Elder Law Report

Avoiding Probate and Protecting Your Assets: The Three Rules to Qualify for Medicaid Benefits

February 17, 2023 Greg McIntyre, J.D., M.B.A.
Elder Law Report
Avoiding Probate and Protecting Your Assets: The Three Rules to Qualify for Medicaid Benefits
Show Notes Transcript

3 MUSTS when applying for Long Term Care benefits:
Qualifying for long term care benefits doesn't have to mean sacrificing assets. Here are 3 things to do to protect your hard-earned savings.
#1 Avoid Probate.
#2 Protect assets under the benefit rules.
#3 Have the Elder Law Attorney/Firm submit the application and explain the planning.

Schedule your FREE consult today! Call: 1-888-999-6600 Online: mcelderlaw.com
#LongTermCare #AssetProtection #elderlaw #estateplanning #medicaid #nursinghome #assistedliving #trusts #irrevocabletrust #ladybirddeed #probate #attorney #lawyer

**Speaker 0** (00:00:00) - Please don't wait till it's too late. Call McIntyre Elder Law.

**Speaker 2** (00:00:16) - Hi, I'm Greg McIntyre, McIntyre Elder Law and welcome to the Elder Law Report. And today we're going to talk about Medicaid liens. How long-term care, medicaid, or special assistance that pays for nursing home or assisted living care can attach a lien to your estate. What that means, because I hear all the time, Britain, my law partner, Bri Begley, has joined me. Hey, Bri, how you doing this morning?

**Speaker 3** (00:00:41) - Fantastic.

**Speaker 2** (00:00:43) - Good. So I hear all the time, you know, I don't want Medicaid to take my house. I don't want the nursing home to take my house, but it doesn't exactly work like that. And I wanna clarify exactly how it does work. And so Brenton, can Medicaid just, if they come in and pay for nursing home care for me, and hopefully not anytime soon, um, can they just take my house?

**Speaker 3** (00:01:08) - If not, they have to. Uh, number one, they can't take it while you're living at all. And then number two, they gotta wait till after you pass away. There's a few exceptions. Even then, um, you know, if there's a spouse still living in the house, there's a disabled child still living in the house, or the Medicaid debt's under $5,000, or if there's some type of undue hardship that would, you know, um, re result as, uh, as far as, you know, the, the folks living in the home, maybe a dependent living in the home, something like that. If Medicaid were to, um, place a lien against the property, uh, forced to sell the property, something like that. But even then, they're limited to assets that go through probate. So if the home is going through probate, um, that's when they can go after the home. Um, but it's a, it's a multi-step process to go after that home, even then. So to kind of sum that up, no, they can't take the home, just come in to take it, especially not during your life. They have to wait until after you've passed away. And only then they can only go after the property if it's going through probate. And none of the exceptions, uh, listed before apply.

**Speaker 2** (00:02:20) - So the three rules of avoiding a long-term care, medicaid lien, a lien associated with long-term care assisted living with, or nursing home care, the first rule is avoid probate with passing your assets. That's the first rule. So secondly, how do we protect the assets? Because you know what, Bri, they're not gonna qualify me for long-term care Medicaid, unless I have $2,000 in assets, one house, one car, right? And how do I avoid losing my house? How do I hang on to the money? You know, how do I do that well and not taken?

**Speaker 3** (00:03:03) - Yeah. Well, one of the best ways to both avoid probate and help you qualify for benefits to pay for long-term care is to utilize something like a trust. You know, that's why trust is such good tools because hey, you know, you can use one tool to accomplish both goals, solve both sides of the equation, if you will. It's kinda like an algebra problem. Lawyers don't like math. That's why we became lawyers. But we still have to solve these intricate legal problems that sometimes set up logically like an algebra problem. I

**Speaker 2** (00:03:33) - Love, I love math, I love math

**Speaker 3** (00:03:34) - Situation or solving both sides of the equation. Number one, the ability to qualify for care during your life. Number two, the ability to protect the assets even after you've passed away. So Medicaid or the nursing home or any other creditor can't come after the property or money.

**Speaker 2** (00:03:50) - Sure, sure. So trust can work. A lady bird deed on your home can work for the home, right? There's lots of different ways to solve that problem, that puzzle, right? And, and to get that done. Right. So let's say I've avoided probate, I've protected my assets because I have my money in an irrevocable trust where I'm still the lifetime income beneficiary. I can still get income and I've protected my house with a Ladybird D right? All of which is allowable under the Medicaid rules for long-term care, Medicaid. And, you know, man, I'm, I'm, I feel like I'm set up pretty good. What else do I need to do? I've gotta apply and get qualified dona. So, so I've gotta avoid probate, protect my assets in a way that complies with the benefits program, and then I have to apply and get approved, right? How do I apply and get approved if I've done all this legal work over here? Are they, are is Medicaid or is Department of Health and Human Services is dss, are they gonna know what I did over here? How's that gonna work?

**Speaker 3** (00:04:53) - Yeah. So the thing is, is that DSS the government, they're, they're gatekeepers to the benefit and they're not just gonna hand it to you on a silver platter, okay? So they want to make sure, make darn sure that you actually qualify and they're gonna question everything that they could possibly question. So thing is, is that, um, the legal planning is important to make sure you qualify and make sure the assets are protected. But you have to have somebody on your side who can articulate what's been done and why you qualify and why the legal work that's been done is Medicaid compliant. So that shakes down to, you know, what you should do if you're trying to apply is see an elder law attorney who is knowledgeable on Medicaid applications and have them handle that for you to streamline the process because the timing in those applications are incredibly important.

**Speaker 3** (00:05:50) - You have a very large facility bill that is coming, whether you like it or not, and you need to make sure that Medicaid is in place to either pay it going forward or retroactively pay to the data qualification. And, you know, if Medicaid is arbitrarily setting that data qualification, they might not cover Medicaid, might not cover a bill that had been incurred up to the point where you were qualified. So you don't want to go into the facility, incur a bunch of debt, get Medicaid to pay, but still have a bunch of debt hanging out there, even though Medicaid's paying for the rest. So, uh, a, a skilled attorney who's knowledgeable in these sorts of things can help with not only the qualification, not only the protection of assets, but you know, the, the correct timing and streamlining of the process. So you get qualified without having to incur unnecessary medical debt.

**Speaker 2** (00:06:46) - Exactly. The three rules to avoid long-term care, Medicaid liens or any kind of benefit program, leans still keep your assets and still qualify for a benefit to pay for long-term care assisted living or nursing home care for you or your loved one. Could be a spouse, could be a parent, is two, one, avoid probate. Two, protect your assets in a way that complies with the benefit programs rules. And three, have someone who's either done number two for you and number one helped you avoid probate and protect the assets. Have them handle the Medicaid application or the benefits application. Cause they know what the plan is. They know why it complies. They've chosen the simplest, most straightforward plan they know works every single time, and they're going to be able to communicate that to a social worker so they understand it and you don't have problems with the application.

**Speaker 2** (00:07:55) - We have an entire benefits department. We have an estate planning department. Both of those work together to make sure we avoid probate, protect your assets and get that application in explained and approved. So if you need help with applying for and being approved for long-term care for you or your loved one and you not, or you are not looking forward to losing all your assets or paying all those down to a facility, give McIntyre Elder law a call. Call 1 8 8 8 9 9 9 6600 or go online to do research because myself, Brenton, other people on our team have written some really, really good articles. If I can, I don't say so myself. And more videos like this that can help you and your family do research and start knowing where to begin, right? And get that process going. So thank you so much, uh, Breton Attorney Begley for, uh, helping me put out the three rules of applying for and getting approved for long-term care benefits, uh, today. And we'll see you next week on the Elder Law Report.

**Speaker 0** (00:09:08) - Please don't wait. Elder law

**Speaker 0** (00:09:19) - Life is busy. We all know we put off planning until things get slow. Tomorrow's never promise today, don't get too busy, let off, slip away. Please don't wait Too late. Come back. Elder planning or more complex, we can help when your perplex, if a loved one needs long-term care, we can help avoid some of the scare. Please don't wait til it's too late. Come back and inside your Elder Bob, stay planning benefits and even probate. We take the planning piece of your place. If you were your spouse, were in the middle of Terry. We now can help. Please don't wait late.