Elder Care & Estate Planning
Providing the kind of effective and responsible legal service that you deserve requires building and maintaining relationships with both you and your other professional advisors. We make a point of working together on your behalf, because I believe that cooperation is the cornerstone of a plan that works for everyone. I also recognize that your needs and family situation will change over time, so planning is an ongoing process. A good estate plan is not a one-time thing. That is why I offer you several options for ongoing updating of your estate plan.
It is important after a divorce to update your estate plans and designated beneficiaries so that your assets are being passed according to your wishes. However, if those changes are not made, New York law says that ex spouses listed as beneficiaries will be treated as though they have already passed away, so the assets pass to the next person in line.
Medicare is a federal program which is available to individuals who are 65 years of age and older, as well as certain disabled individuals. Presently, Medicare provides health care for over 40 million elderly and disabled Americans without any asset or income requirements. Medicare does not provide coverage for custodial care, which is generally most of the care a nursing home patient receives. Medicaid is a federal program which provides medical care to the poor, to children, and to pregnant women living under the federal poverty level. It is funded jointly by the states and the federal government, and is currently administered at the county level.
An Executor is responsible for collecting your assets, paying your final bills and seeing that the distribution of your assets as set forth in your will is implemented. This plan may include a trust for minor children and the Trustees’ job is to manage and invest the assets for the benefit of your children.
If we have not done any planning and my loved one is in the nursing home now, is it too late to save assets because of the 5-year look-back?
No, we can still undertake lawful asset protection planning to save one half to all assets regardless of the 5-year look-back.
With proper planning your house can be protected. Planning is still available after a client enters a nursing home.
Transferring the house is a planning option based on each individual’s circumstances. For the vast majority of cases, the house or one half of its equity can be protected after a client enters a skilled nursing facility.
Will my spouse be impoverished because I am required to spend down privately paying the nursing home?
Typically, the spouse living in the community is allowed to keep between $74,820 and $115,920 in total assets. However, if we undertake asset protection planning, we can often avoid a spend down and protect substantially all assets for the spouse.
If I have a revocable living trust, are my assets protected from the nursing home spend down requirement?
No. A revocable trust does not protect assets from long-term care costs; you will still need asset protection planning.