Medicaid Planning and Asset Protection in Tennessee

Medicaid can be very helpful to pay for your loved one’s long-term care in Tennessee. It is no secret that long-term care is expensive, and often exceeds $6,000 per month for nursing home care. That is at least $72,000 per year! It is very difficult for families to pay these costs for any length of time.

Medicaid can help pay for these long-term care costs through the TennCare Choices program for our elderly and disabled population. In fact, 65% of nursing home residents in the United States are having all or a portion of their nursing home stay paid for by Medicaid.

It Is Never Too Late to Plan

Many Tennessee families know about the “five-year rule”, and that to engage in Medicaid planning and protect your assets, you must plan at least five-years in advance. Ideally, this is true. However, it is also never too late to plan. There are several other legal planning strategies that we engage for clients of ours that can be of assistance to families. In fact, many of our clients do not have five years to plan, and many are already in a nursing home facility.

Irrevocable Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts

This is often the most popular tool used by elder law attorneys to protect an individual’s assets. The most common misconception about Medicaid is that it is free. It is not! Even if you qualify for Medicaid during your lifetime, after your death, Medicaid will exercise a lien over your property to pay themselves back out of your estate for every penny that was paid out on your behalf during your lifetime in the form of Medicaid benefits. The Irrevocable Medicaid Asset Protection Trust is a popular tool used by elder law attorneys to protect assets from nursing home costs, as well as to protect the estate from estate recovery actions after death.

Qualified Income Trusts

When a person engages in Medicaid planning they almost always forget about the family’s income sources. Also, it can become even more difficult when one spouse is at home and the other spouse is in the nursing home … and even more confusing when it comes to the rules. However, in basic terms, if a Medicaid applicant’s gross income exceeds the limits set by Medicaid, the applicant will not qualify for Medicaid from an income perspective. In these scenarios, a Qualified Income Trust may be necessary to protect the source of income, especially when one spouse is still living at home.

What About When One Spouse is at Home?

When one spouse is at home and one spouse is in the nursing home, the Medicaid rules can be very confusing. In addition, specific planning needs to be addressed to ensure that the spouse staying at home retains enough income in order to live comfortably.

What About In Home Care and Assisted Living Care?

Many people believe that only long-term nursing home care can be covered by Medicaid. That is not correct. Medicaid, specifically TennCare’s Choices program can cover both in home care and assisted living care. Contact our office to learn more about these options and how Medicaid planning can benefit you in these situations.

The Five Year Look Back

Medicaid has look back provisions and transfer penalties for asset gifting. If you do not follow the rules when engaging in Medicaid planning, you may find yourself ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time due to breaking the rules. If you have questions regarding Medicaid Planning and the transfer rules, please contact our office.

Schedule a Medicaid Planning Strategy Session, Attend a Free Workshop on Medicaid Planning, or Register for a Free Webinar on Medicaid Planning!

Whether you are looking for information to protect a loved one, or you have questions about how to protect your own assets and income from the high costs of nursing home care, there are a number of ways to get the information you are looking for. The easiest way, and the way most of our client first learn about Medicaid planning and their options, is to attend one of our Free Workshops held monthly! During this Free Workshop you will discover:

  • The Costs of Long-Term Care
  • What Facilities Are Covered By Medicaid and the TennCare Choices Program
  • What is Medicare
  • What is Medicaid
  • Irrevocable Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts
  • Qualified Income Trusts
  • Why Putting Assets in Your Kids Names is a Terrible Idea
  • How to Ensure that the Attorney You Select Will Be an Advocate When The Time Comes to Enter a Long-Term Care Facility
  • Plus Much More!

CLICK HERE to Register for One of Our Upcoming Monthly Workshops or Webinars!

Daniel A. Perry
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Focused on helping seniors, individuals with disabilities and small business owners make informed decisions.