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Elder Law Planning: Common Mistakes & Misconceptions

Matthew Talbot Elder Law Planning

Elder Law in California- MediCal Long Term Care

Throughout my experience as an Elder Law Attorney in Contra Costa County, I have seen families needlessly spend thousands of dollars (if not more) on long-term care because of misinformation and/or misconceptions about MediCal and their eligibility. If someone in your family suffers from Alzheimers, dementia, Parkinson’s, or ALS, the cost of specialized care can be particularly devastating. However, the state of California can help. As a Walnut Creek MediCal planning attorney, I help families to qualify for MediCal and avoid losing precious assets to pay for care.

Common Misconceptions that can be Financially Devastating:

It’s too late! This misconception is particularly harmful in instances where an unmarried person has been placed in a nursing home or will be shortly. What many do not know is that assets can be transferred from an institutionalized person (or the one that needs to go to an institution) to non-institutionalized people through various methods. These methods create the appearance of impoverishment, thereby creating MediCal eligibility.   Also, after the transfer has occurred, an experienced attorney can help avoid a claim when the institutionalized person passes.  It is never too late to do these transfers, but they need to be done carefully and under supervision.

IRA/retirement assets are resources for MediCal eligibility. IRA/retirement assets, in any amount,  do not count as an available resource for MediCal eligibility purposes, assuming the applicant receives their required minimum distribution. If a person is receiving the minimum distributions, the principal in the IRA/retirement accounts are not counted as available resources.  The distributed income, however, is viewed as part of the share of cost and shall be provided to the institution to supplement state benefits.  

Assets in a revocable living trust are protected from MediCal expenses. Whether the assets are in a Trust or not, if the institutionalized person owns any share or interest in them, they are considered that person’s assets, and can thus disqualify them for MediCal or leave their estate open to a claim by MediCal after their passing.  It is possible to set up other types of trusts, such as a Special Needs Trust, and place assets there, but again this is a complicated process and should be done carefully with the help of an experienced attorney.

Misconceptions about elder law planning have meant the unnecessary loss of assets  for many. Matthew Talbot is an Elder Law attorney in Walnut Creek who specializes in MediCal Planning. If you have any questions, or need legal help regarding MediCal, contact Matthew for your free 30 minute consultation at: 925-322-1763.

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