Although Medicaid is widely known as the joint federal and state-run program that provides medical care to needy individuals, you may not know that it also benefits seniors needing long-term health care. There is no Medicaid planning guidebook, but the legal experts in the Law Offices of W. Woods Doster, P.A. understand the complexities and requirements of Medicaid to help our clients get the benefits due them.
Upon initial analysis of the set income and asset limits for individuals to qualify for Medicaid benefits, you may believe the value of your estate automatically disqualifies you for Medicaid eligibility. That may not be the case. Our Medicaid lawyers will work with you to develop a strategy to get your assets and resources within Medicaid’s financial eligibility limit without jeopardizing your Medicaid eligibility.
As you age, the chances of experiencing a serious medical event increase, and planning for that is something you should do now. W. Woods Doster North Carolina elder law and estate planning attorneys can help you protect your assets for inheritance while planning ahead for Medicaid eligibility. Let us help shield your spouse and family from potentially costly long-term care by contacting our attorneys for guidance and support with the Medicaid planning process.
A Glossary of Medicaid Financial Eligibility Terms
Lookback Period. If you are applying for Medicaid, you must disclose all financial transactions within a date range, known as the lookback period. The lookback period is five years from the time of your Medicaid application. North Carolina requires asset transfers to be made at fair market value, and assumes a transfer during this period was made for Medicaid qualification. During evaluation, if a transfer of assets was made for less than fair market value during the lookback period sanctions can be imposed.
Transfer of Assets. You may need to transfer ownership or title from yourself to someone in your family in order to limit the amount of assets on hand. For example, transferring property and adding an additional owner to a savings account are both considered a transfer. If you are going to gift your assets, ensuring this is handled prior to the lookback period can ensure maximum Medicaid benefits as well as maximum benefits to the recipient.
Spend Down. If you have assets over Medicaid’s limit at application, you can “spend down” the excess assets in order to meet the financial limit. This stipulation is aimed at individuals with significant health needs whose income is too high to otherwise qualify for Medicaid. Expenditures towards medical bills and medical supplies, as well as various other expenses, can be made until the incurred expenses drop the income to the qualifying Medicaid threshold.
However, participating in estate planning in advance can help you and your family avoid sanctions, penalties and overwhelm. Contact a Medicaid and estate planning attorney to discuss your options for you to become Medicaid eligible before your need is imminent.
How a North Carolina Elder Law and Medicaid Planning Lawyer Can Help
Filing for Medicaid benefits is complicated and has the potential for far too many serious financial consequences to take it on by yourself. If your assets are handled incorrectly, you could be hit with sanctions and penalties that could limit medical care coverage. We will take the time to listen to your concerns, discuss your requirements and limitations, and present you with the information you need to make an informed decision.
Ideally, when the time comes for you to request Medicaid coverage you will have a long-term care plan in place to ensure your eligibility. Planning for your future includes developing a plan for the management and disbursement of your assets and resources as well as establishing an advance directive indicating your desires for your own health care in the case you become unable to make decisions yourself.
If you have initially filed for Medicaid, and were denied benefits, or if you are planning to file, our elder law attorneys are your greatest resource. Medicaid eligibility is complex and can leave you facing unexpected medical bills. Let the W. Woods Doster Medicaid lawyers ease your burden and intervene on your behalf.
Your financial situation should not drive whether you or your family receive appropriate medical care when chronic, long-term conditions require it. Let our professionals in elder law and Medicaid planning services bring you peace of mind.
Contact Us for North Carolina Medicaid Planning
The staff at the Law Offices of W. Woods Doster, P.A. are dedicated to serving your elder law and Medicaid planning needs. We can advise you regarding the laws pertinent to your situation, and we can help prevent unintended consequences regarding your estate from happening. Call today at (919) 842-5007 or contact us through our website.
Trust. Experience. Respect. You can count on the Law Offices of W. Woods Doster, P.A. for legal support for Medicaid planning and other elder law needs. Serving residents of Sanford and Pittsboro and throughout Lee, Chatham, Harnett, and Moore counties.