Medicaid Planning refers to the use of legal techniques and tools to help people qualify for Medicaid benefits. You may be able to get the financial help to cover costly nursing home care, that your loved one or even you need without losing your assets. You can hire a Medicaid Planning Attorney to protect your life assets and savings, while still qualifying for federal healthcare advantages and not spend a lot of money on nursing care.
How Much Does a Medicaid Lawyer Cost?
Depending on the state, Medicaid Planning fees may be anywhere between $3,000 and $15,000, or $300 to $600 per hour, according to the American Council of Aging. Without knowing a customer’s exact needs and details, it is hard to quote upfront, but this should give you an idea of what to expect.
You should see the cost of hiring a Medicaid Planning Attorney as an investment. This way you will be able to qualify for the advantages you are entitled to and retain your assets at the same time.
It would be very helpful to look at the cash spent on a Medicaid planning attorney in terms of value offered instead of money spent. You wouldn’t need to hire a Medicaid Planning Lawyer if it would be easy to follow and understand the Medicaid qualification process. Though, you may compromise your Medicaid eligibility if you don’t declare your assets correctly or submit inadequate documentation.
Only a licensed Elder Law Attorney is allowed to practice Elder Law and Medicaid Planning in Florida.
How do Medicaid Planning Lawyers or Law Firms calculate their fees?
The expertise of Medicaid attorneys is reflected in the fees they charge. They can charge a flat fee or can ask for a retainer, that they bill against hourly. Most clients prefer to be charged a flat rate as they don’t feel comfortable with an undefined fee.
In general, for the average case, a lawyer will charge almost one month’s nursing home bill for creating an income and asset protection strategy. Obviously, if the work is more complicated, the costs will be higher. Most lawyers will offer an initial consultation for free, while others will charge a small fee.
What affects the cost to hire a Medicaid Planning Attorney?
The cost of hiring an experienced Medicaid Planning Lawyer in states like South Florida is affected by several factors, including:
- the existence of estate planning documents;
- marital status;
- receiving gifts in the form of assets;
- the age of the applicant;
- how urgent the application is;
- the age of a spouse and the age of children, and health statutes;
- the financial status of the applicant in terms of income and assets.
What is the difference between Medicaid crisis planning and pre-planning?
Crisis planning involves having to apply and/or plan for Medicaid during an unforeseen health emergency. For instance, a parent presents an early sign of dementia or a family member has a serious accident. In both situations, a Medicaid Planning Attorney may help you.
Pre-planning helps you to find acceptable solutions as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome for your Medicaid application. For example, you can set up estate plans, set up trusts, offer monetary gifts, or draft living wills in order to be eligible for Medicaid benefits.
Why should I hire a Medicaid Planning Attorney?
You should apply for Medicaid only when you have a proper plan in place to qualify. If you apply too late you may have to spend money on the care. On the other hand, if you apply too early, you may have to wait longer than necessary to qualify.
Plus, if you don’t structure your assets properly, your application may be denied. If you will hire a Medicaid planning attorney you will make sure that your application is properly followed according to the law, the process is sped up and the administrative stress will be reduced.
How do I know if I need help to qualify for Medicaid?
In general, it is recommended to hire a Medicaid Planning Attorney a minimum of five years before you begin retirement. When a person’s assets and income per month exceed financial eligibility limits, this can be a complex process. Also, the process can be more difficult if a spouse needs long-term care, but the other can still live without needing help from others.
While assets and incomes can be transformed into non-countable assets, these transactions require financial and legal expertise and take time. Only an attorney can figure out how to transfer and divide these assets.
Do I have to sell my house to qualify for Medicaid?
Under Florida law, your house may be considered a homestead and an excluded asset for qualifying for Medicaid. In the unfortunate event of death, a planning attorney for Medicaid may ensure your estate plan is correctly structured in order to protect your house from Medicaid recovery. This means that it will not be used for paying healthcare expenses.
What is the difference between a non-countable and countable asset?
There is usually a misinformed panic around having to sell your house or lose your assets. In order to determine one’s financial eligibility to qualify for Medicaid, the state of Florida evaluates an individual’s countable assets and income.
Non-countable income or assets include:
- up to $1,500 in cash set aside for burial;
- a primary vehicle and home;
- life insurance policies with no cash value;
- income-producing properties;
- household belongings and personal property;
- pre-bought funeral plans.
Countable assets include:
- cash value of life insurance if it exceeds $2,500;
- certificates of deposit;
- secondary vehicles;
- retirement accounts, bonds, and stocks;
- savings accounts and checking.
If you want to protect your assets and prepare for the future, you should consider taking advantage of Medicare benefits and laws, and prepare for it. You should invest in hiring a Medicaid planning attorney to be able to control your future healthcare expenses and protect your assets at the same time.