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Low Cost Medicaid Applications

Recently a potential client became a client due to a Medicaid Application non lawyer company. These companies are not attorneys, and can not provide legal advice; even if they could, they generally do not know the law well enough to actually assist their clients. A had spoken with a potential client few months ago in regards to a Medicaid Application for his father. The father had very few assets, but among them was a homestead. The client did not like my pricing, which I heavily research to make sure I charge market rates. Instead, the client found  a non lawyer service to...

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Spousal Refusal in Medicaid Planning

Spousal Refusal is a Medicaid Planning tool that Elder Law Attorneys use for their married clients. Essentially, the Medicaid spouse transfers all of the his/her assets to the "well" spouse who then signs a paper to the state that says the well spouse refuses to pay for the medicaid spouse's healthcare. Medicaid allows this because of an IRS rule that allows for transfers between spouses. It is a very effective technique. Unfortunately, some Elder Law attorneys do not fully understand the process and do not properly complete the paperwork. A recent case in Missouri had a couple transfer their assets into two different...

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Estate Planning Gone Wrong

A Revocable Living Trust is often used to complement a Will. Rather than only having a Will, the Revocable Trust generally avoids the expensive and costly Probate process. In Florida the fee the Florida Legislature has deemed as reasonable is 3% of the total estate.  The Revocable Living Trust also generally protects the assets from most creditors of the estate. A Revocable Living Trust enables your beneficiaries to receive your assets sparing any complications. However, if the Revocable Living Trust is not properly funded, then it would not do any good. Funding the trust is simply the process of transferring assets to it....

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Alzheimer Association Presentation

I recently presented to a group of caregivers at the Annual Alzheimer Association Conference at FIU in Miami.  I learned a couple of things. Chief among them is that most caregivers are unaware of advanced directives and the need to have them in place. The consequences of not having a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Surrogate is guardianship, which is prohibitively expensive.  ...

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Common Estate Planning Mistakes

An approximately$30 trillion transfer of wealthis currently under way in the U.S. as aging baby boomers pass their assets to successive generations.  This transfer, together with the recent increase to the lifetime federal estate and gift tax exemption (to $11.18 million in 2018), has created a favorable situation for U.S. citizens and residents seeking to transfer wealth to their loved ones during lifetime and at death. Despite the encouraging estate planning horizon, we still see many who make common mistakes which can thwart their intentions. Dying without a will For individuals who are unfortunate enough to die intestate (without a will or living...

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Countable Asset in Medicaid

What exactly is exempt from Medicaid as a countable asset? The answer is really quite simple: anything that is a non-countable asset is then a countable asset. I am not trying to be funny or clever, but it is easier is to define all assets as countable, except for the non-countable. So what does Medicaid consider as non-countable. Well, essentially it is critical assets of your life that you need in order to survive, such as your home, car, and retirement monies. Pre Paid Burial contracts are also non-countable (because Medicaid does not wish you to become a burden to...

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Rental Property and Medicaid

Rental Property is a common issue with Medicaid Planning. Some applicants may have a rental property. Medicaid does not treat the property itself as an asset, only the income from the net rental amounts. This means the gross rent, minus the HOA, mortgage and any other costs is then counted as income for the applicant. The purchase of a rental property is also a Medicaid Strategy in that a countable asset as money, is transferred into a non countable asset as a rental home. The hard part is the Recovery associated with the rental property. An extra step needs to be taken...

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Personal Injury and Medicaid/SSI

Personal Injury settlements could be a little difficult. The difficulty is that while the IRS does not recognize the settlement for tax purposes as income, Medicaid does recognize it as an asset. The most convenient planning technique is to create a Special Needs Trust for the Personal Injury Settlement. I handle about three to four SNT’s per month for clients receiving a personal injury settlement that are on SSI or Medicaid. A Special Needs Trust is a unique irrevocable trust whereby the money is not counted as an asset for the individual, but the money could ONLY be used for the...

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Joint Accounts

Joint bank accounts are usually done as a means of DIY Estate Planning. The adult child places themselves on the parents account as a technique to avoid Probate. Unfortunately, from a Medicaid standpoint this invalidates the gifting prohibition because the Medicaid applicant “gifted” half of the account to the adult child. This would need to be undone, meaning the adult child removed from the account, and then a true Medicaid strategy employed for the cash in the account. ...

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