I hope this second a three part series on getting qualified for Medicaid benefits will help provide information and answer questions on what are legal ways to transfer assets and Medicaid will pay for nursing home care
One of the prime planning techniques used before the enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), often referred to as “half a loaf,” was for the Medicaid applicant to give away approximately half of his or her assets. One of the main goals of the DRA was to eliminate this kind of planning.
Be very, very careful before making transfers. Any transfer strategy must take into account the nursing home resident’s income and all of his or her expenses, including the cost of the nursing home. Bear in mind that if you give money to your children, it belongs to them and you should not rely on them to hold the money for your benefit. However well-intentioned they may be, your children could lose the funds due to bankruptcy, divorce, or lawsuit. Any of these occurrences would jeopardize the savings you spent a lifetime accumulating. Do not give away your savings unless you are ready for these risks.
In addition, be aware that the fact that your children are holding your funds in their names could jeopardize your grandchildren’s eligibility for financial aid in college. Transfers can also have bad tax consequences for your children. This is especially true of assets that have appreciated in value, such as real estate and stocks. If you give these to your children, they will not get the tax advantages they would get if they were to receive them through your estate. The result is that when they sell the property they will have to pay a much higher tax on capital gains than they would have if they had inherited it.
As a rule, never transfer assets for Medicaid planning unless you keep enough funds in your name to (1) pay for any care needs you may have during the resulting period of ineligibility for Medicaid and (2) feel comfortable and have sufficient resources to maintain your present lifestyle.
Remember: You do not have to save your estate for your children. The bumper sticker that reads “I’m spending my children’s inheritance” is a perfectly appropriate approach to estate and Medicaid planning.
My firm has been helping Texas families for many years navigate the issues surrounding getting Medicaid benefits to pay for a family member’s nursing home care. We do not charge for the initial consultation so please contact me today if there are any questions you have about what needs to be done to get Medicaid benefits to help pay for nursing home care. The phone numbers to call are 1-866-KNOW.LAW (866-566-9529) (TOLL FREE) or 972-772-6100 or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope this second a three part series on getting qualified for Medicaid benefits will help provide information and answer questions on legal ways to transfer assets and Medicaid will pay for nursing home care.
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