This week I’m sharing a blog on Medicaid from Dave Zumpano, who focuses in Medicaid planning.
Now, here’s Dave’s blog:
Blog Author: David J. Zumpano, Esq, CPA, Co-founder Lawyers With Purpose, Founder and Senior Partner of Estate Planning Law Center
Many clients who come into my office in search of “qualifying for Medicaid” are concerned about losing their assets. Unfortunately, in many instances they got advice at the beauty shop or coffee shop (and sometimes a lawyer) to give their assets away so that they could be protected if sixty months goes by.
As we know, there is no rule that says a client has to wait 60 months, even if they transferred assets, and we are typically able to get clients qualified in much shorter periods of time, even in crisis. When preplanning, we are also able to protect between fifty and one hundred percent of assets immediately with the proper facts and planning. Understanding this level of planning requires a complete and thorough understanding of the 12 key Medicaid rules and how they apply to each client differently. For a demonstration of how the LWP industry exclusive software documents tally in minutes for any client fact pattern go to http://www.lawyerswithpurpose.com/Estate-Planning-Drafting-Software.php to schedule a software demo.
A key challenge for many clients who have already transferred assets is, how does it figure in in determining their eligibility now, in crisis, or later if they are preplanning. (The answer comes down to two distinctions.)
First, has the transfer been within the sixty months of when they come to see you? If so, the amount of the transfer should be added back to the client’s assets as if they still owned them. That is the practical result when applying for Medicaid if within the sixty months of the application. Re-including the assets provides a proper picture of all assets of clients that have to be considered in determining how much can be protected and how much would be lost if the client is in crisis or will require long-term care within sixty months of the transfer.
After re-including the transferred assets, you must then calculate the amount of assets that will be protected and those that will be needed for care (in a crisis case), or, could be needed in a preplanning case, (if care is within sixty months). The key distinction actually comes down to funding. Pre‑transferred assets are a funding issue, not a calculation issue. After adding back the transferred assets and completing the calculations to determine the amount protected, then the first funding task is to allocate the previous transfer to the amount protected and then you only have to fund the balance. If the previous transfers are more than the amount of assets that could be protected, the family must make up for the excess transfer by giving it back (cure). If the amount previously transferred is less than the amount protected then the balance of the assets that can be protected, are thereafter transferred pursuant to the asset protection plan created by the attorney.
While complicated in the written word, with a proper understanding of the law and how to apply it to each client and when you have the software that calculates and supports the law and provides calculations in real time utilizing the Medicaid laws, you are able to confidently help your client protect their assets.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555