It's Not Too Late to Plan an Elder Law Strategy

Planning late is better than never planning. The most obvious yet overlooked Elder Law strategy is simply to be proactive. But most people don’t plan, and as a result suffer severe financial consequences. Asset-preserving steps can even be taken after you’re already in a nursing home. So it’s never too late to plan, and to accomplish something that’s financially worthwhile.

In some instances, planning mistakes can even be corrected relatively long after they’ve been made. For example, let’s say you gave $100,000 to a son or daughter within the “look back” period. For nursing home care, this would be a penalized transfer under Medicaid regulations, and you would be ineligible for Medicaid benefits for approximately 10 months or longer, depending on where you live in New York State.

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However, with Elder Law strategies, it is possible to save from 40% to 50% of the money that you gave to your child. There are a number of Medicaid-compliant techniques that work well for this circumstance, such as creating private annuities, or promissory notes, using the money for exempt purposes, and others. The methods that are appropriate for you depend on your unique situation. Several of these approaches are fully explained in the companion publication to this report, 25 Strategies to Prevent Financial Ruin from Long-Term Health Care Costs.

The bottom line is that Elder Law planning can deliver a great overall benefit to you and ultimately to your family, as opposed to the alternative of depleting your assets under Medicaid’s spend down rules. Most important of all, you’ll have the financial ability to preserve a better quality-of-life for yourself. Anything left over after you pass on can be left to your children, or others you choose. If you don’t plan effectively, there’ll likely be little, if anything, to distribute when you die.

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