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The Importance of Medicaid planning

In our previous post we began looking at the story of a 74-year-old man who is being evicted from the home owned by the elderly woman for whom he has been caring for 38 years.

Here we continue that story and look a bit more at the importance of Medicaid planning.

As the Columbus Dispatch notes, the elderly man at this point in his life has no close family and very little income. And even though the house has been willed to him, it isn't in his name. He is now fighting the eviction. Though he was offered the opportunity to pay rent or purchase the home, he refuses to do so. The man's attorney believes his case is unusual, since the man believes the home belongs to him since he fulfilled a promise to care for the elderly woman for her for all those 38 years, she viewing him as a son. The elderly man's attorney is trying to prevent an eviction until there is a judicial determination on the question of whether he owns the home.

The elderly woman's guardian said that it is her role to do what is in the elderly woman's best interest.

Experts say that Medicaid property exemptions for caregivers are rare and usually only apply to a recipient's legal children. Regardless of what happens with this case, the important takeaway is that it is important to do Medicaid planning. Advocates for the elderly heavily stress planning, both for one's estate as well as for Medicaid related matters.

One important thing to keep in mind for Medicaid planning is that if one has transferred assets after February 8, 2006 one will generally be ineligible for Medicaid for five years. There are exceptions to the rule, however, for properly structured transfers.

It is important, in planning for Medicaid related matters, to work with an attorney that understands the system and who can help you accomplish your goals and avoid unwanted penalties.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Thanks to Medicaid, caregiver faces eviction," Rita Price, 7 Feb 2011.

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