As you get older, you should begin to think about your assets and how they will be affected if you go into a nursing home. While your health insurance is going to cover several months of your stay if your goal is rehabilitation, if you go into a nursing facility as a permanent resident, your assets will be diminished to pay for your care until they run out.
Medicaid Looks Back Five Years at Asset Transfers
When you apply for Medicaid to cover the costs of your care in a nursing facility, Medicaid will look back five years to see what assets you have given away. These financial transactions can be penalized if it has been less than five years between your Medicaid application and the transaction date. To protect your assets, and ensure you don't have to pay for nursing home costs, you must be proactive.
Although the specific details for Medicaid vary slightly state to state, the bottom line is for Medicaid to begin paying for your long term care, your assets must be depleted. Medicaid is a state and federal welfare program, designed in part to pay for nursing home care for those that can't afford it.
Transfer Your Home to the Future Heir and Hold a Life Estate
You can transfer your home to the future heir at any time, as long as you hold a life estate interest in the property. This means that you have transferred the title of the property but that you are allowed to live in the property as long as you are alive. The property is listed in your heir's name, and this asset won't count against for Medicaid purposes if you transferred the property longer than five years before you applied for benefits.
If You Have Significant Cash Reserves
It is time to start giving out financial gifts to potential heirs if you are no longer believe you will need the money in your lifetime. With significant cash reserves, this money will be spent to take care of you in a nursing home before Medicaid will kick in. An average cost for long term care in a semi-private room is $6,235 per month, and you will pay this amount each month until your assets no longer exist.
Once you are on Medicaid, the majority of your social security payments will go to the nursing home. You will be left with a small amount of money (approximately $70) for your personal needs. As you plan for your future, protect your assets by meeting with a qualified estate planning attorney from a firm like Brandt & Beeson PC that can address all of your concerns.