Do you remember HAL-9000 from the film 2001? He could be scary. Just like the words “lookback period” strike fear into many families. And perhaps rightfully so once you find out how much a nursing home costs every single day with no end in sight. While we certainly need to respect the lookback period when it comes to nursing home Medicaid, in many cases I can still achieve a client’s asset protection goals even within the lookback period. You have less options during the lookback period, but you still may have some very good options.
What It Is
The lookback period is simply a period of time. It is the five year period before applying for nursing home Medicaid. What it means is that for any asset protection strategy you pursue you better know the Medicaid penalty issues (if any) and have a plan for dealing with those issues. For example, giving someone as little as $200 in cash, check, or other value when you are within the lookback period is going to create a penalty and you better be prepared for it before the money is gone or you could be in for a nasty surprise.
What It Is Not
Many people think once your parent or spouse is already in a nursing home that means you are within the lookback period and there is nothing you can do. In many cases, that is flat out wrong. Yes you are within the lookback period, but you still might be able to do something. You probably have options you should know about before deciding to pursue them or ignore them.
The lookback period does not say you cannot pursue any legal and appropriate asset protection strategies. It simply means your options are a little more limited than if you were outside of the lookback period. Many of the asset protection techniques I offer can be used even during the lookback period and even after your parent or spouse is already in a nursing home.
Can I protect $10,000 during the lookback period? In many cases, yes. Can I protect $50,000 during the lookback period? In many cases, yes. Can I protect $100,000 during the lookback period? In many cases, yes. The facts of each case do more to dictate any limit on asset protection available more than any law or regulation. To see some recent examples of the asset protection and savings I have achieved for families in the lookback period visit my asset protection page.