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Long-term care: Not what you bargained for?

No one expects a catastrophe to happen. But they do: Car accidents, chronic or terminal disease, dementia. There is no way to tell what the future holds, but planning for it could mean the difference between leaving your kids a headache--or an inheritance.

Who pays for long-term care?

Medicaid is probably the single biggest provider of long-term care. If you are unable to care for yourself, your financial situation is probably such that you will qualify for the joint federal/state funded program.

But does it come with a price tag? Medicaid does not require you to pay a co-pay or deductible. In most cases, the total cost of your care will be covered--whether that is a once weekly visit from a nurse, or round-the-clock care.

How can they do that?

What most people don't know is that federal law requires all states to place a lien against the estate of any person who has received long term care benefits through Medicaid. Put simply, each and every penny the state spends on you will be collected from any real property you own at the time of your death.

Medicaid liens can be avoided. The simplest way to ensure your estate remains intact is to purchase a long-term care policy. These policies cover your costs for a period of several years. During that time, an attorney can legally distribute your property so that you qualify for Medicaid without a spend-down or lien.

To find out more about Medicaid planning, contact an experienced estate planning attorney.

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