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Elder Law / Medicaid

MEDICAID PLANNING – In Case You Need Long Term Care

Some of us will have a time period prior to death when we lose our ability to think, act, and care for ourselves. What can you do legally ahead of time to make your incapacity easier on your family?

The most important thing you can do is sign a well-thought out power of attorney, tailored for your situation.

In your power of attorney, you should thoughtfully select your attorney-in-fact and be sure and name a second choice, if your first choice cannot serve as your power of attorney. Another thing you should do in your power of attorney, if you are concerned about Medicaid paying for long-term care is to review with an elder lawyer, familiar with Medicaid rules, the type of gifting authority that would be right to add to your power of attorney.

Once you have a well-designed “Medicaid-sensitive” power of attorney, another legal document you should consider, if you are married, is a Testamentary Special Needs Trust.

While you are alive, you can add a special needs trust to your will to protect your spouse. Then if your spouse needs Medicaid after you die, the assets in the trust will be there to take care of your spouse, but will not disqualify your spouse from receiving Medicaid.

A Testamentary Special Needs Trust is powerful Medicaid planning that can be very helpful in the right situation. While you are thinking clearly and able to do good, thoughtful planning, you should review with an elder lawyer, knowledgeable about Medicaid, whether a Testamentary Special Needs Trust is the right strategy for you.

Elizabeth A. Perry, a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, has been helping Clark County residents with their estate planning needs for over 20 years. Her practice emphasizes wills, trusts, probate and Medicaid planning. You are invited to call her to schedule an appointment or sign up for a class at (360) 816-2485. ©Liz Perry 2015

(The above should not be construed as specific legal advice and is intended for general information purposes only)

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