Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

There are few things in older age that place your hard-earned assets at risk, like entering a nursing care facility. The National Council on Aging estimates that a nursing home can cost about $7,900 per month, or nearly $96,000 annually. No matter the size of your estate, paying for nursing home costs can reduce your estate’s value and leave less for your heirs and beneficiaries.

Medicaid is available to help you pay for long-term care costs, but you must meet income limitations to take advantage of such help. Long-term care planning aims to enable you to pay for your nursing home costs without sacrificing the value of your estate. Thankfully, there are several ways this can be accomplished.

Ways to Safeguard Your Estate’s Value While Affording Long-Term Care

Working with an experienced Louisville estate planning lawyer, you can explore one or more ways to qualify for Medicaid without sacrificing the value of your estate. These options can include:

Obtaining a Long-Term Care Insurance Policy

You can purchase an insurance policy that would pay for your nursing home expenses rather than paying these costs yourself. Applying for a policy is relatively straightforward, and monthly premiums may be affordable for you. This approach has a few downsides, though. 

First, your policy only remains in force so long as you continue to make monthly premium payments. Second, your policy will have a limit, and it will not pay for costs that exceed the policy’s limit. Finally, finding a policy may be difficult, depending on your overall health.

Transferring Your Assets to an Irrevocable Trust

A second option is to create an irrevocable trust and name yourself as a beneficiary. With this option, your trust becomes the owner of your assets and pays you income that is low enough so that you can still qualify for Medicaid.

It is best to employ an estate planning attorney in Louisville or Cincinnati to help you in setting up such a trust. The Medicaid program has strict rules that your trust must comply with if you expect it to lower your income enough to qualify for benefits. 

Not following these rules can mean you do not qualify for Medicaid and will have difficulty accessing your assets.

Making Financial Gifts

Many consider benefiting others through their wills and trusts after passing away. However, nothing prevents you from making gifts to others while you are still alive. This can also be an effective solution to lower your income and qualify for Medicaid, and it benefits the people you care about while you are still alive to see their reactions.

If you intend to gift money or other assets to someone, be certain it is truly a gift. You may run into issues if you gift an asset to someone who allows you unfettered access to the supposed gift. 

Choosing the Best Option

There are other options that might be available to you that will allow you to qualify for Medicaid and government support programs without sacrificing your assets and their value. However, knowing the best option to choose requires a careful review of your finances and assets as well as your overall goals for your estate.

Reach Out to Your Louisville Estate Planning Lawyer at the Law Offices of Shaw & Nelson, PLLC

The time to consider how to pay for your long-term care needs is now, well in advance of when you expect to need nursing home care. The Law Offices of Shaw & Nelson and your Louisville estate planning attorney are available to get the conversation started. 

Contact us and allow us to begin exploring how to protect what you have worked hard to achieve while still getting the care and services you need as you age.