Medicaid asset limits
Asset protection for the elderly is one of the most important legal services for the elderly to know about. One reason is the law governing who is eligible for Medicaid. When you apply for Medicaid, there are limits to the amount of income and resources you can possess. Every state has its own set of limits. In the state of North Carolina, for example, resources for the aged, blind and disabled are limited to $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple, and monthly income is limited to $981 for an individual and $1,328 for a couple. Resources include cash, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, stocks, bonds and other investments. If you have more than this, but also have high medical bills, you may be eligible for a Medicaid deductible.
One way to deal with these limits is to place your assets in a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust. This means transferring control of the assets to a trustee. This trust is irrevocable, and anything you place in it will no longer be counted as resources for the purposes of Medicaid. It is not enough, however, to simply give the assets away by placing them in this trust. The state expects you to sell them for fair market value, and will count that value as part of your resources whether you have received it or not.
To enforce this, there is a look-back period of five years. Any major gifts you make during the five years before you apply for Medicaid will result in an eligibility penalty, which will delay the time before you are allowed to receive Medicaid. If you need nursing home care within five years of placing such assets into a trust, you will have to meet the costs yourself until you are eligible.
Help with Asset protection for the elderly in Charlotte NC
Given the way the law is written, you need to start thinking about protecting your assets more than five years before you apply for Medicaid. This will mean finding an attorney for asset protection for the elderly who can tell you what you can protect and how. Real estate and other personal property can be protected using a trust, or by granting financial power of attorney to an agent, but the right legal language has to be used in order to protect the assets.
Robert C. Whitt, Charlotte attorney, servicing the areas of Charlotte, Gastonia Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He has helped hundreds of clients protect their assets while qualifying for Medicaid, entering a nursing home or taking advantage of assisted living services. If you or someone you love in this area needs asset protection for the elderly or may need it in the future, call his office today.