Planning For Medicaid Early? Here’s What You Should Know

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As a senior adult living in Florida have you thought about what might happen in the future if you were unable to care for yourself?  Are you considering researching long-term care planning or Medicaid?  What should you know about this type of planning? 

When you begin researching long-term care planning and Medicaid we highly recommend that you contact an experienced Florida estate planning attorney and elder law attorney who is qualified in Medicaid planning. In regard to Medicaid, there are reasons you should know about in regard to planning for Medicaid early. 

Reason #1: Planning early will allow you to take advantage of Medicaid’s five-year look-back period. This means that if you start planning for Medicaid early, you can transfer assets out of your name before you apply for Medicaid, which can help you become eligible for benefits sooner.

Reason #2: Planning early will allow you to take advantage of Medicaid’s income limits. If you start planning early, you can take steps to reduce your income, such as by purchasing an annuity or transferring assets to a trust, which can help you qualify for Medicaid even if your income is too high. Know that it can be difficult to predict exactly when you will need Medicaid benefits, and if you plan for Medicaid early, you may end up transferring assets unnecessarily, which can have a negative impact on your financial situation.

Reason #3: Planning early will allow you to protect more of your assets and ensure that they are passed on to your heirs, rather than being used to pay for long-term care expenses. However, planning early may create a false sense of security, as changes in laws, rules and regulations may change, so what was a good plan today may no longer be valid in the future. So we recommend updating your plan with your Florida estate planning and elder law attorney yearly.

Reason #4: Planning early allows you to be in control of the process, rather than being forced to make hasty decisions at a time when you or your loved ones may not be able to think clearly.

Reason #5: Planning early can help you avoid penalties or disqualification from benefits. But, you may not need Medicaid benefits at all, and it is important to consider other options for long-term care such as long-term care insurance, veterans benefits, and other options that may be available to you that may better suit your needs and budget.

Again, it is important to note that Medicaid laws and regulations change frequently and vary by state, so consult with a qualified Florida estate planning and elder law attorney who can provide specific advice on your situation. It is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of your financial situation, your long-term care options and the Medicaid laws in Florida to make a well-informed decision.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. The Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA) is the pre-eminent organization of Florida elder law attorneys providing advocacy, education and action on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities. We encourage you to contact one of our attorneys in your area using our Find a Lawyer website for assistance.