Unlike Medicare and private health insurance, Medicaid covers the costs of long-term care, like nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Medicaid is a need-based federal program, however, so obtaining coverage can be complicated. Unless you already qualify based on low income and few assets, you might not know where to turn. That’s where an experienced Elder Law attorney can help.
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot transfer all your assets into your spouse’s name to save everything while still qualifying for Medicaid. But you also do not need to deplete or give away all your assets to be eligible for Medicaid. You can protect your assets, but you need to do so in accordance with state and federal laws. One of the ways you can accomplish this is through a Medicaid trust.
A trust is essentially an agreement under which a person or entity, called a “trustee,” holds someone’s property for the benefit of someone else. The person who places his or her property in a trust is called the “trustor,” and the person who stands to benefit from the trust is called the “beneficiary.” In a Medicaid trust, the trustor and his or her spouse cannot act as trustee or otherwise have access to or control over the trust property. If the trust is properly constructed, the assets within it will not be considered for purposes of Medicaid eligibility.
It is important to keep in mind that Medicaid does institute a five-year “look-back” period, in which it evaluates asset transfers within the five years leading up to an application for Medicaid.
Prevent Penalties & Rejections
Penalties or even rejection can result from improper transfers during this time, which is why consulting a knowledgeable Elder Law attorney is so important. Call Giro Attorneys at Law, LLP, today at (201) 690-1642 to start your New Jersey or New York Medicaid planning.