What Happens If I Die Without a Will?
Dying without a will means you are what the courts consider “intestate,” which means laws of your state determine how your property is distributed. In most cases, your assets would go to your spouse,...
Fear: It’s a subject that most of us prefer not to dwell upon as we grow into our senior years—the time of life when our bodies, and occasionally even our minds, begin to betray us. But it’s worth remembering that fear is a perfectly natural emotion. It exists to alert us to possible dangers, and to help keep us safe. And yes, there seems to be more than enough unwelcome scenarios to fear as we enter the latter years of our lives.
For some of us, one of those unwelcome scenarios may involve a unexpected illness or injury that leads to a hospital stay, and then an indefinite transfer to a nursing home. Without a doubt, the sudden change to nearly every aspect of your life is reason enough to be wary of the nursing home scenario. But there’s also the issue of cost.
Depending on a facility’s location and the quality of its care, the annual fee can range anywhere from $40,000 to $180,000. There are very few of us for whom a price tag of that size is even an option.
Thankfully, a potential does exist in the form of Medicaid benefits. But applying for those benefits and successfully receiving them, especially after the incident that landed you in a nursing home has already occurred, is complicated and difficult.
There are solutions, however, that an estate lawyer can help provide. This is a bit of an over-simplification, but the main problem with Medicaid benefits is that if you have too much money or other assets, you won’t qualify. That’s why most people end up paying out of pocket for nursing home care until their savings run out … at which point they often will qualify for Medicaid benefits. They’ll also be almost entirely broke.
There are several Medicaid rules and laws in existence that will allow you to receive the benefits you need without giving up everything you own.
For example, there are certain assets that can be claimed as exempt on your Medicaid application, which essentially means that they won’t be counted as an asset. There are also laws that will allow you to transfer some assets to family members—real estate, for instance—without suffering a penalty.
Perhaps not surprisingly, though, the process of calculating, say, resource allowances and monthly maintenance needs allowances is nothing if not hugely complicated. A highly qualified Bucks County estate lawyer, however, can help you answer these questions.
He or she can also help you decide if adding an annuity to your portfolio, might allow you to qualify for Medicaid benefits sooner. An estate planning attorney can parse your financial situation and your medical needs, or the medical needs of a loved one, and can explain all your realistic options in easy-to-understand language.
There’s no need to feel guilty if you failed to plan financially for the near-inevitability of one day needing to take advantage of the benefits our government makes available through Medicaid. Even if the incident that sent a loved one to a nursing home has just recently happened, a properly qualified estate lawyer can still help you devise a plan that will get you the benefits you need while protecting your estate at the same time.
The attorneys of Penglase & Benson are adept in dealing with a variety of estate planning issues, including Medicaid planning. Determining how Medicaid can help pay for your long-term care can be complicated, to say the least. But with careful planning, a great deal of your estate can be saved and eventually transferred to your loved ones.
Although it sounds a bit ironic, you might say that receiving the Medicaid benefits you paid into all your working life and not having to go broke in the process is the best of both worlds. So please consider contacting us today to request an appointment. It may be the most valuable call you ever make.