When you think about retirement planning, the active years will come to mind first. Without question, you can have a lot of fun, cross things off your bucket list, spend time with your family and friends, and enjoy the fruits of your labor if you plan ahead appropriately. At the same time, it is important to consider the expenses that you may be faced with during the twilight years that will follow.
If you pay into the program sufficiently throughout your working life, you will qualify for Medicare when you reach the age of 65 if the current parameters remain in place. This program can serve as your primary source of health care insurance as you traverse your senior years. It is important to understand the fact that there are out-of-pocket costs including co-payments, deductibles, and premiums, but these are manageable for most people that have prepared for retirement.
There is however a huge gap in the Medicare program that you should address when you are developing a comprehensive plan for aging. Medicare will pay for the convalescent care that you would receive after some type of injury or surgery when you are expected to recover. However, if you were to require ongoing, permanent help with your activities of everyday living, it would be looked upon as custodial care. The Medicare program does not pay for this type of assistance.
How Likely Is It?
When you think about the future, you may assume that you may never need living assistance of any kind. Indeed, it can be hard to wrap your head around the possibility of needing help with simple everyday tasks. Though it may not be a very pleasant thought to consider, in fact, it is likely that you will require help with your day-to-day needs eventually.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services does a great job educating the public about the realities surrounding long-term care for seniors. They have put up a website that you can reach at LongTermCare.gov. According to their research, approximately seven out of every 10 people that are reaching the age of 65 will require some form of living assistance.
Long-Term Care Costs
Our firm handles estate planning and elder law matters. This situation can definitely impact the legacy that you have always intended to pass along to your loved ones if you have to pay for nursing home care out-of-pocket. We have offices in Kentucky and in North Carolina, and at the present time, you can expect to pay somewhere in the vicinity of $90,000 a year for a private room in a nursing home in these states. Costs are rising annually, so this number is likely to be considerably higher in a decade or so. An extended stay in a nursing home could be financially devastating.
This is where our knowledge can be invaluable. The Medicaid program does pay for long-term care, but there is a very low asset limit of just $2000. That’s the bad news, but the good news is that there are a number of things that do not count, including your home. Plus, if you are entering a nursing home as a married person, and your spouse will be remaining at home, the healthy spouse is entitled to certain allowances.
To qualify for Medicaid, you could convey countable assets into an irrevocable trust or give direct gifts to loved ones. However, you have to complete these divestitures at least 60 months before you submit your application. If you fail to do so, you would be penalized, and you would be forced to pay out-of-pocket for a particular interim. For example, if you gave away enough to pay for two years of nursing home care, your eligibility would be delayed by two years. Even if you do not have five years before needing nursing home care, though, the Medicaid rules will often still provide options for preserving assets for the family, particularly a spouse living at home and children.
Contact The Potter Law Firm Today!
If all this sounds rather complicated, you are right on track, because it is not easy to coordinate all the different steps that you must take at the right times. This is why experienced legal counsel is so beneficial when you are endeavoring to devise a nursing home asset protection strategy.
We would be more than glad to discuss everything with you in detail if you would like to learn more. You can give us a call at 606-324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or 859-372-6655 (Florence, KY) if you want to come to the Kentucky office, and North Carolina clients can reach us at 704-944-3245 (Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC).