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How Much Income Goes Into a Miller Trust?

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To qualify for Medicaid, an applicant must have income that falls below specific limits. Some states allow applicants with income above the threshold set by eligibility requirements to spend down their income, covering the costs of their care. But Florida is an income cap state. As an income-cap state, Florida requires applicants with incomes exceeding the allowable limit to deposit excess income in a Qualified Income Trust or Miller Trust to qualify for Medicaid. A Miller trust can distribute a personal needs allowance to the applicant, funds can be used to pay the applicant’s spouse an allowance, and other funds can...

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Is Your Florida Power of Attorney Valid?

Do you have a Florida durable power of attorney? If so, did you have it created or reviewed by an experienced elder law planning attorney? Too often, Florida durable power of attorneys are no good for long-term care planning purposes. If you are concerned about long-term care planning, please consider having your power of attorney reviewed by an attorney experienced in elder law. Why You May Need to Update Your Durable Power of Attorney: As of October 2011, the Florida Power of Attorney Act made the possibility of a general, all-encompassing durable power of attorney a complete fiction. An all-encompassing power of...

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Do I Need to Sell My Home to Be Medicaid Eligible?

Medicaid eligibility requirements are stringent in regards to assets and income. As an experienced Florida Medicaid planning attorney, one of the most frequent questions I hear is if clients need to sell their home to qualify for Medicaid benefits. Do I Need to Sell My Home To Qualify for Medicaid Benefits? The question is not a difficult one, but it also does not have a straightforward answer. There are multiple answers, depending on your situation. When your home is your primary residence, it is a non-countable asset as long as certain conditions are met. The amount of equity in the home...

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Who Should Consider the Benefits of a Reverse Mortgage?

Many Floridians planning for retirement consider the Reverse Home Mortgage. In the right situation, the reverse home mortgage can increase a retiree’s financial security and improve their quality of life. Alongside numerous benefits, there are also drawbacks or disadvantages. Fees: The reverse mortgage is associated with high, upfront fees (closing and insurance costs and origination fees). For a frame of reference, the fees are marginally higher than the costs associated with refinancing. There are options to finance the fees in the reverse mortgage itself to avoid the out of pocket costs. Interest: The reverse mortgage has no monthly payments. As such, the...

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5 Tips for Seniors Considering Selling Their Home

Many seniors seeking to prepare for their future through elder law planning and Medicaid planning struggle with the idea of selling their home. Selling a home they spent many years living in or raising their family in can become a very emotional experience. And emotions are bound to run even higher if they are moving into an assisted living facility or to live with a family member who will provide care or assistance. If you are a senior considering selling your home or if you have a loved one who is a senior selling their home, consider these tips to...

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What is Medicaid and What Does it Cover?

Medicaid is a significant part of the healthcare system in the United States. The medical care coverage program operates at the state level for low-income individuals and families with limited resources. As of 2018, there were close to 73 million people enrolled in the Medicaid benefits program. Medicaid operates at the state level, so may vary from state to state. Applicants qualify for Medicaid based on income and resources. What Does Medicaid Cover? Medicaid benefits offer medical coverage, including most common forms of health care. Medicaid benefits cover some of the same services covered by Medicare but also includes some services...

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Medicaid Planning: What is a Personal Services Contract?

Many people turn to Medicaid benefits to protect their family and their estate from the high costs of long term care. Individuals applying for Medicaid benefits must be careful to avoid common mishaps that can result in disqualification. One common issue comes when applicants are paying a family member to provide needed services. Medicaid will treat this payment as a transfer for "less than fair market value," which can cause an asset transfer penalty. Medicaid is working under the assumption that family members providing care do so for free, so any payment made is classified as a gift. When determining eligibility...

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When Seniors Should Take Social Security Benefits

At some point, everyone starts to think about retirement and applying for Social Security benefits. The question is not whether or not it is going to happen; the question is typically about timing. When is the best time to start collecting Social Security? Most focus on one magical number: the age considered “full retirement age” at which they can collect their full benefit. But other factors should be considered in addition to the age at which full benefits become available. The full retirement age in 2019 is 67 for those born in 1960 or later. For individuals born in 1937...

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Lady Bird Deed vs. Traditional Life Estate Deed

To understand the unique benefits of a Lady Bird deed (or enhanced life estate deed), you must first become familiar with the traditional life estate deed. The conventional life estate deed allows a property owner (Grantor) to reserve the right to live on a property until their death. Upon the Grantor's death, the property goes directly to the designated beneficiary (Grantee) without going through probate. When using a traditional life estate deed, the Grantor gives up their right to sell or mortgage the property. When using a Lady Bird deed, the Grantor is also able to retain the right to live...

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Income Counted by Florida Medicaid Long Term Care Coverage

To apply for Florida Medicaid coverage, long-term care applicants must pass two tests: the Florida Medicaid Asset test and the Florida Medicaid Income test. As an “income-cap” state, Florida Medicaid applicants are only approved if they do not exceed the set limit. If you are considering applying for Medicaid or attempting to start your Medicaid planning, the first step is determining if your income is above or below the cap. What Sources of Income Are Counted During the Florida Medicaid Application Process? Social Security Benefits Retirement Account Income Disability Payments Workers Compensation Payments Annuity Income Rental Real Estate Income (net) ...

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