Elder Law Frequently Asked Questions
Q. If I qualify for Medicaid, I heard that Medicaid places a lien on my house for the money they paid for my care. Does this mean that Medicaid will take my house after I die?
A. Contacting Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A., is your first step to protecting your home against Medicaid Estate Recovery. If your assets are protected, then Medicaid cannot recover them. However, if you have not taken steps to protect your home and other assets, then Medicaid will place a lien on your home for all monies paid for the cost of your care. If you are married, then Medicaid cannot recover against your home until after your surviving spouse passes away.
Q. I already have a living trust; why do I need a new trust to protect my assets?
A. This is a common question in the elder law community. If you or a loved one will require long-term care or some type of assisted care, and would like to qualify for Medicaid or VA Aid & Attendance benefits, then yes, you will likely need a new and different kind of trust (irrevocable trust also known as a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust). A living trust, although helpful in avoiding probate, will not avoid Medicaid Estate Recovery.
Q. Is it true that Medicaid has a five year look back period, and you can’t make transfers during that period?
A. Yes and no. Medicaid does have a five year look back period, but not all transfers are disqualifying. In fact, many type of transfers are allowed: to spouses, to caregiver children, and to disabled children. However, the law is complicated, and guidance on the specific rules regarding Medicaid eligibility and qualification should be discussed with an experienced elder law attorney.
Q. My mom is already in a nursing home; is it too late to get help?
A. No. Although early planning is ideal, it is not mandatory. Our firm can help your parent qualify for Medicaid or VA Aid & Attendance even if they are already receiving care. Through various estate planning techniques, we will be able to help get your parent the benefits they need while protecting their assets.
Q. If my parent receives Medicaid in a nursing home, will she receive different care from other residents who do not receive Medicaid?
A. Absolutely not. Nursing homes cannot discriminate against or provide different levels of care based on how a resident pays. Your parent will receive the exact same level of care in the nursing home as another resident who liquidated their assets and is paying out of their bank account. The only difference is that your parent gets to keep his or her assets while receiving care.