The Asset Protection Secret
One of the biggest Medicaid secrets is that asset protection is within your reach with the help of your Elder Law Attorney. It is not something reserved exclusively for people with huge sums of money. I help families of all kinds protect what they can. With my proven techniques your parent can achieve three very big goals that other people might not want you to know about. Those goals are:
- Protecting their life savings;
- Becoming eligible for nursing home medicaid;
- Reducing their nursing home costs to what they can afford, and potentially $0 if they are married.
Within a few months we went from panic on how to proceed to breathing a huge sigh of relief. My mother is getting great care she can afford and it would not of happened without Richard Shea.
What Is Texas Nursing Home Asset Protection?
Nursing home Medicaid asset protection is the process of using proven and legal strategies to avoid paying more for nursing home care than your parent or spouse legally has to. If your nursing home bill right now is $5,000 but your parent's income is only $750 your parent's life savings is going to disappear real quick while the nursing home laughs all the way to the bank.
My asset protection is designed to protect as much as you or your parent legally can and reduce the nursing home bill to what they can afford ($750 in the above case, and possibly $0 in a married case). Sounds like a good idea? Keep reading.
Is It Safe and Legal?
Safe and legal is the only kind of asset protection I recommend clients consider. If I would not tell my own family to do it I am not going to recommend you do it. There are plenty of illegal and unsafe schemes calling themselves "asset protection" but that is not what I do.
Is It Too Late?
In many cases it is still possible to complete valuable asset protection steps even after a parent or spouse enters a nursing home. I encourage you to check with me before giving up because it never hurts to get an opinion from someone who has been doing this for 15 years. There is no obligation and no cost for an informal opinion.
Does It Work?
Yes, definitely yes. Here are some recent examples from my asset protection cases:
- I protected over $99,000 for a woman who was already in a nursing home before her family came to me.
- Developed an asset protection plan for a husband that reduced his wife's nursing home cost from over $5,600 per month down to less than $2,200 per month. That alone saved him almost $3,500 every month. On top of that I created a strategy to protect over $500,000 in assets for his own use that he would NOT have to spend-down. I did this within the 5 year look back period without interfering with his wife's Medicaid eligibility. In fact it accelerated her eligibility.
- I created an asset protection plan for an unmarried mother that protected almost $30,000 in existing assets and preserved over $75,000 in gifts she previously made during the 5 year look back period for a total of over $100,000 in asset protection. If this family did not come to me once she entered a nursing home they would have been looking at a Medicaid ineligibility penalty of almost 480 days and they would not have protected the additional $30,000.
- I created a Medicaid eligibility plan for a married couple that reduced the husband’s cost of nursing home care from $4,290 per month down to $914 per month. This created monthly savings of $3,376. In addition to this monthly savings I designed a strategy to protect over $80,000 in assets for the wife’s use that the HHSC would have required her to spend down. This asset protection was completed during the 5 year look back period without interfering with her husband’s Medicaid eligibility.
- I protected over $12,000 that an unmarried Medicaid applicant wanted to set aside for her descendants. I was able to do this during the 5 year lookback period without interfering with her Medicaid eligibility. In addition to that asset protection, I helped the family avoid a 116 day Medicaid ineligibility penalty for a transaction they previously completed before hiring me.
Asset Protection Myths
Bad information can be the most dangerous thing in the world when you are looking for effective asset protection. Here are some common myths inexperienced people have about Medicaid asset protection:
- For a married couple, the HHSC does not touch separate property. (hint: separate property has no special protection when it comes to Medicaid eligibility).
- If there is a surrender charge or other fee to surrender an asset like a CD or annuity then the HHSC does not consider it an asset. (hint: surrender charges reduce the value of an asset, but do not change its treatment as an asset).
- A jointly owned asset or account is treated as being 50% owned by the other person. (hint: maybe, but you are going to need extensive documentation to show the contributions and spending by the joint owner. Without sufficient evidence it is 100% accessible to the Medicaid applicant).
- Those $14,000 per year tax free gifts allowed by the IRS are not treated as a transfer of assets creating a Medicaid penalty. (hint: the IRS and the HHSC have different rules. The IRS may not tax it, but the HHSC does still treat it as a transfer creating a penalty).
PROTECT WHAT YOU HAVE LEFT
Whenever you have had enough of those expensive nursing home bills coming every month give me a call and we can get to work on putting an end to those devastating bills.