What Mistakes Do You See People Make When Trying To Do This Type Of Planning On Their Own?
- Some people try to do long-term care planning and Medicaid spend-down planning on their own. Other people wind up doing this kind of planning on their own because they are faced with an emergency situation they were not prepared for. In either case, people are very likely to make common mistakes.
- Those common mistakes can be very serious and potentially disastrous for individuals and their families.
- Consulting an elder law or estate planning attorney with Medicaid spend-down planning experience can help ensure that you get the best possible outcome.
To begin with, I do often see people trying to do long-term care planning on their own because they think they can do it just as well and save on attorney’s fees, or because they want to be in control of their planning. However, just as often, I see people who had to make impromptu long-term care planning decisions because they were faced with an unexpected emergency in which a loved one suddenly required nursing home care.
In any case, many of the mistakes I see are similar, and one of the most common mistakes that I see is a lot of gifts being made to unauthorized individuals.
This mistake occurs because people hear or become aware that in order to qualify for Medicaid, they have to only have a certain number of assets to their name. When people have assets that exceed the asset cap, they often start to just give those assets away—whether it’s money or other assets.
Unfortunately, that can be a very costly mistake. Medicaid does not allow people to qualify by spending their money down in that way. If Medicaid does an assessment and finds out that this is what happened, they can levy what’s called a Divestment Penalty, which prohibits the individual in the nursing home from obtaining their Medicaid benefits until that penalty runs out. Often, that can have a very devastating effect on the individual and their family.
Instead, individuals and their families are very strongly encouraged to consult a Medicaid planning attorney, who can help them devise a Medicaid spend-down plan that suits their needs as closely as possible while adhering to the rules.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all Medicaid spend-down plan, and thorough attorneys will not try to make one type of plan fit all of their clients. I tailor all of my clients’ planning specifically to each individual client and their family.
The plan that I help choose for each client depends largely on what assets they own, how they own those assets, and what their goals for their spend-down planning are. These are individualized plans that we put in place, and I’m there every step of the way providing advice and counsel and peace of mind to the family.
For more information on Medicaid Planning in Michigan, a complimentary consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 800-2548 today.