At Peak Legal Group, we recognize how emotionally and financially devastating it can be to have a mother, father, sibling, or spouse incapacitated to the point of needing nursing home care. We understand what your family is experiencing and we are here to assist in any way possible. Our goal is to lessen the emotional burdens on your family by providing reliable and accurate information on which to base the legal and financial decisions relating to your loved one’s care.
What Is Medicaid Planning?
Medicaid Planning is the process of developing a plan based on legal and ethical strategies to save as much of the family’s assets as possible while qualifying the senior citizen or disabled adult for Medical Assistance (Pennsylvania’s “Medicaid”) to cover the costs of long-term care (such as nursing home care or in-home assistance).
Medicaid Planning allows the disabled loved one and the family to determine how the family assets are to be used instead of watching a lifetime of sacrifice and hard work be eaten up by nursing home costs.
Medicaid requirements are complex and ever-changing, and there are plenty of traps for the unwary when it comes to qualifying for benefits. That’s why it’s important to work with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania Medicaid planning attorney.
What Types Of Services Are Included In Medicaid Planning?
Medicaid Planning may involve a number of different services, and each family’s situation is unique. Some of the services we provide to our clients include:
- Analyzing the disabled loved one’s (and spouse’s) income and asset portfolio to determine the potential strategies to qualify disabled loved one for government assistance.
- Providing the family information on waiver services and other alternatives to nursing home care or to other sources of monetary assistance, if applicable.
- Assisting the disabled loved one and their family in choosing the strategies that will work best for them, and creating and executing a plan to implement those strategies. Such strategies may include:
- Gifting or transferring assets (keeping mind the “5 year look-back” disqualification period)
- Creating trusts
- Purchasing a qualifying annuity for a spouse
- Entering into written Caregiver Agreements with family members
- Converting countable assets into exempt assets to qualify
- Spending down assets to qualify
- If financial, insurance or other advisors are needed to implement the chosen strategies, providing referrals for these services upon request.
- Reviewing and, if necessary, revising Powers of Attorney, wills, and trusts and to make sure that they are consistent with the client’s needs and goals and will enable us to carry out the appropriate planning measures.
Determining the date on which the disabled loved one was, is or will be eligible for Medicaid coverage (in some cases, we are able to apply for retroactive eligibility) and providing guidance in the collection of the information and verifications necessary for the Medicaid application.
When the disabled loved one is ready to apply for Medicaid, completing the Medicaid application and acting as the primary contact for all necessary interactions with the County Assistance Office and/or Department of Public Welfare, the reviewing bodies for the application.
If the initial application for Medicaid benefits is denied for some reason, filing and handling the appeal.
As new changes in Medicaid policy are implemented as law, keeping our client families informed of the impact the changes will have on their particular situations.
Pennsylvania Medicaid Planning
At Peak Legal Group, our focus is on saving as much of the family’s financial resources as possible while helping the disabled loved one qualify for Medicaid as quickly as possible.
When Should Medicaid Planning Begin?
Protective measures can be implemented and savings realized at any stage of the process, even after the disabled loved one enters the nursing home. But the earlier the Medicaid Planning begins, the more options there are available for preserving assets and the more likely it is that the disabled loved one can actively participate in the decision-making process.
Plan Ahead With A “Medicaid Planning Road Map”
We often meet with families who are concerned about the high costs of long-term care and simply want to find out about their planning options in the event that a parent or spouse may need nursing home care in the future. These families know that “forewarned is forearmed” when it comes to long-term care planning, and they are looking to educate themselves before they find themselves in a crisis situation.
For these families, we offer what we call a “Medicaid Planning Road Map” in which we assess the current situation, identify the potential planning and asset protection opportunities available to them based on the financial and health status of their loved one, and also highlight the things to do (and things to AVOID) to work toward Medicaid eligibility as time goes by and circumstances change. Our Road Map removes a lot of the guesswork and uncertainty about achieving Medicaid eligibility, so our clients and their loved ones can continue to enjoy life without constantly worrying about the road ahead.