Are you concerned about the impact that the cost of long term care will have on you and your family? Medicaid planning can help protect you and your family from the devastating costs of long term care. Call the Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. at (847)253-7500 today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Elder Law Attorney to discuss your options. Medicaid planning is where an experienced Elder Law Attorney helps you to develop a plan to deal with the costs of long term care to the advantage of you and your family using certain legal strategies available under Federal and Illinois law. If done correctly, Medicaid planning can help you to protect yourself, your spouse and your family without risking your long term care. Whether you want to protect your life savings, your spouse from being impoverished, the future of your disabled or special needs child, your caretaker child, precious family assets such as the family cabin, insuring that a portion of your life savings goes to your children or grandchildren, or want to have some funds available to pay for the small things when you are in long term care, then you need to contact the Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. to help you achieve your goals. As a result of the changes to the laws at both the State and Federal level, changes in the procedural rules for applying and qualifying, dramatic changes in the attitude in regard to administration of the rules by Administrative Agencies, and the as well as the contractual and other obstacles created by many of the Nursing and Supportive Living Facilities, it has become increasingly difficult to achieve these goals.
Achieving these goals is still possible. The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. has over 30 years of experience in assisting in the preparation and implementation of Medicaid and Asset Protection plans. These plans allow Clients to achieve their goals legally and without jeopardizing the potential care needs. The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. can help you and your family understand the laws and how they can be used to your advantage to achieve your goals. Call (847)253-7500 to schedule an appointment.
MEDICAID AND ASSET PROTECTION PLANNING REALITIES
There are certain facts that anyone considering Medicaid planning must be aware of:
1. Time and Delay are the enemy.
The sooner you develop and implement a plan the greater the likelihood of success and the more you can achieve. There are Medicaid planning strategies that allow you to preserve assets for your family, still retain numerous tax advantages as well as allow you to continue to enjoy the benefits of the assets, however this strategy is only viable if you develop and implement it either five years prior to needing long term care or that you have sufficient asset s or long term care insurance that will allow you to implement the strategy on a shorter time horizon.
2. You Need Legal Authority To Act.
If you wish to delay decision on Medicaid planning you still need to establish legal authority to do future planning now. Even if you don’t want to take action now , if you think you might want to consider planning at a later date or if you simply don’t want to preclude your ability to plan later if you change your mind, then it is essential that you meet with an Elder Law Attorney and have your Durable Powers of Attorney and other Estate Planning documents revised so that you, your spouse, your family or your agent or successor trustee has the legal authority to take the necessary action at a later date. The fact is ALL DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY ARE NOT EQUAL. The law allows an attorney to make substantial additions and place limitations on Durable Powers of Attorney and in Trusts. The Durable Powers of Attorney and Trusts prepared by an Experienced Elder Law Attorney will be dramatically different than those prepared by most attorneys, as they will include additional authority not otherwise allowed that will be necessary to take action to protect assets and qualify for Medicaid and simultaneously protect the individual you have asked to assist you from risking their financial well-being. I your Durable Powers of Attorney and or Trust are more than a couple of years old you may need to update them in order to maximize your protection in this area of law that is going through rapid changes not only in the laws but in the practical applications of the laws. Also, if you wait too long to prepare or update these documents, then you might not be able to do so later if you suffer from any cognitive decline.
3. Long Term Care Insurance Is A Valuable Addition To A Plan But You Still Need To Plan.
Long Term Care Insurance does not replace Medicaid planning, it is a valuable addition to the plan. If you have long term care insurance that is not a reason not to develop and implement a Medicaid or Asset protection plan. In fact if you are lucky enough to have long term care insurance, you have the opportunity to protect a much greater percentage of your assets for your spouse or family. Long term care insurance is not a substitute for Medicaid or Asset Protection Planning, it is a valuable addition and tool to be incorporated into the plan.
4. It Is Never Too Late To Take Action.
Even if you did not plan in advance, you can still benefit from Medicaid planning even if you are already in a Nursing Home. If you, your spouse or loved one is already in a Nursing Home or Supportive Living Facility, that does not mean that it is too late, even then plans can be made and implemented at that time provided the Resident retains sufficient cognitive capacity or had the foresight to have executed Durable Powers of Attorney and Trusts prepared by an Experienced Elder Law Attorney which grant the legal authority to take such actions on the Resident’s behalf. Depending upon how much remains in assets, certain strategies, which are legal and fully disclosed, can preserve up to and in excess of 50% of the remaining assets while qualifying the Resident for Medicaid.
5. You Need An Experienced Elder Law Attorney.
It always makes sense to have an experienced Elder Law Attorney assist you with any Medicaid planning and to represent you in the Medicaid Application Process. If you know that you, your spouse or loved one is going to run out of money sometime soon, you should always consult with an Elder Law Attorney prior to trying to complete the application process yourself or with the facilities assistance. Even if you, your spouse or loved one is already in a Nursing Home or Supportive Living Facility, and only have enough money for 6 months of payments to the facility, you should immediately contact an Experienced Elder Law Attorney to represent the Resident in the preparation, submittal and representation of the Medicaid Application. Why would you do that? Simply put, it will save you many many hours of work, it will reassure you that it is being done correctly, and you will have the same amount of money at the end as you can use the money that would have paid the facility for the last few months to pay the Elder Law Attorney.
Unlike having someone from the facility assist you or attempting to do it yourself, the advantages to hiring an Experienced Elder Law Attorney are substantial as well as numerous, including but not limited to:
(1) unlike the facility representative or yourself the elder law attorney will be aware of the most recent changes in the Medicaid laws and procedures;
(2) unlike the facility representative or yourself, though you still must assist in obtaining all the necessary documents and records, the elder law attorney will be actual compile those documents into the format required by the State, advise you of additional documents which are needed as a result of the review of the other documents, prepare the application and related documents correctly, submit the application on the Resident’s behalf as the Approved Representative, interact with and respond to any inquiries or supplemental requests made by the State during the application process, argue on your behalf when the State incorrectly makes some determination against you, know what additional evidence the State requires for you to meet your burden of proof as to any of the many issues in all applications, reviews the Notice of Decision to make sure that it is correct in all aspects whether it is the starting date or amount of the Resident’s contribution and then advice the Resident on what should and can be done to correct the error, or in other words the Experienced Elder Law Attorney does hours and hours of work which otherwise you would have to figure out how to do then do it yourself;
(3) unlike the facility representative the elder law attorney can and will provide you with legal advice on how to handle issues and opportunities; and
(4) unlike the facility representative the elder law attorney will be looking out for your best interest not the financial best interest of the facility.
The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. can help you and your family with Medicaid planning, by helping you understand the law and how it can be used to your advantage to achieve your goals. Call (847)253-7500 to schedule an appointment.