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Elder Law

Long-term Care Planning

Long-Term Care takes place in the home, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and continuing care retirement communities. The costs for someone to receive skilled nursing care are the highest. If you or a family member needs long-term care, it can be a life-changing event.  All long-term care is expensive and it can $10,000 per month.  Unless you have long term care insurance, medical insurance does not cover the cost.

Some people are surprised to learn that Medicare does not pay for complete Long-Term Care. Medicare plans do not cover costs for Long-Term Care for assisted living, nursing homes and adult day care. Early and proper planning can help families afford needed care and save resources.    As an attorney, I help protect and preserve my clients’ financial resources to help cover the high costs of long-term care.

Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust is a tool for a special needs child to help them retain public benefits when receiving assets such as an inheritance or settlement. In order to qualify for Social Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, there is a limit of $2,000 in countable assets in most cases. If a special needs child is a beneficiary of a trust, the child may be disqualified from public benefits unless money intended for the special needs child is held in a financial instrument such as a Special Needs Trust.  For parents of special needs children, retirement planning and estate planning need to take place in tandem to avoid jeopardizing their child’s ability to access public benefits.

There are two main categories of Special Needs Trusts. First-party or Self-settled Special Needs Trusts are created with assets belonging to the individual with disabilities.  The person must be less than 65 years old at the time the trust is established.  Medicaid recovers funds remaining in the trust at the beneficiary’s death for reimbursement before left-over funds can be transferred to anyone else.

Third-party Special Needs trusts are created with assets provided by parents, grandparents or other relatives or friends of the beneficiary.  The beneficiary’s assets cannot be used to create a third-party special needs trust.  This type of trust can be created and funded as an inter-vivos trust or as a testamentary trust.  The third party does not require that residual funds are used to reimburse Medicaid for services provided to the beneficiary.  If there are remaining funds in the trust after death, named beneficiaries may receive those assets.