As people age, one concern that people have is losing their assets because of illness. People fear that the “nursing home is going to take my house if I get sick.”  Long-Term Care Planning is the term generally used to describe the process and methods used to preserve and protect your assets in the event that a spouse has to enter a nursing home.  Long term care, especially a stay in a skilled nursing facility, is expensive. The monthly private pay cost of a skilled nursing facility is approximately $10,000.00 to $12,000.00. Due to the high costs of a nursing home, individuals and families who have been admitted to a nursing home can quickly deplete their hard-earned savings.  With the creation and implementation of the appropriate plan, Long-Term Care Planning should preserve your assets and help lower the costs of skilled care.

           If a person is in a long-term care facility and does not have the ability to privately pay for the monthly facility costs, that person may be eligible for Medicaid.  Medicaid is a federally funded long term care benefit that is governed by each of the individual states. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Medicaid program is overseen by MassHealth.  This state governed Medicaid program provides benefits to individuals that pay for long-term nursing home care if the individual qualifies for the coverage.  Qualification for MassHealth is based on an individual’s level of income and the amount of assets in his or her name.  Individuals who might not otherwise qualify for MassHealth benefits due to his or her level of income or assets can create a long term care plan to protect those assets and ensure that he or she will qualify for benefits when the time comes.  Asset protection can be accomplished by creating irrevocable trusts, waiting out the five-year, look-back period regarding transfers of assets to family members, by purchasing protected annuities, and other asset preservation techniques.

           It may be extremely important to begin planning now to avoid the potential delay or disqualification of MassHealth benefits.  Bullwinkel & Brooks has the knowledge and experience to develop a long-term care plan that fits your needs and circumstances in the event that you or a family member must be admitted to a nursing home or other facility. 

          If you would like to discuss your legal matter with one of our attorneys please contact this office and arrange for a free initial consultation. Our experienced attorneys can assist you with your legal needs.