Nursing Home Asset Planning Attorneys in Conway, AR Helping Clients Protect Their Life Savings
Nursing home care in America is a huge drain on family finances, and many of us worry about how we will pay for it when the time comes. According to a 2021 study conducted by Genworth, the average monthly cost of nursing home care in Arkansas was $6083 for a semi-private room or $6692 for a private room. That adds up to between $73,000 and $80,000 per year, and that’s just the average. Many facilities cost more than that. Few families can afford to pay these costs on their own, so they turn to Medicaid to help. Medicaid is a combined state and federal government program that can offer assistance to people who need it to pay for long-term care. Medicaid has strict income and asset limits that must be met to qualify, and many people exceed these limits while still not having the funds to pay for necessary care. At Dudeck Law Firm, we have the skill and experience to help you protect your assets while possibly still qualifying for Medicaid assistance. Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 to discuss getting the care you need while protecting all you have worked so hard to earn.
What is the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program?
Medicaid is costly, and every state is required to have a program to recover assets to help cover the cost of care after the recipient dies. If you received Medicaid for long-term care services, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) is required to file a claim against your estate upon your death. In some cases, DHS may not pursue the claim, and the state will never pursue a claim for more money than it paid for your long-term care services.
Estate recovery will only apply to you if you are:
- Age 55 or older and received Medicaid in a nursing home or Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded (ICF/MR) or in a home and community-based waiver program
- Under age 55 and considered permanently institutionalized in a nursing home or ICF/MR.
The State of Arkansas will not pursue a claim if you have:
- A living spouse
- A child under 21 years of age
- A child of any age who is blind or disabled (not necessary to have lived with or been dependent on the recipient at the time of their death).
The state may also choose to waive its claim if the DHS Hardship Waiver Committee determines that:
- Recovery will create an undue hardship for other surviving family members
- Recovery is not cost-effective
Can I Lose My Home if I Go On Medicaid?
Losing the family home is a common concern for families when one of the parents goes into long-term care. Fortunately, there are a few scenarios in which your home will be taken. Your home can NOT be taken to cover long-term care costs if:
- You are married, and your spouse continues to live in the home
- You have an adult child who is blind or disabled (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
There may be other instances in which the state will not attempt to recover assets, depending on the specifics of your situation.
Instances in which your home may be sold, and the proceeds turned over to the state to recover Medicaid costs can include these situations:
- You are single and do not intend to return to the home
- Your spouse, who was living in the home, has died
- Your blind or disabled adult child has died
- Your minor child has turned 21
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 in Conway at Dudeck Law Firm help you understand your options.
Are There Ways to Protect My Assets Before I Go to a Nursing Home?
There are several steps that you can take to protect your assets before you go into long-term care, but these do need to be completed ahead of time in most cases. Trusts, life estates, annuities, and even outright gifts to others can help to protect your assets from being seized and liquidated to pay for your nursing home care, but in most cases, these arrangements need to be finalized more than 5 years before applying for Medicaid, as there is a 5-year look-back period in which all financial transactions will be reviewed. If you have transferred assets to another during that look-back period, it is assumed that you did so in order to hide or remove assets so that they could not be seized to pay for long-term care. The assumption is that had the assets not been gifted, sold under their fair market value, or transferred, they could have been used to pay for the elderly individual’s long-term care. Gifts or transfers that occur before the look-back period, however, are not subject to review. Therefore, it is important to plan for nursing home care long before you expect to need it.
Why Should I Hire Dudeck Law Firm?
At Dudeck Law Firm, we focus our entire practice on estate planning and elder law. This gives us vast experience in and knowledge of the situations that are likely to arise as people age into a new stage of life. Long-term care can be expensive, but our skilled attorneys can help you figure out how to afford the care you or your loved one might need while protecting the assets you have spent your whole life savings. Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 to speak with one of our experienced nursing home asset planning lawyers. We are here to help.