distributions).
- He discussed the concept of spousal transfers to allow the unhealthy spouse to qualify for Medicaid and the 5-year look back period for Medicaid qualification.
- We then went into a discussion of gifting options…what was considered an excludable gift and what would get you in trouble with Medicaid…and innovative using loans that can legally allow you to avoid these troubles, including the “Rule of Halves”.
- He wrapped things up with an in-depth discussion of the concept of the irrevocable trust and how this can shield assets from Medicaid.
Note: in describing the seminar, I am keeping things deliberately vague. This is for two reasons…
- The rules in New York that Fred described may not apply outside of New York so I would be giving you false information.
- Because I was taking notes as fast as I could I might have mis-transcribed some of the details and do not want to get myself or Mr. Kramer in trouble if I am not totally accurate with the details.
Overall, I would say that the two hours I invested was well worth my time…and if you are a senior or the adult child of a senior this is the type of seminar you need to attend in your area so you can acquainted with the local laws governing Medicaid and start planning now!!!!
Remember, that Medicaid requires a 5-year look back period so you have to prepare now!
About my host: Fred Kramer has been an elder law attorney in the state of NY for 27 years.
Based upon the knowledge he shared with me at this seminar and the way he has shared his time with the senior community on Long Island through the Long Island Chapter of the National Aging-In-Place Council I cannot recommend him enough to a family looking to shield their assets from nursing home costs.
If you are in the NY area and need an elder law attorney contact him…
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