During the month of May, when we celebrate National Elder Law Month, did you know that the topic of how to afford a nursing home without losing all their money is often the most asked question with our clients and their loved ones? During National Elder Law Month, as we are out in our community, the topic comes up even more than it normally does as we think of ways to educate and help our community.
Are your parents worried about the cost of nursing home care? Are they also concerned that they may lose all of their life savings to nursing home costs? Their fears are not unfounded. The average nursing home can cost $8,000 per month or more, which can burn through someone’s life savings rather quickly when other medical costs add up and as the years go by. Medicaid will often pick up the bill, but there is an income and asset test in each state to determine whether you qualify for Medicaid, and for many, it could mean burning through their life savings first before Medicaid steps in.
During National Elder Law Month, you and your parents should consider taking the time to sit down together to discuss a plan for their future. Here are 3 important tips we have for you and your parents to protect their assets and prevent the nursing home from using up all their life savings.
1. It is important to begin planning early. Even if your parents are healthy and active it is important that they think ahead to a time when one or both may need critical nursing care. They need to take the time to learn about what it would cost if one or both needed to enter a nursing home at some point in the next few years. This is an excellent time to meet with a Florida elder law attorney to see if there is any planning to be done right now.
2. It is important to meet with a qualified Florida elder law attorney. By beginning their planning early your parents may be able to take full advantage of the multiple strategies and available options to shield their life savings from a nursing home. A qualified Florida elder law attorney can help your parents with this. For example, in most states, Medicaid has a 5-year look-back rule that takes into account all assets transferred to someone else within the last 5 years when determining if someone qualifies for Medicaid to cover a nursing home bill. If your parents have time to begin now, they might be able to shield more of their savings.
3. It is important to transfer assets if your elder law attorney advises it is necessary. Your attorney may advise your parents that transferring assets may be a good strategy. Your parents may be able to make a tax-free gift to each of their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, without triggering gift tax consequences. However, it is very important that your parents consult with their attorney first.
To learn more about long-term care planning strategies, we encourage you not to wait to ask us your elder law questions on this or any important issue facing Florida seniors today. The experienced team of attorneys here at Hemness Faller, The Law Office formerly known as Emma Hemness, P.A., are here for you and your family and we want to be YOUR estate planning and elder law attorneys. After all, we are ordinary people, providing extraordinary guidance backed by years of experience and advocacy for the vulnerable citizens in our community. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.