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Providing For An Aged, Disabled Or Incapacitated Spouse

As if getting old was hard enough, the finances of paying for long-term healthcare can add an immense amount of stress on families. In many cases, long-term insurance or personal savings accounts can be enough to cover home healthcare services, assisted living centers, or nursing homes. But what happens when insurance isn’t available and your income is too high to qualify for Medicaid?

When determining eligibility for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the assets and monthly incomes of both spouses are counted. For example, if a wife has an IRA in her name but the husband needs long-term care, the IRA is considered an available asset that can be used for the husband’s needs, disqualifying him from Medicaid payments.

This may seem like an antiquated way of determining someone’s eligibility for healthcare benefits, but that’s unfortunately how it works. At Goldberg & Associate, our estate planning attorneys have years of experience helping our clients find ways to pay for the long-term care they need, whether that’s prescription medication or a nursing home. Even though financial institutions can make it difficult for families to qualify and pay for these services, there are various methods and tools that can be used to make Medicaid possible. When you work with our elder law firm, you can expect a team to work hard for you and your loved ones.

How to Manage Finances in Order to Qualify For Medicaid

In order to qualify for Medicaid when one spouse has wealth in a savings or investment account, you can essentially move those assets so that it appears that your estate is less valuable than it is – that you do not have the funds necessary to access healthcare.

 

Gift Assets to Children or Individuals

By gifting assets to children or another person, those assets are essentially invisible and can help you qualify for Medicaid. With this method, however, if the spouse applies for Medicaid within five years of the gift, it will be considered as a part of your assets. So you will need to wait five years before applying.

Fund a Special Needs Trust (SNT)

There are two types of special needs trusts: third-party and first-party.

  • Third-Party SNT: This is a type of trust that is commonly used for parents of a child with disabilities. Property is added to the trust through their will or other beneficiary designation. The funds in the trust cannot be used for cash gifts, the trustee is able to use the funds for various things, and the beneficiary of the trust never owns or has direct access to the funds.
  • First-Party SNT: While a third-party trust is funded by someone other than the beneficiary, a first-party trust is funded by the person with special needs. Property for the trust could be acquired by a retirement plan, divorece settlement, life insurance policy, or inheritance.

When these trusts are created properly, the funds won’t jeopardize eligibility for Medicaid. Special needs trusts can be complicated and setting them up properly is essential, so speak with your estate planning attorney to determine if this is a good option for you and your circumstances.

Work With Goldberg & Associates For Expert Estate Planning Services

Goldberg & Associates has three locations in Georgia, including Peachtree City, Griffin, and Atlanta. If you’re unable to qualify for Medicaid and need to care for an aged, disabled, or incapacitated spouse, our elder law firm can help. We can use our knowledge and experience with helping families qualify for Medicaid to ensure that your loved ones get the care they need. Call our estate planning attorneys for more information or to schedule an appointment.

At Goldberg & Associates, we specialize in handling elder law and elder law cases. All of our resources are at your fingertips when you work with Goldberg & Associates. We will do everything in our power to ensure the maximum amount that can be saved, will be saved for your retirement. No stone goes unturned at Goldberg & Associates; we are prepared to make sure you do everything you need to in order to max out those savings options, and make way for the time when you will get to retire.  

Bob Goldberg

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