Most who are familiar with Medicaid planning have a similar story. One that speaks of family members and loved ones spending all their money on nursing home and medical costs until they’re broke. Only then, after all the money is gone, do the loved ones get assistance from Medicaid. And even then, only if they are in a nursing home. These families are often shocked to learn that if proper asset protection and Medicaid planning had been done, some assets could have been saved. But when do you start planning for long term care costs? And is it ever too late?
The short answers are as soon as possible, and it is never too late. The longer answer is a little more complicated. Where it can be best and most advantageous to plan for Medicaid costs sooner rather than later, Medicaid planning can happen at almost any time. However, results vary greatly based on many factors, the most prevalent factor being when the planning is done.
If we can pre-plan, meaning at least five years before needing nursing home care, almost all assets can be saved. In a typical Medicaid pre-planning situation, many assets can be moved to an asset protection trust. This asset protection trust then holds the assets, and once five years has passed, the money in the trust is then protected from Medicaid costs. If we know that we have less than five years before the individual needs nursing home care, the planning does become more complicated, but not impossible.
If the individual needs nursing home care in the next five years, or is already in the nursing home, all is not lost. There are tools that knowledgeable Michigan asset protection and elder law planning attorneys have in their toolbox that can assist in these situations. Depending on what type and volume of assets are left when planning, there are strategies that can preserve the majority of a family’s assets. While this type of planning requires more technical skill, involvement, and is more costly than Medicaid pre-planning, it is still frequently superior to paying $9000 to $11000 per month until the money is all gone.
Medicaid pre-planning is encouraged and rewarded by the value of how much can be protected. However, it should be noted that any Medicaid planning is very situational, and what might be beneficial for one person, may not be beneficial for you. To start a conversation about Medicaid planning, schedule a consultation with an experienced Michigan elder law firm today.