Do you have a parent or a loved one that is declining in health? Do you know where he or she will reside if he or she is unable to live independently at home? How will he or she pay for living arrangements together with the cost of care or assistance that he or she will need?
Elder law is the practice of answering these very questions. Many people face these issues without a clear understanding of the governmental benefits that may be available to help offset the cost of care that a declining loved one requires. All too often, good intentions turn bad as people spend a lifetime of savings to provide for their loved one’s care.
Navigating the Medicaid, Veteran Benefits and long-term care insurance roads is difficult without a guide. The attorneys at Serafini, Michalowski, Derkacz and associates offer sound advice at a reasonable price. Using proper long-term care planning based in estate planning, probate law, and governmental benefit law can be the difference between losing a loved one’s estate and preserving an estate to help provide superior care at an affordable price.
Medicaid planning does NOT have to simply mean “Medicaid spend-down”. Clients facing nursing home placement issues, often engage in traditional spend-down by spending their family’s assets month-by-month on nursing home care until they are otherwise eligible to receive Medicaid benefits to pay for the monthly cost of their nursing home care. Michigan law allows clients to engage in both proactive planning and reactive planning to help preserve family wealth in spite of nursing home placement. Time tested strategies like “half-a-loaf” planning, divestment, community spousal planning, and five (5) year planning can all be effectively used to save 50% or more of a nursing home resident’s estate at the time he or she enters a nursing home or after he or she has already entered a nursing home. Proactive strategies can often protect assets or an estate before the need for nursing home placement arises.
Other long-term care strategies can be used to qualify for VA benefits like aid and attendance benefits or improved pension benefits to help offset the cost of assisted living, home-care, or private duty nursing home care. These benefits can even provide additional monthly income to a surviving spouse of an otherwise qualified wartime veteran that requires additional care or assistance his or her self. Despite changes to federal law that now require a three (3) year look-back period for VA benefits, strategies can be implemented to qualify veterans and or their spouses for benefits to help pay for assisted living, in-home and nursing care.
Even if you or your loved one requires longterm care assistance and does not otherwise qualify for Medicaid and, or VA benefits, prudent planning can be accomplished to use your retirement benefits as a way to achieve similar results as benefit qualification. Often retirement assets are not used to help fund care; however, by using pro-active planning techniques to preserve non-retirement or non-qualified assets through a planned monthly distribution of IRA, retirement, or other qualified assets to help pay for the cost of medical care and assistance, income taxes can be properly mitigated while other assets are preserved through planning.
A failure to plan DOES NOT need to become a plan to fail. It is never too late to begin longterm care planning. Working together with the attorneys of Serafini, Michalowski, Derkacz & Associates, P.C., you and your family can help plan appropriately for your declining loved one while preserving their estate.