Giving you options as you plan for potential long-term care needs
Long-term care can be incredibly expensive, and without proper planning, the costs of a nursing home can quickly wipe out your life savings. That’s why it’s so important to engage in Medi-Cal planning to protect your hard-earned wealth and preserve more of your assets for your loved ones.
For the personal attention and sound guidance you need when planning for the years ahead, work with Anthony Celaya, an experienced Napa Valley attorney. Our law firm’s experienced attorney offers reliable solutions for your advanced estate and Medi-Cal planning needs, allowing you to protect your best interests and approach the future with confidence.
Why is Medi-Cal planning important?
Medi-Cal is the joint federal-state program that provides healthcare benefits to people who are 65 or older or who suffer from some disabilities. However, unlike Medicare, there are strict limits on the assets and income you may own to qualify for the program.
As you work your way through the estate planning process, you may need to plan for the potential that you will need long-term care sometime in the future. You can do this by qualifying for Medi-Cal, using a variety of estate planning tools to reduce the income and assets that count against you when the state determines your eligibility.
Many people make the mistake of believing that Medi-Cal benefits are only for people living in poverty. But in reality, thousands of middle-class individuals across California can qualify for these benefits, enabling them to more easily cover the costs of nursing homes and other long-term care costs.
How the Medi-Cal planning process works
There are several tools and techniques available to help you qualify for Medi-Cal benefits and protect your income and assets. The following are some of the more common:
• Spending down assets: To be eligible for Medi-Cal, you cannot have more than $2,000 of countable assets. You may get under that limit by prepaying for various expenses, such as your funeral and burial, home repairs, purchasing a new home, buying a car or paying off your existing mortgage. There is, however, a 30-month “Look-Back” period in California that may make you ineligible for nursing facility care for a number of months. You should consult with Anthony Celaya to properly spend down your assets in order to timely quality for Medi-Cal.
• Transferring assets: The state will not count any money or property you place in an irrevocable trust as assets when calculating your eligibility for Medi-Cal benefits. Setting up one of these trusts can be a terrific way to ensure more of your assets go to your beneficiaries instead of a long-term care facility.
• Establishing an annuity: With an immediate annuity, you can set up an agreement with your insurance provider in which you provide the insurer with a certain amount of money. The company then pays you back monthly over the course of your life. The bulk of those assets would not count against you when attempting to qualify for Medi-Cal.
It is important to understand that there is a look-back period of 60 months when transferring or spending down assets. Thus, if you believe long-term care could be in your future, you should act quickly to protect your wealth.