Articles Tagged with Houston Medicaid Planning

As we have discussed in other posts, planning for the eventual need for long-term care is a crucial element of any Houston estate plan. With the costs of nursing home care rapidly increasing across the country, more families are taking a proactive approach when it comes to deciding how to pay for these future costs.

For families with significant assets, the concern is not necessarily whether they can pay for the necessary care, but how they can limit the amount their own assets will go towards paying for the care. Thus, Medicaid planning is focused on how to strategically structure familial assets in a way that will enable the family member in need of long-term care to quickly and easily qualify for Medicaid while preserving their assets.

Medicaid is a needs-based program, and applicants must meet strict asset and income limits to qualify for benefits. One of the most important elements of Houston Medicaid planning is understanding these asset and income limitations. Applicants with excess assets or income will be required to “spend down” the excess before they can qualify for benefits. Of course, this can leave a spouse who is not in need of care in a challenging spot, because the money they need to continue to live independently may be diverted to pay for long-term care.

Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson is a well-known Texan and regarded by many as one of the first First Ladies of the United States to take an active political role alongside that of the President. However, for Texans, the term Lady Bird can refer to more than the former First Lady, as a “lady bird” deed is a type of Houston estate planning instrument that can be used to avoid probate in certain circumstances.

Probate is the process by which a court formally acknowledges the death of an individual, verifies a decedent’s will, and effectuates the decedent’s wishes as noted in their will. However, the probate process can be both lengthy and costly, and many families take affirmative steps to avoid probate.

A lady bird deed is also called an enhanced life estate deed. To better understand what a lady bird deed is, and whether it will be beneficial in a particular situation, it helps to be familiar with a life estate. A life estate is an arrangement by which the owner of a piece of property (the grantor) reserves the right to use the property during their lifetime. However, upon the grantor’s death, the property will pass to the named beneficiary, or grantee. One of the primary concerns about using life estates is that the grantor cannot sell or mortgage the property once the life estate is in effect.

Estate libraryPeople put off thinking about or planning to apply for Medicaid because there is nothing pleasant about it, from coming to terms with being ill and impoverished to sharing a nursing home room with a stranger, according to USA Today in "Navigating Medicaid for elder care can be as painful as the ailments." Depending on the policies of your state, you may not be able to spend your final days or years at home.

Up to 30% of Medicaid funding covers long-term care, which is roughly $100 billion annually. More than two-thirds of older adults will require some personal assistance before they pass away, and nearly 50% will need care to such a level that they'd be eligible for private long-term care insurance or Medicaid.

If you want to explore sheltering assets so you can qualify for Medicaid sooner rather than later, then you should talk to a qualified Medicaid attorney. You don't want to be without expert counsel, especially when making hard decisions on how to allocate money you've saved all your life.

Daughter-and-mom-at-computer-300x199The challenges facing seniors and their adult children can be placed into four main categories, according to the article "Talk to aging parents about finances, health care, living arrangements," appearing in The Ventura County Star. They are: finances, living arrangements, medical coverage and estate planning.

Understand your parents' ideas about their future Houston living arrangements when and if they become unable to care for themselves. If they want to stay in their own home, familiarize yourself with the available community resources for support and research alternative living arrangements in the event that remaining at home is no longer a viable option.

Analyze the type of medical coverage your parents have and its coverage. Get the name and telephone number of their primary care physician and any specialist they are seeing. Have a sense of their medical history and condition.

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