Nursing Home Asset Planning Attorneys in Hot Springs, Arkansas Helping Seniors Protect Their Assets
Figuring out how to pay for long-term care without losing everything is a common concern. Regardless of your current age, a time will come when you may need to move out of your home and into a nursing home where you can receive direct care. While we would all like to think that we will live independently right up until the end of our lives, this is not the reality for many people. It is estimated that 25% of older Americans will need nursing home care. Unfortunately, none of us can accurately predict whether we will be in that 25% or not. Planning for long-term care can ease your mind and protect all you have worked so hard to earn and save, and if you never need it, no harm done. If you wait until you or your loved one is about to go into a nursing home, however, you may be too late. Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 to discuss your options for nursing home asset planning with one of your skilled and experienced elder law attorneys.
What if Only One Spouse Needs Nursing Home Care?
One major concern we see in our clients is what happens if one spouse needs nursing home care and the other doesn’t. The fear is that the at-home spouse (called the community spouse) will run through any money or assets the couple has to pay for nursing home costs and will be left destitute, unable to cover their own living expenses or medical care needs. Without careful planning, this is certainly a possibility, as nursing home out-of-pocket costs are in the $6000 per month range in Arkansas. It doesn’t take long to run through life savings at that rate. However, there are strategies available to divide the assets of the couple, so the at-home spouse’s half of the assets can be protected against the long-term care costs of the other spouse. The home is protected as long as the other spouse remains living in it. Please do not panic and sell your family home and cash in investments to pay for nursing home care. Consult with a skilled nursing home asset planning attorney before you take any drastic steps. There are many options available to you, and one of our experienced estate planning attorneys from Hot Springs will be happy to explain.
What if We Don’t Qualify for Medicaid?
Medicaid is a combined state and federal government entitlement program available to those who are 65 and older, disabled, blind, or on dialysis who meet certain income and asset guidelines. According to a 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation study, 66% of Arkansas residents in certified nursing care facilities had their fees paid by Medicaid that year. Although more current statistics are not readily available, that percentage has been fairly steady over time and may increase with the increased aging of the population and current economic conditions.
Many who apply for Medicaid without the help of an elder law attorney are rejected because their assets or income are too high, or errors were made on the complex application forms. If this has happened to you, don’t despair. There are several strategies available for protecting assets while still qualifying for Medicaid, and the earlier you start the planning process, the better. Medicaid has a 5-year look-back period, which means that if you have transferred assets less than 5 years prior to your Medicaid application, they may still be counted in your total. This does not mean that it is impossible to protect assets if you have not planned at least 5 years in advance, but early planning makes the process much easier and more streamlined. Our elder law attorneys are also very skilled at filling out the complex paperwork required and can help at every step of the Medicaid application process to enhance your chances of approval.
Will Medicaid Take My Home?
Many families and individuals worry that they will lose or be forced to sell their home if they or a loved one goes into long-term care or goes on Medicaid. This is not always the case. For example, your home can NOT be taken or forced to be sold to cover nursing home costs if:
- Your spouse continues to live in the home
- You have an adult child who is blind or disabled (the child is not required to live in the home or be a dependent)
- You write a letter stating your intent to return home
- You have a child under the age of 21
Every state is required to have a program to recover assets to help cover the cost of care paid by Medicaid after the recipient passes away. In some cases, however, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS)may not pursue the claim.
There are steps that you can take to protect your home from the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. Let one of the skilled estate planning attorneys at Dudeck Law Firm help you understand your options.
Why is Dudeck Law Firm the Right Choice?
Unlike other law firms that do not focus on any one area of practice, Dudeck Law Firm has a strong commitment to estate planning and elder law. We are passionate about helping families plan for the future as family members get older. We can help with the concerns you may have about aging, long-term care, asset management, and inheritances, among many other issues.
Your family depends on you now—make sure that they can depend on you to have made careful plans for them in the future.
Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 to speak to one of our experienced nursing home asset planning lawyers.