Genworth, an insurance and financial services company, has released its annual report on long term care costs. Its interactive map is at https://www.genworth.com/about-us/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html. For Indiana, it shows costs of $3,528 for an Assisted Living Facility, $6,388 for a Semi-Private room in a nursing home, and $7,665 for a Private Room. The high costs of long-term care places a burden on our senior clients. The good news is there are legal planning steps that can be taken to help protect much of their hard earned savings. If you, or a loved one, are facing these issues and unsure of how to pay for long-term care, we would be happy to help. We can guide you through the Medicaid system and show you options that may help you and your family in these trying times.
Medicaid is a complicated and sometimes confusing program. However, when a family is faced with a loved one needing nursing home care, and faced with the prospect of paying $7,000 to $8,000 (or more) per month in nursing home bills, they often do not know where to turn. We help families plan for and protect much of their life savings using planning techniques permitted under the Medicaid rules. When families need help navigating the Medicaid system and understanding what planning options are available they should work with an elder law attorney familiar with the Medicaid rules and also the estate planning techniques that will work best in each situation. However, there are non-lawyers that hold themselves out as “Medicaid planners” and the article linked to below covers some issues and problems with those non-lawyers. Here is a link to that article.
Beware of Non-Lawyers Offering Medicaid Planning Advice
I am currntly attending an advanced elder law and Medicaid planning conference in Tempe, Arizona. The conference is hosted by ElderCounsel of which I am a charter member. Some of the best and brightest attorneys througout the country are here and we are discussing the most advanced techniques to help our clients protect and preserve their hard earned assets agains the devastating costs of long term care. For most of my elderly couples, if one of them needs nursing home care, the $5,000 to $6,000 monthly cost could greatly affect the finances of the spouse that is still able to stay at home. Creative and legal steps can be taken, even in a crisis situation, to help protect those assets for the benefit of the well spouse. Too often I see couples making outright gifts of assets to their children. These gifts will not only cause a penalty period for Medicaid but will subject the gifted assets to the claims of children's creditors and could subject the assets to loss if the child later goes through a divorce. There are special trusts that can be used to protect assets against long-term care costs and also protect against loss from a child's creditors or divorcing spouse.
We are also covering a little known VA benefit referred to as "aid and attendance" that is available for war time veterans and their widows. This VA benefit can help these elderly individuals cover their long-term care costs, whether in-home care, assisted living, or nursing home care. These benefits are not automatic however. But, there are planning techniques that can be implemented to help qualify a person for this valuable benefit.