Elder law attorneys focus on certain legal matters that are sources of concern for elder Americans. Many estate planning attorneys also practice elder law, because the two are inherently connected.
If you consult with an elder law attorney in Ashland, Kentucky, you will learn a bit about long-term care and the expenses that go along with it.
Long-Term Care Expenses
Long-term care is extremely expensive. The costs have been rising on a year-by-year basis, so the expenses that you may be facing in 20 or 30 years will be higher than they are today. In 2012 the national average for a year in a private room in a nursing home was over $90,000. The average length of stay is over two years.
This is a lot of money for most people. Even if you could possibly pay out-of-pocket, these expenses could consume everything that you wanted to leave behind to your loved ones. This is one of the reasons why elder law and estate planning are connected.
If you are thinking that you are going to be qualified for Medicare, you should know that Medicare does not pay for long-term care.
Most People Will Need Living Assistance
Everyone is aware of the existence of nursing homes and assisted living communities. However, you may assume that most people will never require living assistance.
The statistics tell a different tale. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the majority of Americans over age 65 will need assistance with their activities of daily living eventually.
Facing the Facts
Most Americans over age 65 are going to need long-term care. Medicare won’t pay for it. Long-term care is very expensive. These are the facts.
Elder Law Attorneys & Medicaid Planning
Now we can get back to the subject of the role of the elder law attorney. Elder law attorneys are very well-versed in the intricacies of the Medicaid program. Medicare won’t pay for long-term care as we have previously stated, but Medicaid does pay for long-term care if you can qualify.
Medicaid eligibility is based on financial need. If you are in possession of more than $2000 in countable assets, you can’t qualify for Medicaid.
You can divest yourself of assets in anticipation of applying for the Medicaid program, but you have to do so well in advance with full knowledge of Medicaid rules and regulations.
This is because there is a five year look back period. If you give away assets within five years of applying for Medicaid, you won’t be able to qualify unless you comply with Medicaid’s complicated rules.
The rules are complex with regard to divestitures, what your spouse can keep, and what property Medicaid can seek to attach after your passing.
Elder law attorneys understand all of these rules, and they provide counsel to clients who are interested in obtaining Medicaid eligibility.