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Chapter 13. Medicaid > Medicaid Planning

Medicaid Planning

Because of the high cost of nursing home care more and more people are doing special estate and financial planning to become eligible for Medicaid coverage of long-term care in a nursing home. This is an area where ignorance of the law is punished severely. People who are aware of the many legitimate planning opportunities that the law provides can protect all or significant portions of their assets whereas people who are unaware of these “loopholes” will lose assets that they legally could have kept. Medicaid, like the IRS, will generally not tell you what to do to protect your assets. The earlier you plan, the more options are available to you for protecting your assets. However, it is never too late to do effective planning. Even after someone is already in a nursing home there are, as you will see as you read on, things you can do to protect your assets.

Unfortunately, the rules are constantly changing. Sometimes even when the rule has not officially changed, Medicaid changes its interpretation of the law. It is important to remember that Medicaid, again like the IRS, goes by its special version of the “Golden Rule,” which is that it has the gold, so it makes the rules. It is also important to remember that because Medicaid is a joint federal-state program, the individual states may and do have laws and rules that differ greatly. Anyone considering doing Medicaid planning should consult a lawyer experienced in this ever-changing area of the law. You can find a lawyer knowledgeable in this area of the law through the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys at www.naela.org. What follows are alternatives that may be worth considering in Medicaid planning.


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