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Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C. Tampa Estate Planning & Probate Attorney
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Tampa Elder Law Attorney

It’s not uncommon for people as they get older to require a stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility, whether to recover from an injury or illness, or simply because they can no longer care for themselves sufficiently. For example, moderate to severe memory impairment afflicts nearly one-third of all individuals aged 85 or older, which is one of the fastest-growing segments of society. Individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other age-related memory disorders often need daily help with self-care, either at home with the assistance of home health aides, or in a skilled nursing home or assisted living facility. Likewise, elderly individuals recovering from a fall often need care and assistance in their own home or a nursing facility for a long term or permanently.

Unfortunately, the cost of skilled nursing care or assisted living is extremely high; the median cost of care in a Florida assisted living facility is $48,000 per year, while the annual median cost of a nursing home is $89,297 for a semi-private room or $100,375 for a private room, according to the Florida Health Care Association.

Medicare doesn’t help with the costs of long-term care, but Medicaid does. Unfortunately, only the poorest segments of society are eligible for Medicaid. Those with savings and assets are forced to spend down their life savings and their children’s inheritance on nursing care, and only once they’ve impoverished themselves will Medicaid step in to cover the costs.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. Savvy elder care planning attorneys can help you make strategic decisions now that will protect your home, your savings, and your children’s inheritance while helping ensure you can qualify for Medicaid if you find yourself in need of long-term care. For help planning for medical expenses, long-term care or nursing home care in Tampa, call the elder care planning attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group for assistance. Even if you or a family member is about to be admitted to a nursing home or has already been admitted, our  Tampa elder law attorneys might have solutions to help you qualify for financial help.

Strategic Spending Can Save Your Estate and Qualify You for Long-Term Care Assistance

For 2021, an individual cannot make more than $2,382 per month and have more than $2,000 in liquid assets and still qualify for Medicaid. For couples, the limits for Medicaid eligibility are $4,764 in monthly income and $3,000 in countable assets. Different rules apply depending on whether one or both spouses are applying for Medicaid, the nature of the disability, and other factors.

Individuals with too much income or assets to qualify for Medicaid might consider spending down their estate to get within the range of Medicaid eligibility. For instance, people might be tempted to transfer or give away property to their children or grandchildren. However, the government looks very closely at transfers like these. Medicaid has a five-year “look back” period, so any transfers made in the five years before applying for Medicaid are carefully scrutinized. Any transfers that are considered to be below fair market value will be disallowed, and the assets will be counted as part of your estate for determining Medicaid eligibility. Not only that, but the government might penalize you for making an improper transfer by delaying your period of Medicaid eligibility longer than it otherwise might have been.

For these reasons, it is essential to work early on with a knowledgeable and strategic estate planning attorney who can advise you on the right ways to spend down your estate for Medicaid eligibility. Some types of transfers are not subject to the look-back period, including transfers to certain types of trusts. Cash gifts of certain amounts can also help you spend down your estate and avoid the estate and gift tax as well. At Strategic Counsel Law Group, our Tampa elder care planning attorneys will guide you on the methods that achieve Medicaid eligibility for long-term care expenses while maximizing the value of your estate for yourself, your spouse, and future generations.

Qualify for Medicaid and Keep Your Home

A common concern for homeowners is whether they can keep their home and still qualify for Medicaid, or if they might have to sell their house and pay back Medicaid for the costs of long-term care. Medicaid can indeed come back for reimbursement from the estate, but the value of a homestead up to $572,000 is exempt from creditors, including Medicaid. The state might still file a lien on a home, with different results depending on when the home is eventually sold. Our Tampa elder care planning attorneys will help you plan accordingly regarding your home and other major assets.

Strategic Help With Elder Care Planning in Tampa

Medicaid can help with medical care, skilled nursing care and hospice care in long-term care facilities. Strategic Counsel Law Group helps people plan for elder care needs through a variety of sound, practical and effective strategies. Certain aspects of Medicaid planning involve the practice of law according to the Florida Supreme Court, so it’s essential to get the help of a qualified attorney to advise you regarding how Florida law applies to Medicaid benefits. In Tampa, call Strategic Counsel Law Group at 813-286-1700 to schedule an initial consultation regarding help with long-term care, nursing home care, and other elder-related medical expenses.

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