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Long-term care planning: start early, rely on proven legal counsel

Some third-party observations in life are conveyed in terms marked by sheer understatement.

Take the following, for example. In one online overview on the topic of long-range health care and Medicaid planning, the author notes that, "Long-term health care is costly."

That's kind of an underwhelming statement, right? Indeed, there are very few people in Illinois or anywhere else in the country who don't already know acutely that health care costs are astronomically high, and progressively growing.

Health-related outlays affect all payers, of course, but they often pose special concerns for the elderly, and for obvious reasons.

Here's just a flat-out truth: As we age, many of us will need long-term health care, with that resulting in the need to establish eligibility for the Medicaid program.

Unsurprisingly, that again leads back to the money conundrum linked to health care. Although Medicaid is a government program, it is not free. In fact, detailed and specific -- as well as complex -- provisions mandate that individuals receiving benefits under Medicaid first clear the eligibility hoop. As the above primer notes, Medicaid eligibility analysis "focuses primarily on asset and income limitations."

As we note on our estate planning website at the Highland law firm of Donald R. Johannes, would-be qualifiers may need to "'spend down' wealth in order to qualify for Medicaid."

Although that doesn't mean going broke, it merits noting that officials from a state Medicaid agency will closely examine a family's finances to ensure that recovery is realized on all assets not deemed exempt from a government recovery.

Unsurprisingly, the process and details are -- for most people -- cumbersome and exacting.

Moreover, time is of the essence in most cases. We duly note on our site that "early planning is essential to maximizing the options available for the preservation of assets for a spouse, dependents and heirs."

Our firm routinely works with elder clients regarding Medicaid and other long-term planning concerns. We welcome your inquiries, as well as the opportunity to serve you.

 

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