Asset Protection Planning
The most prevalent concern among estate planning clients today is whether or not their estate will be depleted by nursing home expenses, leaving no assets to pass to their children. While Medicaid will pay for nursing home expenses, a person is generally only eligible for Medicaid assistance after he or she is virtually impoverished. If the nursing home patient is married to a person who is not in a nursing home (the “community spouse”) a certain amount of assets, including the marital home, can be preserved by that community spouse, but often the community spouse must spend down a significant portion of his or her assets. Without careful planning, the significant life savings of a hard working married couple can be quickly dissipated on nursing home expenses. Simply “giving away” assets does not necessarily result in Medicaid eligibility and can result in a disastrous situation in which an impoverished patient is in need of nursing home care, but is not eligible for Medicaid assistance. To further complicate the analysis, effective medicaid planning often is counterproductive to effective tax planning due to the issues of capital gains, tax basis and estate and gift tax issues. You need the advice of an attorney experienced in Medicaid and elder law issues in order to plan and implement an asset protection plan which will work and not threaten Medicaid eligibility. Attorney Rubino has 32 years of experience in dealing with elder law issues and can help you make the best decisions within the context of the complex Medicaid rules and regulations.