*The information contained in this FAQ page is meant as a general guide and may not apply to all situations. It is strongly recommended that you consult with an elder law attorney before executing any documents or implementing a long-term care plan
Probate is a formal legal process that one goes through to settle an estate after someone's death. Probate is undesirable for many reasons; it is a public record, it is costly, it usually involves a great deal of Court involvement, and it must remain open for at least six months but usually takes closer to a year before all the issues are resolved and one's possessions can be distributed.
Gifting can be a bad idea because it can cause one to be ineligible for Medicaid benefits. While Medicaid does not prohibit gifting, they do have a five year look back on all transfers and a penalty will be imposed for most transfers made for less than fair market value that were made in the five years immediately prior to a Medicaid application. That being said, there are some gifts for which Medicaid does not impose a penalty.
Although every person's situation is different, it is generally advisable for one to have a financial power of attorney document, a healthcare power of attorney document, and depending on the size of one's estate, a Will or some instrument to avoid probate. Other documents that one may find desirable are Living Wills and HIPAA documents. A Living Will, sometimes referred to as a Directive to Physicians expresses your end of life wishes. A HIPAA document lets medical professionals know who can have access to your medical records and with whom they can share information.
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This is one of the questions we hear most often and the answer varies with each situation. There are many different ways to protect at least a portion of your savings, but since every situation is different it is hard to answer that question here. Please call and make an appointment for a free consultation to learn how we can help you.
Medicare is a program for people age 65 and older and younger qualified persons with disabilities. Eligibility for Medicare is not dependent on financial resources or income, so anyone who fits into the previous mentioned categories qualifies. It is not, however, helpful in paying for long-term care expenses at a nursing home or assisted living facility. Medicaid does help pay for long-term care expenses regardless of your age, but a person must be qualified both medically and financially to receive Medicaid benefits. In other words, Medicaid eligibility is dependent on financial resources and income