Should You Be Afraid Of Medicaid Estate Recovery?
Estate planning lawyers often warn you not to outlive your savings, but what is the worst that can happen if you do? You will not be able to enjoy the trappings of retirement like people with robust retirement savings can, but you will not be without food and shelter. You will still get Social Security benefits, and Medicare will still pay for some of your medical expenses. If your income is below a certain level and your assets are below a certain value, Medicaid will even pay for your residential care in a nursing home. Of course, publicly funded healthcare does not go out of its way to be generous; Medicaid does not exactly give seniors money to pay for their medical care so much as it lends it to them for as long as they are alive. Medicaid estate recovery is one of the main reasons that estate planning is as important for the 99 percent as it is for wealthy people. To get started employing strategies to protect your estate, modest as it may be, from Medicaid estate recovery, contact a Tampa estate planning attorney.
Medicaid Will Help Itself to Your Estate, but Only If You Let It
Medicaid estate recovery is not just a possibility; it is the law. Pursuant to the federal Social Security Act, the states must attempt to recover the money their Medicaid programs have spent on care for elderly from the estates of those seniors after they die. Medicaid estate recovery only applies to Medicaid payments paid out during or after 1993 to beneficiaries who were at least 55 years old at the time of service. It also does not apply to Medicaid payments for nursing home care, regardless of the age of the nursing home resident. It only applies to services like home health aide care and prescription drugs. The good news is that you do not have to worry about losing access to your medications or your in-home care, but the bad news is that the state wants you to reimburse it for those costs after you die.
Medicaid can petition the probate court to sell assets belonging to the decedent in order to satisfy the decedent’s obligations to Medicaid. The good news is that some assets are exempt, and asset protection strategies can help you ensure that as many of your assets as possible fall into this category. It stands to reason that Medicaid beneficiaries and the trust fund set are not in the same tax bracket, but there are other ways to keep your assets out of probate. Specifically, any assets that you own jointly with a family member are exempt from probate and, by extension, from Medicaid asset recovery. Likewise, Medicaid will not come after your estate if you have a surviving spouse.
Contact David Toback With Questions About Asset Protection
A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you be strategic about your estate plan to protect your assets from creditors and from Medicaid estate recovery. Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.