Elder Law Talks Episode 3

Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A. is excited to continue our Elder Law Talks series. Our short videos are designed to help you expand your awareness, reduce your stress and redefine what is possible as you advocate for your loved one.

This week’s episode: Parents of an Adult Child with Disabilities – What Happens When You Need Care Yourself?

 

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Hickman & Lowder Introduces Special Needs Insights

Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A. is excited to share its Special Needs Insights series. We will regularly be sharing short videos to help you expand your awareness, reduce your stress and redefine what is possible as you advocate for your loved one.

This week’s insight: Special Needs Planning

In our first installment of Special Needs Insights, Attorney David Banas stresses the need for a vision, taking small steps and building your plan from there..

 

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Hickman & Lowder Presents Elder Law Talks, Do I Need a Will?

Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A. is excited to present its new Elder Law Talks series. We will regularly be sharing short videos to help you expand your awareness, reduce your stress and redefine what is possible as you advocate for your loved one.

This week’s episode: Do I Need a Will?

In our first episode of Elder Law Talks, Attorney David Banas addresses the one question he is asked every time he meets a potential client ..

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Now That Mom is on Medicaid, How Can We Protect Dad’s Assets?

Often, when working with clients on getting a plan in place for Mom, applying for Medicaid and getting her settled in the nursing home, I am asked, “Now what do I do to plan for and protect Dad?” We’ve preserved the home and maximized income and resources for him, but now what?  Is he protected if anything else may happen?

First, be sure to put the house, the car and all of the bank accounts in Dad’s name alone.  This ensures that when Mom dies, there is nothing in her name that the state can claim through estate recovery.  Second, re-build Dad’s estate plan and remove Mom as beneficiary on his Will and any other accounts. This protects Mom should Dad die before her, as you want to avoid Mom inheriting anything which would interrupt her Medicaid eligibility.  You also want to have surrogate decision makers in place (power of attorney for health care and finances) in case Dad’s health and/or cognition declines.

Finally, talk with an experienced elder law attorney about the possibility of a second round of asset protection planning, depending on Dad’s health.  Perhaps steps could be taken to ensure the home will be fully preserved even in the event that Dad would need nursing home care in the future.

Good planning never ends, it just proceeds to the next phase.

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The Nursing Home Said I Don’t Need a Lawyer to Apply for Medicaid. What Do I Do?

I work collaboratively with dozens of nursing home and assisted living facilities when clients need to apply for Medicaid. I find facility staff to be some of the most Medicaid-knowledgeable people in the world, but I’ve also seen too many cases where families relied on the facility to guide them through a Medicaid application, and big problems arose.

Applying for Medicaid is not exactly rocket science, but it is fraught with pitfalls and traps that can have devastating financial implications for families.  It would be hard to list all the possible issues that could come up, but at this time, it will take the County at least 60 days to reach a decision regarding a nursing home Medicaid application. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, some Medicaid applications are still not decided after nearly six months. This means that if something wasn’t completed correctly during the application process, or a bank account was missed or income not correctly calculated, a denial could be issued six months after filing, making the family potentially liable for $50,000 + in nursing home bills.

To avoid complications, like the one above, I encourage anyone going through the Medicaid application process to contact an experienced elder law attorney to see if they can help.  When families contact me, for example, they can expect that I will work collaboratively with the facilities to ensure that the facility’s financial interests are protected, but not at the expense of my clients.  I enjoy taking the burden and anxiety away

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Medicaid Planning May Be Most Beneficial for Those with Little Savings

It’s common for me to speak with families about Medicaid planning, and often, the idea of such planning is immediately dismissed as unnecessary because Mom and Dad “only” have $50,000 in savings, a house and a car. The family assumes that since there is only $50,000 in liquid assets to spend down, they need to spend that as quickly as possible to obtain Medicaid eligibility.  What they don’t know is that when assets are relatively low, financing long-term care with the Medicaid program is more about protecting the healthy spouse that’s living in the home than securing payment for the ill spouse’s nursing home.

Let’s say Dad has a stroke and needs to go into a nursing home, and Mom remains healthy, but her income is only $1,100 per month from social security. Instead of spending the $50,000 on Dad’s nursing home until it’s depleted below the Medicaid asset limit, we can design a plan that allows Mom to keep the home, the car and about $25,000 in cash while using the other $25,000 to benefit her by paying off the car, the mortgage or putting a new roof on the home. The point is that everything the couple owned when Dad went into the nursing home, with good planning, can be utilized for the benefit of Mom as she lives at home in the community.

Mom would also be entitled to enough of Dad’s income, in addition to her own $1,100 of Social Security, to ensure she has enough

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